The History of Ukrainian Cockades

A number of folks have asked me about the history behind the Ukrainian cockade. I have to say, this cockade design has the oldest roots of any I've ever created - going back to the 10th century AD! 

Vladimir's Trident

Back in the late 900s, Vladimir or Volodymyr the Great had consolidated the Rus realm from modern-day Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. Valdimir was from the Rurik dynasty (and as a fun side note for me, I'm descended from that dynasty!). 

Among his many deeds, Vladimir converted to Christianity in 988 and Christianized the Russian nation. He is therefore also remembered as Saint Vladimir.

One of the symbols of Vladimir's power was the trident, and it was pictured all over the place. Seals, ceramics, rings, bricks, murals - and coins like this one, which shows Vladimir on one side and the trident on the other. 

It's not completely clear what the trident originally stood for. Some say it is a stylized falcon, which could have been part of the family coat of arms. Others say that it was used as a depiction of the Holy Trinity. 

Whatever it originally stood for, it came to be identified with the Ukrainian people, their leaders in particular, for centuries to come.

Official and Officially Banned

The Soviet Union, in order to keep its "union" intact, banned many symbols it considered "nationalistic." The trident was one of them. It was illegal for 70 years under Soviet rule. It appeared briefly with various political movements, but came back to stay when the Soviet Union dissolved. 

Though it has not been officially adopted as the Ukrainian emblem, most people agree that one thousand years' of use pretty much clinches it as a national symbol! 

Blue & Yellow

So that covers the symbol on the cockades - but what about the cockade colors themselves?

The blue and yellow colors of both the flag and the national cockade also have a long history. One of the earliest references to this color combo was at the Battle of Grunwald in 1410. If you're like many Americans (including me), you might not know much about that conflict. But in central Asian history, it marks a turning point in the balance of power from Teutonic influence towards Polish-Lithuanian influence. Ukraine was once part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Thus, the blue and yellow colors came to be associated with Ukrainian military victory.

Due to this association with a nationalistic victory, the blue and yellow flag combo reappeared at various times in history, and was officially adopted in 1848 during the Spring of Revolutions.  

The flag was used in many demonstrations and struggles for independence during the next century. The Soviet Union outlawed it, along with the trident. 

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the flag has come to be identified as the national colors of Ukraine, and is now flown all over the world in sympathy with Ukrainians fighting the current Russian invasion. 

Here's a smattering of 20th century Ukrainian badges, all showing the blue and yellow colors, and some showing the trident as well. 

#StandWithUkraine Cockades

So that's the story behind my Ukrainian cockades. Every cockade has a story to tell, and I think this cockade's story is particularly interesting!

I have three options in various sizes for you to choose from. Click here to see them.

And just a fun side note - recently a Member of Parliament in London wore one of my cockades to a World Bank meeting concerning support of Ukraine! Check out the pictures on my Instagram account or Facebook page. (And be sure to follow me as well!)

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