Flag of Eritrea

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Flag of Eritrea
Flag of Eritrea.svg
Use National flag and ensign
Proportion 1:2
Design Former wreath emblem of Eritrea emblazoned in gold on a red isosceles triangle, flanked to the north and south by green and blue right triangles, respectively.

The current flag of Eritrea was adopted on December 5, 1995.[1] It uses the basic layout of the flag of the Eritrean People's Liberation Front. The wreath with upright olive branch symbol was derived from the 1952 flag which had a light blue background. After independence from Italy and Britain, Eritrea was made an autonomous state. The first official flag had a light blue background and olive leaves in the centre. The background was kept light blue to honour the United Nations.[2] The current flag bears resemblance to the Eritrean People's Liberation Front's official flag. The green colour in the flag stands for the agriculture and livestock of the country; blue stands for the sea and red for the blood lost in the fight for freedom. The current proportions of the flag are 1:2.

History and symbolism[edit]

Eritrea and Ethiopia both were occupied by the Italians and they ruled them as one single colony. Before the second Word War Eritrea was more developed and prosperous than Ethiopia. The ruling country Italy was defeated and lost the colonies to Britain. Ethiopia was separated but after the rise of Arab nationalism, the people of Eritrea demanded independence from the British rule. Ethiopia claimed the Eritrean state by calling it a "lost province". Several officers proposed that the Eritrea be separated into two parts– the Christian area be merged to Ethiopia and the Muslim area to Sudan.[3] However, after international debate and the intervention of Allied Powers the United States passed a resolution formulating the creation of an autonomous Eritrea in federation with Ethiopia in 1950.[3] On September 15, 1952 Eritrea became independent from the British rule.[4] Eritrea was made an autonomous part of Ethiopia. Since the United Nations had helped the country in obtaining independence from the British rule, the 1952 Eritrean flag had a light blue background to honour the organisation's assistance. The then flag had a olive wreath in the centre which symbolises peace. The wreath encircled a six-leafed plant which represented the six administrative divisions of Eritrea.[5] After the beginning of civil war in Eritrea in 1961,[6] the Ethiopian emperor Haile Sellassie banned the Eritrean flag, coat of arms and all other government seals from public places and later annexed Eritrea in 1962 after the approval of United States.[3] The Ethiopian flag was used for all official purposes. The Eritrean People's Liberation Front fought for the country's independence and in January 1977 the party adopted its own official flag. The current flag of Eritrea bears resemblance to the party's official flag.[2] The flag had three triangles– red, blue and green. The yellow star in the red triangle symbolised the country's rich mineral resources. After Eritrea was proclaimed an independent nation, the flag was modified and its first official hoisting was done on May 24, 1993.[2] In the red triangle, a gold wreath symbol with 14 leaves on each side derived from the 1952 flag replaced the gold star of the Eritrean People's Liberation Front's flag. In 1995 the number of leaves in the wreath were standardised. The 30 leaves symbolise the number of year spent in the civil war before achieving independence. The flag's length to breadth ratio was changed from 2:3 to 1:2[2]

The flag is dominated by a red isosceles triangle extending from the hoist to the fly, with complementary green and blue triangles above and below the red one. In the red portion of the flag is a gold wreath encircling a gold olive branch. The CIA World Factbook 2012 points that the shape of the red triangle mimics the country's shape.[7] Green stands for the agriculture and livestock of the country; blue stands for the sea (Red Sea); and red for the blood lost in the fight for freedom.[2] The official currency of Eritrea's Nakfa coins issued in 1991 featured six native animals and on the reverse the coins showed a group of Eritrean People's Liberation Front's fighters raising the national flag and the slogan "Liberty, Equality and Justice" in English language.[8]

Historical flags[edit]


  1. ^ "National Flag of Eritrea". Worldflags. Retrieved 17 September 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Flag of Eritrea". Encyclopedia Brittanica. Retrieved 17 September 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c James Minahan (2013). Miniature Empires: A Historical Dictionary of the Newly Independent States. Routledge. p. 80. ISBN 978-1-135-94010-2. 
  4. ^ Niaz Murtaza (1998). The Pillage of Sustainablility in Eritrea, 1600s-1990s: Rural Communities and the Creeping Shadows of Hegemony. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 73. ISBN 978-0-313-30633-4. 
  5. ^ Connell & Killion 2010, p. 258.
  6. ^ The Diagram Group, (2013). Encyclopedia of African Peoples. Routledge. p. 234. ISBN 978-1-135-96334-7. 
  7. ^ Central Intelligence Agency (2011). The CIA World Factbook 2012. Skyhorse Publishing Inc. p. 1013. ISBN 978-1-61608-332-8. 
  8. ^ Connell & Killion 2010, p. 389.

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