The Wrong Cretan Flag

Prince George of Greece arrived on Crete in December 1898 to take up his role as the High Commissioner of the island. As well as choosing a High Commissioner for the Cretans, the European Powers also chose a flag for the island.  The three blue quarters of the flag and the white cross were considered to represent the Cretan Christian majority on the island, while the remaining red quarter, containing within it a five-pointed white star, represented the Cretan Muslim minority and the continuing de-jure claim to the island by the Ottoman Empire.

While the political implications of the status of the island proclaimed by the flag was, and in some quarters still is, contentious, flag makers and postcard producers were, and still are, quick to cash in on the opportunity to make money by selling souvenirs.

Flag of Cretan Autonomous State. On sale on eBay July 2018. (Sorry for the quality!)


Most of these, though somewhat tacky, at least managed to get the details of the flag correct.

Not so the post-card shown below. Produced by ‘The Publishers of a Thousand Curiosities’ in Canea at an unknown date, it shows a photograph of the Prince’s offices in Kastelli, above the port in Canea, surmounted by a, rather crude, six-pointed star. Quite why such an elementary error was made remains a mystery.


The palace of Prince George and the, incorrect, flag of the Cretan Autonomous State.


1 thought on “The Wrong Cretan Flag

  1. Zacharenia Simandiraki, Historian - Archivist, Former Head of the Historical Archives of Crete

    1. The building shown is not the Prince’s residence in Halepa, but his office-headquarters at Kastelli, above the port of Chania.
    2. The Flag of the Cretan Autonomous State was indeed a five-pointed star, which represented the Bethlehem star of Christianity in the muslim 1/4 of the flag, after an introduction to the Cretan Parliament by the – at the time – Minister of Justice Eleftherios Velizelos, after a suggestion of the Great Powers. That is why it’s upper left ray was longer than the rest four. An original flag kept at the Historical Archives of Crete, in Chania, verifies the above – I wish I could post the relevant photo, along with my comment.

    Liked by 1 person


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