15.06.

1219: Oldest National Flag in the World

1219: Oldest National Flag in the World
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/ Dannebrog falling from the sky during the Battle of Lyndanisse, June 15, 1219. Painted by Christian August Lorentzen in 1809. Original located at Statens Museum for Kunst, Denmark.

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 15 June 1219
  • On this day in 1219, the Danes fought in the Battle of Lyndanisse against superior Estonian forces. They were almost overwhelmed when a red flag with a white cross fell into the hands of Danish king Valdemar II, apparently from the sky,

On this day, according to legend, the oldest national flag in the world that is still in use was created.

It is the Danish flag with a white cross on a red field. The Danes call it “Dannebrog”, which means “Danish cloth”.

On this day in 1219 the Danes fought in the Battle of Lyndanisse against superior Estonians.

They were almost overwhelmed when a red flag with a white cross fell into the hands of Danish king Valdemar II, apparently from the sky.

He whirled it and led the Danes to attack. They defeated the Estonians and conquered that territory. At the site of the battle they built a castle.

It is interesting that today’s capital of Estonia, Tallinn, was named after that castle.

The name Tallinn supposedly comes from the word “Taani-linn”, which means “Danish castle”. Since that victory, the Dannebrog became the official flag of Danish kings and Danish state.

King Valdemar II was nicknamed “Victorious”.

In Danish culture to this day there is a custom that Dannebrog must not be allowed to touch the ground, because the flag fell from the heaven. Also, there is a superstition that it is allowed to be hoisted only during the day, never at night.

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