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Anglo-Dutch flags (historical)

Last modified: 2014-06-28 by andrew weeks
Keywords: netherlands | holland | england | anglo-dutch union flag | protestant | orange-nassau |
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Holland Union Flag

[Anglo-Dutch Protestant or Union flag 1688] Mark Sensen, 6 Jul 1999

The exact design is unknown, this is only a possible one! Spelling, font, placement of the words, etc. might have been different.
Mark Sensen, 06 July 1999

[Anglo-Dutch Protestant or Union flag] Mark Sensen, 7 Mar 2000

On three of the flag charts I discovered a Dutch flag I'm not familiar with: a horizontal triband red-white-red called "Holland(s) Union Flag". All three the charts are English, one dated 1685-6, one c.1700, and one 1711.
Mark Sensen, 5 July 1999

On several Dutch old flag charts there is a 'Union Flag', as depicted on p. 134 of [Laa13] Van der Laars 1913.
It looks like a red flag with black letters, but according to Van der Laars the flag is red with white letters ("For the protestant Religion and the Liberty of England"). In 1685 Louis XIV of France renounced the Edict of Nantes and James II became king of England, which seemed to be a big threat to protestantism in England and Holland; this may have caused the flag to be adopted by William's party. For simplicity's sake the white letters on a red field may have been replaced by a white band between two red bands in the Anglosaxon world. In Holland that was not the case as this 'Union flag' for some reason was depicted as black on red.
Jarig Bakker, 6 Jul 1999

It seems this flag was used by the fleet of King-Stadholder William III when he sailed from Hellevoetsluis (Holland) to Torbay (England) on 11 November 1688. (The fleet had over 300 ships and an army of 15,000 men).
According to Klaes Sierksma most flag charts give black letters, but this one with white letters seems more logical since it's better to read. Sources:
 "Vlagge-boeck van den Heer Paulus van der Dussen Captain" (article about a flag book from c.1700), Klaes Sierksma in Spiegel Historiael, December 1979.
 "Oranje op de bres; Vorstenhuis en leger in de Nederlandse geschiedenis", C.M. Schulten and B. Schoenmaker, Amsterdam, 1989.
Mark Sensen, 6 Jul 1999


William of Orange's expeditionary flag

[William of Orange's expeditionary flag] Mark Sensen, 7 Jul 1999

Text: FOR THE PROTESTANT RELIG. AND THE LIBERTY OF ENGLAND - JE MAINTIENDRAY
Scan of a drawing of this flag from C. Allard's "Nieuwe Hollandse Scheeps-bouw", Amsterdam 1694, depicted in several books. (Among others: [Laa13] Van der Laars 1913 and [wiL86] Timothy Wilson).
Mark Sensen, 7 Jul 1999

Thomas Babington Macaulay, in his "History of England", Chapter IX, describes William of Orange's departure on his expedition to England on October 16, 1688:

In the evening he arrived at Helvoetsluys and went on board of a frigate called the Brill. His flag was immediately hoisted. It displayed the arms of Nassau quartered with those of England. The motto, embroidered in letters three feet long, was happily chosen. The House of Orange had long used the elliptical device, "I will maintain." The ellipsis was now filled up with words of high import,--"The liberties of England and the Protestant religion."
It may be some time before I can track this down, but I think I have seen an illustration showing the original motto "Je maintiendrai" in French and the complement in English. What I would really like, of course, is to see the original flag. I suppose that by "the arms of England" we should understand the royal arms, quartered by France and grand-quartering Scotland and Ireland. I don't recall what arms Orange-Nassau used then.
John Ayer, 07 July 1999

The coat-of-arms of Orange-Nassau were back then:
Main shield the arms of Nassau-Dillenburg: quarterly I Nassau (on a blue field with golden billets a golden rampant lion), II Katzenelnbogen (on a field of gold a red rampant lion guardant crowned), II Vianden (on a red field a fess of silver), IV Dietz (on a red field two golden leopards).
On an escutcheon the arms of Orange-Châlons: quarterly I and IV Châlons (on a red field a silver bend), II and III Orange (on a field of gold a blue bugle-horn stringed red garnished silver); an escutcheon Geneva (chequy of nine gold and blue).
Over this an escutcheon Veere (on a black field a fess of silver); under it an escutcheon Buren (on a red field an embattled fess of silver).
Mark Sensen, 7 Jul 1999


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