The Danish flag, called the Dannebrog, is probably the oldest national flag in the world. According to legend, its history begins when the Danish crusaders, led by King Valdemar II the Victorious, were conducting a crusade against the pagan Estonians. The struggle had been going on for some time when the Estonians called all their warriors to arms on St Viti Day. 15 June 1219. The Danes were thrown into confusion by the fierce and unexpected attack, but suddenly a sign from heaven, a great blood red flag with a white cross floated down from the sky. The retreating Danish soldiers caught the flag, counter attacked with the cry of "Forward to victory under the sign of the Cross", and eventually won the battle. There is no definite proof that the annebrog was used at such an early date the first picture of it appeared in Wapenboek Gelve in the second half of the 14th century However, the Dannebrog may originally (in the 12th century) have been a crusade banner or even an ensign. The most robable theory is that the Dannebrog evolved in the same way as the flags for the border territories of the Holy Roman Empire (Hanseatic cities or cities in northern Italy), most of which displayed a white cross on red or red on white.


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