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Flag of Ukraine

Flag of Ukraine The flag of Ukraine is made of two equal horizontal bands of azure (top) and golden yellow, representing grainfields under a blue sky.

The origins of Ukraine's flag can be traced back to the convention of the Supreme Ruthenian Council, meeting in Lviv in October 1848. At this meeting, an emblem (coat of arms) for the Ukrainians was adopted. This was a golden rampant lion on blue. At the same time, blue and yellow was accepted as the national colours of Ukraine. For flags, both the golden crowned lion on a blue field, and the yellow over blue, were used. The Ukrainian colours became popular throughout Ukrainian lands, including those under Russia, but the order of the colours was not stable.

The first opportunity for Ukraine to adopt the blue and yellow as a national flag came with the break up of the Austrian and Russian empires as a result of World War I. The Ukrainian National Republic (UNR) was proclaimed on 20 November 1917. This was planned as a republic within a (future) Russian federation. However, because of the Bolshevik takeover in Russia and the war launched into Ukraine, independence was declared 22 January 1918. On the same day, the national flag of yellow over light blue was adopted 22 March 1918.

On 29 April 1918, a coup overthrew the UNR government. General Pavlo Skoropadsky set up the "Hetmanate of Ukraine" ("Hetman" is an old title used by certain military leaders). The flag was now changed to light blue over yellow. The Hetmanate lasted until 14 December 1919, when Hetman Skoropadsky stepped down and the UNR was restored. Under the restored UNR, the national flag of light blue over yellow was not changed again. Independence was soon lost to the Bolsheviks and Ukraine eventually became a union republic of the USSR.

In the Austrian parts of Ukraine, in Galicia, Bukovina and Transcarpathia, a Western Ukrainian National Republic (WUNR) was declared in October 1918. A flag, blue over yellow, was adopted by this republic on 13 November 1918. Union between the UNR and WUNR was declared 22 January 1919, but was never properly implemented because of the war that broke out with the Poles. Poland took control of Galicia, and kept it until the area became part of Ukraine and the USSR after World War II.

Another territory populated by Ukrainians, Transcarparthia, became a province of Czechoslovakia in 1919, where it was named Subcarpathian Ruthenia. On 20 March 1920 a provincial flag of blue over yellow was adopted. In 1938, Hungary started occupying the province step by step. Despite the Hungarian occupation (which lasted until the end of World War II), the provincial assembly proclaimed the territory independent as Carpatho-Ukraine on 15 March 1939. The national flag of Carpatho-Ukraine was also blue over yellow. After World War II, Carpatho-Ukraine was incorporated into Ukraine.

In 1919 the Zaporoge Cossacks took power in several territories in Ukraine. The flag was green and black.

Under Communism, the light blue and yellow flag of Ukraine was almost forgotten in the Eastern and Central parts of the country, the parts that belonged to the USSR from the time this union was formed. In Western Ukraine, which was part of Poland, the flag was used for a longer period and memory of it survived. Despite persecution of nationalists under Stalin, there were a few instances (heavily punished) of the light blue and yellow flag being displayed as acts of demonstration. It was in Lviv and Western Ukraine that the use of the flag was revived in the Spring of 1989, mostly by nationalist and human rights organizations. Two and a half years later, the flag became the national flag of independent Ukraine.

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