Like in many other Balkan countries, the national flag is a sacred symbol inside Albania and can be seen flying proudly across the country. For many Albanians, the flag represents an independent state that for many years was kept under the ruthless control of the Ottoman Empire.
On November 28, 1443, the national hero of Albania, a prince known as Skanderbeg, raised his flag over the fortress of Krujë in defiance of the Turks who ruled the country. His small mountainous nation was able to resist the forces of the Ottoman Empire, although after Skanderbeg’s death in 1468 independence was lost again. His flag was red and bore a black eagle, even today the symbol of Albania. Like the symbol of the Byzantine Empire to which it once belonged, Albania’s eagle is double-headed.
Albanian immigrants Faik Konitsa of Brussels and Querim Panarity of Boston popularized Skanderbeg in the late 19th century and revived his flag as a national rallying point for Albanians at home and abroad. Independence from Ottoman rule was finally proclaimed on November 28, 1912. Since that time various Albanian regimes through the republic, monarchy, fascist corporate state, and communist people’s republic have used the red flag with the double-headed black eagle. There has been no symbol over the heads of the eagle since the fall of communism. Prior to restoration of the simple flag on May 22, 1993, however, separate emblems (a star, a cross, a crown, etc.) had identified the different governments.
Flag of modern Albania
The flag of modern Albania is composed of a red flag with a silhouetted black double-headed eagle in the centre. The red stands for bravery, strength and valour, while the double-headed eagle represents the sovereign state of Albania. The flag was established as the national flag of Albania when the country gained its independence from the Ottoman empire in 1912.
Flag of communist Albania
For recognition of Hoxha’s government, the Allies required elections, which took place on 2 December 1945 when 80% voted for the National Democratic Front coalition led by the Communists. On 11 January 1946 King Zogu I was declared deposed (the Italian occupation and the proclamation of Vittorio Emmanuele was considered an illegal act) and the People’s Republic of Albania was proclaimed.
On 7 March 1946, a new Constitution came into effect, which established a new national flag with a yellow-bordered red star placed above the eagle. The shade of red became darker again, though not reaching the pre-1934 shade.
Coat of Arms of Albania
The coat of arms of the Republic of Albania is an adaptation of the flag of Albania. It is based on the flag and seal of Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg. The crest above the head of the two-headed eagle is the helmet of Skanderbeg, surmounted with billy goat’s horns. The eagle is considered to violate the conventional rule of tincture, which forbids placing a colour upon another colour.