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Duchy of Anhalt 1863-1918 (Germany)

Herzogtum Anhalt, Duchy of Anhalt-Dessau, Herzogtum Anhalt-Dessau

Last modified: 2019-04-12 by klaus-michael schneider
Keywords: anhalt | ducal standard |
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[Civil Flag 1863-1935 (Anhalt, Germany)]   2:3    Image by M. Schmöger, 12 Mar 2001
civil and state Flag 1863-1935

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Anhalt is a small (pop. approx. 400,000) former German Duchy on the River Elbe southwest of Berlin. Founded 11th century, became principality 13th century, became duchies 1806-1807. After 500 years of varied divisions and borders, was united in 1570, then in the next generation [1603] divided into 5 parts:

  1. Anhalt-Dessau (-1918)
  2. Anhalt-Bernburg (-1863)
  3. Anhalt-Köthen (-1665 and 1818-47)
  4. Anhalt-ZerbstZerbst (-1797)
  5. Anhalt-Plötzkau (-1665) then Anhalt-Köthen-Plötzkau (1665-1818).
After 1818, was down to three duchies:
  1. Anhalt-Dessau (-1918)
  2. Anhalt-Bernburg (-1863)
  3. Anhalt-Köthen (1818-47), which combined in 1847 and 1863, into the Dessau branch which thereafter was simply called Anhalt. It became a republic after World War One.
Norman Martin, 7 Feb 2001

Duke Joachim Ernst abdicated on 12 November 1918, after which Anhalt became a republic.
Jarig Bakker, 9 Feb 2001

Anhalt was united in 1863 from the three former duchies Anhalt-Köthen, Anhalt-Bernburg and Anhalt-Dessau. Sometime after 1815 already the colours red-green-white became the colours of Anhalt-Dessau (first used as an ribbon of an order). These continued to be the colours of the united duchy Anhalt from 1863-1918. The constitution of the Freistaat Anhalt of 18 July 1919 confirmed the colours red-green-white, that were used until 1935.
Sources: Günther 1995/96, Arndt 1979, Znamierowski 1999.
M. Schmöger, 12 Mar 2001

Landesflagge and Landesfarben

Horizontal tricolour red-green-white, adopted 1863, readopted 1919, abolished 1935, used unofficially 1990
Norman Martin, 1 Mar 1998 and M. Schmöger, 12 Mar 2001

Ducal Standard 1863-1918

[Anhalt ducal standard 1863-1918 ]
2:3 image by M. Schmöger, 12 Mar 2001
[Anhalt ducal standard #2]
1:2 image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 12 Apr 2019

Flag of the duke and the ducal house of Anhalt, in use until 1918, when the was proclaimed in Anhalt. The flag of the duke and the ducal house was red-green-white, the Landesfarben, with centred crowned ducal arms.
Jaume Ollé, 6 Jun 1996, Norman Martin, 1 Mar 1998 and M. Schmöger, 12 Mar 2001

The image mentioned above is based on the image in Stroehl 1999 (Deutsche Wappenrolle), plate XX, image XXXI (see left image above). During the annual DGF Meeting no. 26 on 13 October 2018 in Langenberg the real flag was presented by Jörg Karaschewski, different in detail: The shade of red was darker than expected and slightly purplish. The coat of arms was shifted to the hoist that way that the right edge of the shield was on the middle of the longitudinal side. The ratio was 1:2, and the demi-eagle, also purplish, had arms of the same, not Or. Furthermore the flag had thin golden fringes at three sides (see right image above).
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 12 Apr 2019

Duchies of Anhalt-Bernburg (1830-1863), Anhalt-Dessau (1813-1863) and Anhalt-Köthen (1813-1847)

[Anhalt-Bernburg 1830-1863, Anhalt-Dessau 1813-1863 and Anhalt-Köthen 1813-1847 (Germany)] image by Jaume Ollé, 29 Aug 1998

Based on information provided by Lucien Philippe.
Jaume Ollé, 29 Aug 1998

I have a reference to the flag of the Anhalt Batallion (i.e. the joint force of the three Anhalt duchies) in the Rheinbund [Confederation of the Rhine, pre-1815] army. This consisted of a white flag with the crowned arms of Anhalt (left Brandenburg, right Saxony). I do not know if this was considered to be a national flag, I think it is merely the flag of the batallion.
Norman Martin, 8 Feb 2001

In an interesting article about Ethiopian-German relations there is a flag-related passage about a flag from Anhalt (in the 7th paragraph): "According to his biography, which depended on his letters sent from Ethiopia, Zander became the military instructor of Wub? and introduced a flag to be carried by his troops, which was an almost exact copy of the flag of his fatherland, the Dukedom of Anhalt, one of the German states - and strikingly similar to the flag carried later by the troops of unified Ethiopia." All we have on FOTW about Ethiopian military flags is a page about roundels. Source:
Martin Karner, 8 Oct 2004

     "Flags carried at this time (by the members of the Confederation of the Rhine or Rheinbund during 1807-1808) were two by Gotha-Altenburg, one by Coburg-Saalfeld and one by Anhalt-Dessau. After several years of depletion through hard campaigning the regiments were reconstituted in 1812 for the Russian campaign. Two flags were carried at this time, one of the Anhalt bataillon (presented in 1811) and that of the Lippe batallion (presented in 1812), both being carried by the 5th regiment. The first measured 80 cm by 70 cm and the staff was white. The flag itself was white and bore in the centre the arms of Anhalt. These were to the viewer's right the arms of Saxony, green curved diagonal over black and yellow (gold) bands, to the left a red eagle displayed on a white background. Surround to oval was gold, as was the crown which also had a red lining. On the reverse was the word ANHALT in the centre. In 1811 a new flag was issued which was similar to the above described 1807 edition with following difference - a ribbon of white with black lettering, bearing the word ANHALT, was draped across the escutcheon. The flag was the same on both sides.
     After the defection of the German troops to the allies in 1813 new units were raised and took part in the 1814 campaign against Napoleon. It is known that Anhalt-Dessau had one flag."
Source: "Flags and Standards of the Napoleonic Wars". Compiled and drawn by Keith Over, Bivouac Books Ltd., London (also Sky Books Press Ltd., New York). Page 7-8.
     Text accompanying ill. 6 on p. 6: "Anhalt contingent flag 1811. The bear in the castle tower here shown on the flagstaff was originally the tip of the staff on an earlier vexillum type standard (the chains for which were held in the bear's extended paw). According to some authorities this was used on the new flag as illustrated but the 1807 pattern certainly had a plain spear tip."
     So these were military flags, not dynastic or national ones.
Jan Mertens, 28 Oct 2004

This confirms the informations from Norman Martin and answers his question if this Anhalt flag was also a national or merely a battalion flag. It was definitely a mere battalion flag. It rests now to clear up what the biographer of Eduard Zander meant with "almost exact copy of the flag of his fatherland:" did he write about the national/dynastic or military flag? Unfortunately he didn't describe the flag further. We will be able to answer it if we find something about early Ethiopian military flags or the origins of the Ethiopian national flag.
Martin Karner, 28 Oct 2004

At Anhalt Infantry 1807-1815 are some pictures and additional information: "(the flag of) the 1st Battalion 5th Regiment...was presented in 1807 and measured 80 x 70cm on a white flag staff with a gilt finial. This flag was destroyed at the combat of La Bisbal in Spain in September 1810. A new pattern flag was issued on the 14 May 1811. The Anhalt battalion capitulated at Danzig in 1813, but was allowed to keep its colours. Thereafter Anhalt joined the Allies. " Source: Text from Alan Pendlebury's site, "Flags of the Napoleonic Wars."
Jan Mertens, 11 Dec 2004

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