Since ancient history, Armenia has been divided and fought over by various states and powers. The evolution of the Armenian flag reflects these constant changes and highlights the resilience and bravery of the Armenian people.
The modern day Armenian flag is a simple tricolor design. It is composed of horizontal stripes of equal width in red, blue and light orange. Unlike many other nation’s flags, there are no additional seals, symbols or script.
Before the tricolor flag came into being, Armenia had several different banners that represented the nation. The ancient flag designs were quite beautiful with intricate drawings depicting fierce animals and gods meant to frighten enemies as the flags proceeded infantries into battle.
The concept of the tricolor flag was developed in the late 1800s. Up until this time, Armenia was divided between the Persian and the Ottoman empires. Because of the constant change and uncertainty of leadership, Armenia had no flag. The tricolor flag was designed by a catholic priest in honor of Victor Hugo. It looked very similar to the current flag, but the colors were red, green and white. A few years later, the priest redesigned the flag using France’s flag as an inspiration. On this design, he used vertical stripes in red, green and blue to represent Biblical imagery.
As soon as Armenia gained independence for the first time, the flag was once again changed. It was at this point that Armenia almost adopted a rainbow flag as their national banner, but after careful consideration this design was rejected in favor of another version of the tricolor. The three colors chosen were red, blue and orange. These colors were chosen primarily because of previous flag designs and for aesthetic reasons.
Unfortunately, Armenian independence was short lived and the USSR ousted the Republic’s flag in favor of a red flag with the hammer and sickle and Soviet initials. The tricolor flag appeared once again in 1952 still sporting the hammer and sickle in the upper left hand corner and with a blue stripe in the middle breaking up the field of red. This flag flew over Armenia for just under forty years.
In 1990, Armenia gained sovereignty from Soviet rule and adopted the modern tricolor flag, which still represents the nation. Each of the three colors of the flag has different meanings. Red symbolizes the beauty of the Highland and the people’s struggle for independence. Blue represents peace and the blue skies of Armenia. Orange symbolizes creativity and the diligent work ethic of Armenians.