The legend of the origin of the Croatian coat of arms

Legend has it that at the end of the 10th century, in a war with the Venetians, Croatian King Stjepan Držislav was captured and taken to Venice. Venetian Doge Peter II. Orseolo heard that the Croatian king played chess well and challenged him to 3 games of chess. If the king won, the doge guaranteed him freedom. According to legend, Stjepan Držislav won and was released from prison to return to Croatia. As a thank you for his freedom, he decided to choose a chessboard for his coat of arms and the coat of arms of Croatia.

The fresque from 15th century with Croatian coat of arms

Of course this is just a legend. The red and white chessboard in Croatia began to appear as the state coat of arms only in the 15th century, and probably the most important document with the Croatian chessboard is the one in which the Croatian nobility chose Ferdinand I of Habsburg as their and Croatian king on January 1, 1527. This was after the last Hungarian-Croatian king Louis II of Jagel was killed in the battle of Mohacs in 1526.

The charter from 1527 in wich Croatian nobles choose Ferdinand I of Habsburg as their king

There are several interpretations of what the white and red fields on the coat of arms mean … One of them is that they mean White and Red Croatia. White Croatia was the ancestral home of the Croats in the area of ​​today’s northern Czechia and southern Poland to beyond the Carpathians, and Red Croatia is today’s Croatia, which was inhabited by Croats at the beginning of the 7th century. There are interpretations that white fields signify peace, and red blood and war, but neither of them has been confirmed with certainty. Throughout history, the color of the initial field has changed. It used to be white, and sometimes red …

Published by borisbirosevic

Hi! My name is Boris Birošević. I live in Zagreb, Croatia. My father studied history so he passed the love for it on me from my youth ages. He always told me interesting stories from history. I loved listening to him and I was always attracted to that, for me, unexplored and mystical world. I read all six books “History of the Croats” by Vjekoslav Klaić during my elementary school. During high school, I was (I could say) the best in history in my generation, and I further expanded my knowledge in college because we had a lot of history-related subjects. By the way, I have a master of journalism degree. I have been studying and dealing with history for 25 years, on a daily basis. I have a broad and deep knowledge of Croatian, European and worldwide history. My goal is to transfer my knowledge to others in an interesting and even so objective way. On my website and blog, I will try to bring details from Croatian history closer to foreigners because it is still unknown to many and difficult to access. I will also cover some topics that are close and related to Croatian history in a certain way (Western Balkans, Slavs, Austria-Hungary, etc.) I hope that on my page everyone will find something for himself. For me, history is not a job but a calling… Join me on my website "HISTORY OF CROATIA and related history"...

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