The Prussians and the Danes territorial dispute led to wars that traumatized the national identity of the Danish. When the Prussians won in the Second Schleswig War, the Prussia-controlled Danish citizens were forbidden to raise the Danish flag.
The Danish Pig protest signified the independence of the Danish citizens when the identity of the Danes fell victim to the Prussian laws’ repression. The red and white pigs became the symbol of Danish independence.
The Territorial Prussian and Danish War
During the mid-19th century, territorial disputes between Denmark and Prussia sparked over the placement of their borders. Both countries wanted to own the Southern Jutland Peninsula, now known as the Danish country of South Jutland within Schleswig-Holstein, making no effort to compromise their ownership.
Denmark and Prussia chose to resolve the territorial controversy in the battlefields of war in 1848. Denmark became victorious, earning its righteous ownership on the disputed land. Denmark’s claim to the area was only temporary as another battle occurred. When Prussia defeated Denmark in the Second Schleswig War, they finally acquired their earned possession of the land. (Source: Mental Floss)
The Second Schleswig War
The triumph of Prussia in the Second Schleswig War signified a tremendous loss for Denmark. Denmark’s failure meant giving up a third of its land and almost half of its population to Prussia and Austria. With their loss, Denmark’s politics and culture changed, along with their identity as a nation.
The Second Schleswig War was a heavily traumatic period for Denmark, and its impact on the country lies with them until now. One infamous example of this is the 2014 Danish television show entitled 1864, the year of the war. 1864 consequentially led to a huge controversy, with the director, many politicians, historians, artists, and Danish people arguing in a heated manner. (Source: Nordics.Info)
The Danish Protest Pig
After their win in the Second Schleswig War, the Prussian state quickly established many laws during the 1860s that directly showed their disdain towards the Danish. Suppressing any mark of Danish, they restricted the raising of the Danish flag.
The Danish citizens in the disputed area felt angered by the new laws, immediately devising a plan to bypass the law that forbids them from raising the Danish flag.
The Danish farmers then devoted their time to crossbreeding pigs. They aimed to create a new pig breed that bore a resemblance to the Danish flag, which was a relatively easy task as the flag of Denmark only had a white Nordic cross and a red background. With that, the pigs were crossbred to achieve two prominent white streaks among their vivid red coating.
The efforts of the Danish farmers led to the creation of a uniquely colored pig, the Protestschwein, which directly translated as the Protest Pig. The only thing the cute pig was missing to resemble the Danish flag was another white stripe. The Protest Pig soon became a representation of the cultural independence of the Danish. Its recognition as an official animal breed came in the 20th century, renaming the pig breed as the Husum Red Pied.
There are only a few living Husum Red Pied Pigs currently in the world, most living in zoos. (Source: Mental Floss)