The Flag of Switzerland

The flag of Switzerland consists of a red flag with a white cross in the centre. The dimensions of the cross were formally established in 1889, when the flag became the national flag (adopted by the constitution on December 12, 1889).

Before that, the use of this flag was a military matter. The white cross had been used to identify troops of the Eidgenossenschaft since the 14th century.

The white cross was identifying mark for the combatants to distinguish them from their opponents. The white cross was usually attached to cantonment banners or on clothing. Thus, the white cross became the symbol of the Confederation.

After the French invasion of 1798 and the establishment of the unitary state (the Helvetic Republic 1798-1803), the green-red-yellow tricolour became the national flag.

This Republic existed for only five years. In 1803, the (new) cantons regained their independence in the new Confederation (1803-1815). The tricolour disappeared ingloriously into oblivion.

It was not until 1889 that the Confederation of 1848 accepted the Swiss flag. The white cross in the red field was reintroduced as the coat of arms of the Confederate army in 1814 and formally recognised as the national flag of the Swiss Confederation in 1889.