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Albania: Republic, 1920-1928

Last modified: 2013-02-23 by ivan sache
Keywords: eagle: double-headed (black) | helmet | skanderbeg | president | civil ensign | war flag | naval ensign |
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[Flag of Albania, 1920]

Flag of Albania, 1920-1928 - Image by Jaume Ollé, 15 July 1996

See also:

Flag of the Republic of Albania

Due to difficulties in reaching an agreement in the Peace Conference (1919), Italy started to show reluctance in assuming a mandate on the country, transferring a part of it to Greece and another to Serbia.
An Albanian rebellion broke up then and forced the Italians to withdraw from most of the country. By the end of the year, the partisans of Bairam Tsuri had already taken control over nearly all of Albania.

On 20 January 1920 the Constitutional Statute of the Albanian Republic was promulgated with legislation about the national flag. In February 1920 a more representative Albanian provisional government was formed. Its president was Soliman Bey Divilna and it was located first in Lushnje, but soon moved to Tirana. It included four constitutional regents. The flag with the double-headed eagle was kept but by 1920 a new design was adopted (formally on 20 January through the 3rd article of the Constitutional Statute). The allied forces withdrew from the country, delivering Shkodra to the Italians in May 1920. The Italians remained also in Vlora until August, when the Italian government agreed to recognize the independence of Albania.

Prime Minister Soliman Bey was replaced by Irias Vrioni in the fall of 1920. Albania, with its new national flag, was admitted in the League of Nations in January 1921 while an international commission fixed the borders of the country on 9 November 1920.

Ahmed Zogu became Prime Minister in December 1922 but, accused of favoring Yugoslavia, he resigned in February, being replaced by Noli. With Yugoslav help, Zogu returned to the country and took power by force (end of 1924). On 25 January 1925 a national assembly proclaimed a republic and the national flag was not modified. Zogu governed as a dictator, first allied with Yugoslavia and later with Italy.

The Law of 12 July 1926 established certain provisions about the flags and national coat of arms. Regarding the arms, it was established that the eagle should bear a golden helmet of Skanderbeg in its chest, surrounded by weapons and flags. Regarding the flags, a war flag and naval ensign, as well as a presidential standard and a civil ensign were created.

Jaume Ollé, 15 July 1996

War flag and naval ensign

[War flag]

War flag and naval ensign - Image by Jaume Ollé, 15 July 1996

Presidential standard

[1926 presidential standard]

Presidential standard - Image reconstructed by Jaume Ollé, 15 July 1996

The Law indicates that the helmet should be surrounded by a halo.

Jaume Ollé, 15 July 1996

Civil ensign

[1926 merchant ensign]

Civil ensign - Image by Željko Heimer, 8 September 2005

The horizontally divided red-black-red civil ensign was adopted by the Law of 12 July 1926.

Jaume Ollé, 15 July 1996

Alternative flag reports

[Possible flag of 1927]

Other reported national flag - Image by Jaume Ollé, 15 July 1996

The Hispano-American Encyclopaedia, in the update published in 1930, shows a quite different design of the eagle. Of course, it is not a vexillological publication and there are some errors in the flags shown there. However, it seems certain that the model of the eagle was not permanent between 1920 and 1929. The fact that the update was published in 1930 made me to initially date the flag as belonging to the period of King Zogu, but later considerations about the time it took in the late 1920s to edit a book and the delay in learning vexillological novelties, lead me now to believe that this is the flag in use before the law of 8 August 1929 that established new flags.

The image above would then be the national flag between 1926 and 1929, and also the war flag and naval ensign in the same period.

Jaume Ollé, 15 July 1996

[Possible presidential standard of 1927]

Other reported presidential flag - Image by Jaume Ollé, 15 July 1996

This flag would be the presidential standard in the same period, 1926-1929.

Jaume Ollé, 15 July 1996