History of the Scandinavian Cross Flag (“Nordic Cross”)
According to legend, the flag of Denmark originated during the Battle of Lyndanisse, part of the Northern Crusades, near modern-day Tallinn in Estonia, on June 15, 1219: The battle began when a group of pagans attacked Danish crusaders by surprise, killing Bishop Theoderich von Treyden. King Valdemar II of Denmark was nearing certain defeat when the Archbishop of Lund, Anders Sunesen, raised his arms in prayer to God; suddenly a flag (called the ‘Dannebrog’ in Danish) miraculously fell from the sky; taken as a sign of Christ’s protection, the King took it and showed it to his troops; their hearts were filled with courage and the Danes won the battle.
According to Swedish legend, the flag of Sweden originated when King St. Erik IX saw a golden cross in the sky during the First Swedish Crusade in 1157. He considered this a sign from God and adopted the golden cross on a blue background as his banner.
Regardless of who had the flag first, the cross design, which represents Christianity, was adopted by Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, the Åland Islands, Scania, Shetland, Orkney and several other areas around northern Europe.