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Istria County (Croatia)

Istarska županija, Regione Istriana

Last modified: 2014-03-08 by ivan sache
Keywords: istria county | istarska zupanija | regione istria | goat (yellow) | esuli |
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[County flag]

Flag of Istria County - Image by Željko Heimer, 20 September 2009

See also:

Presentation of Istria County

Istria County is situated on the west of Croatia, on the penisula on the Adriatic coast of the same name. In Istria there is the largest concentration of Italians living in Croatia, so Italian is one of the official languages there.
On 13 July 2006, the Croatian Parliament adopted a new Law on local subdivision to replace the previous one from 1997 (amended 15 times since then until 2003), Zakon o podrucjima županija, gradova i opcina u Republici Hrvatskoj (text), published on 28 July 2006 in the Croatian official gazette Narodne novine, No. 86. The subdivisions' listing in the Law now includes double Croatian-Italian names where Italian is an official language.

A short chronology of Istria is:
- 11th century: under Venetian domination
- 1797: transferred to Austria by the Treaty of Campoformio
- 1805: transferred to the French Empire by the Treaty of Presburg and incorporated into the Illyrian Provinces
- 1815: given back to Austria by the Vienna Congress, later in the 19th century revendicated as provinzia irredenta by Italy
- 1919: divided between Yugoslavia and Italy
- 1920: annexed by Italy
- 1945: liberated by the Allies (Free Territory of Trieste) and immediately divided into Zone A (Trieste and neighborhood) under western Allies control, and Zone B under Yugoslav military control
- 1954: Zone A was given to Italy, Zone B, with some minor border corrections, given to Yugoslavia. Northern part of the Zone B became Slovenian, and most of Istria Croatian.
- 1975: final agreement between Italy and Yugoslavia by the Treaty of Osimo regarding the borders in the region.
- 1991: breakdown of Yugoslavia, smaller northern part remains in Slovenia and most of Istria in Croatia, following the previous borders Since, Slovenia and Croatia have not reached agreement on some minor points of the border in Istria, the most important being the border on sea in Piran Bay and the land border immediatly on the coast
- 1993: Istrian County established in Croatia.

Željko Heimer & Ivan Sache, 31 May 2000

Flag of Istria County

The symbols of Istria County are prescribed by Decision Statutarnu odluku o grbu i zastavi Istarske županje te načinu i zaštiti njihove uporabe, adopted on 1 July 2002 by the County Assembly and published on 1 August 2002 in the County official gazette Službene novine list Istarske županije, No. 10 (text).
Further Decisions Odluka o mjerilima i postupku za davanje odobrenja u svrhu izrade, umnožavanja i komercijalne distribucije grba i zastave Istarske županije, adopted on 11 December 2002 by the County Assembly and published on 17 February 2003 in Službene novine list Istarske županije, No. 1, and Izmejna i dopuna Statutarne odluke o grbu i zastavi Istarske županije te nacinu i zaštiti njihove uporabe, adopted on 18 October 2004 by the County Assembly and published on 25 October 2004 in Službene novine list Istarske županije, No. 12, detail the manners and conditions to grant the commercial use of the symbols and define in further details the penal decisions.
The Decision was last amended by Izmjene i dopune Statutarne odluke o grbu i zastavi Istarske županije te načinu i zaštiti njihove uporabe, adopted on 22 February 2010 by the County Assembly and published on 1 March 2010 in Službene novine Istarske županije, No. 1 (text).

The proposed symbols were approved on 18 December 2001 (as reported by the daily Novi list, 19 December 2001) by the County Mayor and submitted to the County Assembly. This final proposal was made according to the Regulations issued by the Ministry of Administration in 1998. This regulation requires bicolour flag for county's flags and has been for a long time a matter of dispute between Istria and the Ministry.
The first official hoisting of the County flag was reported in La Voce del Popolo, a local newspaper in Italian, 1 April 2003 (text).
The flag is horizontally divided blue-green with the coat of arms in the middle.

Željko Heimer & Janko Ehrlich-Zdvořák, 18 July 2010

Coat of arms of Istria County

[County coat of arms]

Coat of arms of Istria County - Image by Željko Heimer, 20 September 2009

The coat of arms, originally pictured in K. Lind's book Stadte-Wappen von &#Ouml;sterreich-Ungarn [lik85], issued in Vienna, 1885, is "Azure a goat horned and hoofed gules".


Vecernji list (daily, Zagreb), September 2001, reported the search for the symbols of the County as follows.

It is now six years that the Istria County is trying to resolve the question of its coat of arms and its flag featuring a goat. In an interview with the Head of the County Division for Local Administration and Self-Government, Marino Folo, we learned that the design is being coordinated with the Consultative Commission on the process of approval of the symbols of a unit of local self-government in the Ministry of Administration and Justice. In the commission seat Maja Bejdić and the Head of the Croatian State Archives, Pr. Zdravko Tišljer. Marino Folo says that the new design is very much like the previous one, only with a thinner border, the shadow on the goat's tail smaller, no udders and some more minor differences.

On the picture attached to the text, the differences from previous proposals, at least those that we were able to see, are more than minor - there are no hills on which the goat is standing, the goat is made much bolder, and, most important, there is no crown above the shield.

Željko Heimer & Janko Ehrlich-Zdvořák, 19 December 2001

Former symbols of Istria County

[County former flag]         [County former flag]

Former flag of Istria County, horizontal and vertical versions - Images by Željko Heimer, 21 October 1998

The first modern symbols of of Istria County were prescribed by Decision Odluka o grbu, zastavi i imenu Županije Istarske, adopted on 3 October 1994 by the County Assembly and published on 7 August 1995 in Službene novine Županije Istarske, No. 5.
The flag is light blue with the coat of arms in the middle; the vertical version is the same with the name of the County in Croatian and Italian on it; no colour or position of the text are specified, neither the size of coat of arms on the flag.

The coat of arms is "Azure, on a triple hill vert a goat or horned and hoofed gules" crowned with a crown or with olive and oak leaves proper. So, we are not talking about a proposal, but adopted design. However, to be valid, the design must be approved by the Ministry, which obviously rejected it.

The Ministry rejected in these proposals some unheraldic elements, and disputed the crown above the coat of arms.

Željko Heimer, 23 September 2001

Istria Markgravate (Austro-Hungarian Empire)

[Istria Landesfarben]         [Istria Landesfarben]

Landesfarben of Istria County, two reported versions - Images by Željko Heimer, 20 September 2009

The Landesfarben of the "lesser" Austrian crownlands are notoriously reinterpreted in every book issue, and it would be hard to find two contemporary books that would have matching all the crownlands. It seems that each editor "derived" them from the coats of arms as good as he could and hardly ever checked against sources. The Istria Landesfarben are given as:
- yellow-red-blue in Rosenfeld's Die See-Flaggen, national und provinzial Fahnen, 1883 [hvr83]; Mayers Konversations-Lexicon, 1897; Ö-H in Wort und Bild; and Ruhl's Die Flaggen alle Staaten der Erde, 1930 [r2s30];
- red-yellow-blue in Stroehl's Oesterreichisch-Ungarische Wappenrolle, 1895 [stl95], on Table 20 under Figure 28;
- blue-yellow-red in Austria oder Oesterreichischer Universal-Kalender für das Schaltjahr 1844 [s7k44];
- blue-yellow in Grenser's Die National- und Landesfarben von 150 Staaten der Erde, 1881 [gns81].

Željko Heimer & Giampaolo Lonzar, 5 May 2004

Nations Without States [mnh96] includes an entry on Istria and mentions a flag described as "the Istrian national flag, the traditional flag of the region, and the flag of the national movement". It is a horizontal tricolor of red, yellow and blue.
The Landesfarben have not been much used in Austria-Hungary, and certainly not afterwards. Even if today the Istrian regionalist feeling is politically influencial, the tricolour flag seems not to be used at all. Since the neighboring town of Fiume (Rijeka) used a similar flag - red-yellow-blue -, the confusion in the order of stripes might have been made.

Ned Smith & Željko Heimer, 3 March 2001

Italian exiles after the Second World War (Esuli)

[Esuli flag]

Flag of Italian exiles - Image from the Araldica Istriana website, contributed by Guido Abate, 31 December 2002

The Italians who left Istria after the Second World War and now live in Italy, as well as other Italians who left the Croatian coast then, are known as Esuli. Such organizations are mainly focused in preserving the cultural heritage, but sometimes irredentist and fascist ideologies resurface.

Željko Heimer, 31 December 2002

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