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Northern Karelia region (Finland)

Pohjois-Karjalan maakunta, landskapet Norra Karelen

Last modified: 2014-10-04 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: karelia | northern karelia | north karelia | sword | armoured arm | crown (yellow) |
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[Flag of Northern Karelia] image by Marco Pribilla (based on an image by António Martins-Tuvalkin)
Adopted in 1996.

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About the flag

This is the flag of the Finnish province/region of North Karelia (Pohjois-Karjalan maakunta/landskapet Norra Karelen). It shows the historical coat of arms of Karelia on red with a white field added to the hoist. Ratio about 3:4. The flag was adopted in 1996 and designed by Mr. Harri Rantanen.

The coat of arms in question originally stood for the area around Viipuri (in Russian: Vyborg, in Swedish: Viborg) betweeen the Baltic Sea and Lake Ladoga. What remains of this on the Finnish side today is known as South Karelia (Etelä-Karjala, Södra Karelen). The area now known as North Karelia (Pohjois-Karjala, Norra Karelen), at that time mainly a wilderness with a few peasants, did not become Swedish officially until the Peace Treaty of Stolbova in 1617, along with other areas. Since then it belonged to the Province of Käkisalmi (in Swedish: Kexholm; since 1946 known by its Russian name:Priozersk), which was given a coat of arms totally different - even though not less martial - from that of Viipuri Province: a burning silver castle on blue, surmounted by two cannon balls in flames. Historically speaking this should now be the coat of arms of North Karelia, not the one with the two arms. However, in the Finnish mind the "arms with the arms" are nowadays associated with everything related to Karelia; probably this is why contemporary North Karelia has chosen the "wrong" coat of arms, leaving the real heir South Karelia with an application. (See for complete coats of arms of the Finnish Regional Councils.)
Marco Pribilla, 29 September, 1 October 2001