Officially adopted in 1954, the flag of Åland is a yellow or gold Nordic cross on a blue background (resembling the Swedish flag) with another red cross (symbolizing Finland) inside, and with the vertical bar shifted towards the hoist side: it was first hoisted in Mariehamn on 3 April 1954. When Finland obtained independence from Russia in 1917, many Ålanders feared they would lose their Swedish culture and language: the native population started a movement to unite with Sweden, therefore Finland, Sweden, and Russia appealed to the League of Nations, who decided in favour of Ålander autonomy. A first, unofficial, blue and yellow tricolour flag (in use since the 1920s) was banned in 1935 by the Finnish government, until in 1952 new laws gave Åland the right to its own flag: the final design resembles the Swedish flag with a red cross inside to represent Finland.