This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Croatian Wikipedia. (January 2011)
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The flag combines the colors of the flags of the Kingdom of Croatia (red and white), the Kingdom of Slavonia (white and blue) and the Kingdom of Dalmatia (red and blue). Those three kingdoms are the historic constituent states of the Croatian Kingdom.
The red-white-blue tricolor has been used as the Croatian flag since 1848, and the pan-Slavic colors are widely associated with romantic nationalism. While the Banovina of Croatia existed within the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, it had a similar flag without the modern crown above the chequy. During the Independent State of Croatia, flag was like the modern, but without crown and there was letter "U" at the top left of the flag. Also, first field of Croatian chequy was white. While Croatia was part of SFR Yugoslavia its tricolor was the same, but it had a five-pointed red star with a yellow border in place of the coat of arms. The star was replaced by the coat in May 1990, shortly after the first multiparty elections. The current flag and the coat of arms were officially adopted on 21 December 1990, about ten months before the proclamation of independence from Yugoslavia and a day before the Constitution of Croatia on 22 December 1990.
The shield is in the red and white checks of Croatia. Above is a crown made of shields of its various regions. From left to right they are the ancient arms of Croatia, Dubrovnik, Dalmatia, Istria, and Slavonia. Arms of Dubrovnik and Istra are there because they represent two parts of Croatia that big part of their history were not part of Kingdom Dalmatia-Croatia- Slavonia.