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Schwarzburg Principalities until 1918 (Germany)

principalities of schwarzburg-rudolstadt and schwarzburg-sondershausen

Last modified: 2013-12-09 by pete loeser
Keywords: saxony | schwarzburg-rudolstadt | schwarzburg-sondershausen | fürstentum schwarzburg-rudolstadt | fuerstentum schwarzburg-rudolstadt | fürstentum schwarzburg-sondershausen | coat of arms (eagle) |
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[Schwarzburg Civil Flag 1866-1920 (Germany)] 2:3 Image by Santiago Dotor
Flag adopted 1866 for both Principalities, abolished 1920

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Introduction

From Ralf Hartemink's International Civic Arms website:

The original county was divided into two counties in 1552. Both counts received the title of [Imperial] Prince (Reichsfürst) in 1697 and 1711 respectively. In 1909 the branch S[chwarzburg]-Sondershausen became extinct and the Prince of S[chwarzburg]-Rudolstadt became prince. From 1909-1918 the two states were ruled jointly. In 1918 both became Free States and were incorporated into Thüringen in 1920.
These were the smallest principalities within the German Empire, with Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt having only 940 km² and Schwarzburg-Sondershausen 862 km².
Santiago Dotor, 14 February 2001


Schwarzburg Civil Flag (both Principalities) 1866-1920
Landesfarben

Blue-white bicolor. Adopted officially 1866. In use until 1918.
Norman Martin, March 1998

Before ca. 1815 national flags and Landesfarben or civil flags etc. were not known i.e. not in use in Germany, there are only a few exceptions. Rudolstadt was white-blue (c.1815-1866), Sondershausen blue-white (c.1815-1866). Both blue above white from 1866.
Landesfarben blue and white since about 1814. Used in flags since about 1815. Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt used white over blue horizontal. Schwarzburg-Sondershausen used blue over white horizontal. In 1866 both states agreed upon using (light) blue above white.
In 1909 both states were united in a Personalunion under Prince Günther von Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt. In 1918 both became Freistaat [republics]. In 1920 both merged into Thuringia. Quite surely the Freistaaten [i.e. republics] used the flags until 1920.
Ralf Stelter, 15 February 2001

At first the flags were [regular] blue, since 1866 the shade was lighter. As the colour shades were not defined then I would suppose the first is heraldic blue (Pantone 293), the latter about UN blue (ca. Pantone 292).
Ralf Stelter, 16 February 2001


Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt Civil Flag 1815-1866
Landesfarben

[Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt Civil Flag 1815-1866 (Germany)] 2:3 Image by Santiago Dotor
Flag adopted c.1815, abolished 1866


Schwarzburg-Sondershausen Civil Flag 1815-1866
Landesfarben

[Schwarzburg-Sondershausen Civil Flag 1815-1866 (Germany)] 2:3 Image by Santiago Dotor
Flag adopted c.1815, abolished 1866


Prince of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt's Banner until 1918
Fürstenstandarte Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt

[Prince of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt until 1918 (Germany)] 1:1 Image by Jaume Ollé

Square yellow flag with crowned black eagle, with a crown on a yellow field in escutcheon. (Arms awarded by the Emperor on the occasion of promotion to the status of [sovereign] prince in 1697). In use until 1918.
Norman Martin, March 1998

Princely standard of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt: a yellow banner of arms of the lesser arms of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt.
Ralf Stelter, 15 February 2001


Prince of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen's Banner until 1918
Fürstenstandarte Schwarzburg-Sondershausen

[Prince of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen until 1918 (Germany)] 1:1 Image by Jaume Ollé

Blue-white bicolor with gold lion rampant in upper hoist. In the center a coat of arms with the arms awarded by the Emperor. In use until 1918.
Norman Martin, March 1998

Jaume Ollé's images of the Rudolstadt banner and the Sondershausen coat-of-arms look have some mistakes:

  • the Rudolstadt eagle is nimbed (i.e. bears golden discs behind its heads), the Sondershausen one is not;
  • above the Rudolstadt eagle is an imperial crown, above the Sondershausen a royal one;
  • the inescutcheon on the Sondershausen arms clearly depicts a German sovereign prince's crown, the one on the Rudolstadt arms shows an unidentifiable shape, etc.
Also, two red charges in the base of the Rudolstadt armorial banner are missing in the Sondershausen arms.
Santiago Dotor, 14 February 2001

If my information (from Ströhl 1897) is right, they should be identical (except for the field of the Regalienfeld at the bottom of the arms. By the way, the small arms consist of the eagle — the imperial Gnadenwappen. In the great arms, the eagles are nimbed for both Rudolstadt and Sondershausen. The crown over the eagle's heads should be imperial for both. The inescutcheon should show a crown for both. The two red charges in the base of the arms [Regalienfeld] are a distinctive Schwarzburg charge (with the Regalienfeld field gold for Rudolstadt and silver for Sondershausen).
Norman Martin, 14 February 2001

Princely standard of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen: blue over white. In the upper hoist a gold lion from the ancestral coat-of-arms (Stammwappen) of Schwarzburg. In the centre the shield with the same eagle as Rudolstadt. On the shield a [sovereign] prince's crown (Fürstenhut). (...) Only the Regalienfeld [base of the shield] was different in each state, but this field was not shown on the flag of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen. Source: Ströhl 1897.
Ralf Stelter, 15 February 2001


Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt Coat-of-Arms

Lesser State Arms Colour detail
[Coat-of-Arms (Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, Germany)] [Coat-of-Arms detail (Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, Germany)]
both scanned from Ströhl 1897

The lesser arms of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt (lesser state coat-of-arms) is composed of the imperial double headed eagle, in the golden base a red [hay] fork [Heugabel] and a red rake (sometimes called Rosskamm i.e. 'horsecomb'). On the inescutcheon a [sovereign] prince's crown (Fürstenhut).
The double headed eagle was black, armed red and its heads were nimbed, above them the imperial crown. In Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt the princely hat was changed gradually (since about 1895) to a modern princely crown, while in Schwarzburg-Sondershausen the [modern] princely crown had already been in use for a long time. Source: Ströhl 1897.
Ralf Stelter, 15 February 2001


Schwarzburg-Sondershausen Coat-of-Arms

Lesser State Arms Colour detail
[Coat-of-Arms (Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, Germany)] [Coat-of-Arms detail (Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, Germany)]
both scanned from Ströhl 1897

The lesser arms of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen (lesser state coat-of-arms) was the same as the one of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, but the base with the red fork and red rake was silver. A variant without base was also in use (e.g. in the flag). So only the Regalienfeld was different in each state, but this field was not shown on the flag of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen.
The double headed eagle was black, armed red and its heads were nimbed, above them the imperial crown. In Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt the princely hat was changed gradually (since about 1895) to a modern princely crown, while in Schwarzburg-Sondershausen the [modern] princely crown had already been in use for a long time. Source: Ströhl 1897.
Ralf Stelter, 15 February 2001

I scanned the lesser arms of both principalities, from Ströhl 1897. I also send a coloured detail of the scans to make clearer that there are more little differences (the imperial crown, claws etc.) between them.
Ralf Stelter, 16 February 2001

  Rudolstadt Sondershausen
Base Argent Or
Crown sides Gules Azure
Eagle's beak and talons Gules Or
Orb Azure Or
Prince's crown model old* modern










* Slowly but steadily replaced by a modern one.
Santiago Dotor, 19 February 2001

The greater arms of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt and Schwarzburg-Sondershausen (identical for both) are shown in Smith 1975 p. 27, reproduced from Ströhl 1897.
Santiago Dotor, 5 March 2001


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