Flag of Liberia

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Republic of Liberia
Flag of Liberia.svg
UseNational flag and ensign
Proportion10:19
Adopted24 August 1847; 174 years ago (1847-08-24)
DesignEleven horizontal stripes alternating red and white; in the canton, a white star on a blue field
Star in Blue Box - Flag of Liberia.svg
Variant flag of Republic of Liberia
UseNaval jack

The flag of Liberia or the Liberian flag bears a close resemblance to the flag of the United States, representing Liberia's founding by former black slaves from the United States and the Caribbean.[1]

The Liberian flag has similar red and white stripes, as well as a blue square with a white star in the canton. It was adopted on 24 August 1847.[2]

History[edit]

The flag of Liberia was designed and hand-stitched by a committee of seven women. The chair of the committee was Susannah Elizabeth Lewis. The other members of the committee were Matilda Newport, Rachel Johnson, Mary Hunter, Mrs. J. B. Russwurm, Colonette Teage Ellis, and Sara Draper. All of the women were born in the United States, and many of them were wives of prominent men in Liberia.[3][4] Lewis was the daughter of former vice colonial agent Colston Waring, the sister of the first First Lady of the Republic, Jane Roberts, and wife of John N. Lewis, one of the signers of the Liberian Declaration of Independence.[5][6][7] The flag they designed was adopted on 24 August 1847, about a month after Liberia had declared independence on 26 July 1847.[3] The day the flag was adopted, the nation held a celebration in Monrovia. There, the flag was unfurled to the public for the first time, and Susannah Lewis gave a patriotic speech. The ceremony also featured speeches by a number of notable Liberian politicians and religious leaders, as well as entertainment in the form of band music.[8]

In the 1850s and 1860s, the Eusibia N. Roye became the first Liberian owned ship to display the flag in New York City and Liverpool ports. The vessel was owned by Edward James Roye.[9] In 1860, the Liberian flag was featured on the first known stamp to be issued by the Liberian government.[10] On 24 October 1915, President Daniel Edward Howard signed into law an act which proclaimed 24 August as Flag Day, a national holiday.[3]

On 22 July 1974, the Legislature of Liberia passed an act giving authorization to the president to establish a commission to give consideration to possible changes to a number of national symbols, including the flag and national anthem. The commission was headed by McKinley Alfred Deshield Sr. The commission sought to reexamine the symbols, and remove divisive aspects of them. President William Tolbert appointed 51 members to the Commission on National Unity. The commission was also called the Deshield Commission, after the man who headed it. The commission submitted their report on 24 January 1978. The report ultimately recommended no changes to the flag.[11]

The flag is seen on many ships around the world as Liberia offers registration under its flag. Shipping companies do this to avoid taxes and restrictions that other countries enforce. As the second most popular flag of convenience (after the flag of Panama), it is estimated that 1,700 foreign-owned ships fly the Liberian flag.[12] This brings in much of the country's revenue.[13]

Symbolism[edit]

The eleven stripes symbolize the signatories of the Liberian Declaration of Independence and the red and white symbolize courage and moral excellence. The white star represents the first independent republic in Africa, above the blue square representing the African continent. The Liberian flag is modeled after and resembles the United States flag because Liberia was founded, colonized, established, and controlled by free people of color and formerly enslaved black people from the United States and the Caribbean with the help and support of both the United States government and the American Colonization Society (ACS), a private organization dedicated to the removal of free people of color from across North America. Some time after the African Americans began arriving in Liberia in 1822, they came to be identified as "Americo-Liberians" in an effort to separate them from native groups and enslaved Africans rescued from illegal slaving ports and ships by the American navy.[13]

Other flags[edit]

County flags[edit]

Liberia is subdivided into 15 counties, each of which is entitled to its own flag. Each county flag bears the national flag of Liberia in the canton. The county flags are flown at regional offices and together encircling the national flag of Liberia at the Presidential Palace.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Background on conflict in Liberia". Archived from the original on 5 November 2007. Paul Cuffee advocated settling formerly enslaved African Americans in Africa. He gained support from free black leaders in the US, and members of Congress for an early emigration plan. From 1815 to 1816, he financed and captained a successful voyage to British-ruled Sierra Leone, where he helped a small group of African-American immigrants establish themselves. Cuffee believed that African-Americans could more easily "rise to be a people" in Africa than in the US, where slavery and legislated limits on black freedom were still in place. Although Cuffee died in 1817, his early efforts to help repatriate African-Americans encouraged some free blacks and the American Colonization Society (ACS) to lead further settlements. Some free blacks in the Upper South created independent institutions dedicated to the idea of repatriation to Africa. The ACS was made up mostly of Friends (often called Quakers) and slaveholders, who disagreed on the issue of slavery but found common ground in support of repatriation. Friends opposed slavery but believed blacks would face better chances for freedom in Africa than in the US. The White Americans slaveholders opposed freedom for blacks but saw repatriation as a way of avoiding rebellions
  2. ^ "Liberia Flag and Description".
  3. ^ a b c "Liberia: Flag Day Reflections - All Hail the Lone Star, All Hail!". AllAfrica. 27 August 2019. Retrieved 8 July 2021.
  4. ^ Burrowes, Carl Patrick (2004). Power and Press Freedom in Liberia, 1830-1970. p. 97.
  5. ^ Gates, Henry Louis and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham (2008). The African American National Biography: Moore, Lenny-Romain. pp. 620–621.
  6. ^ American Colonization Society (1873). The African repository and colonial journal 49. pp. 336–337.
  7. ^ Richardson, Nathaniel R. (1959). Liberia's Past and Present. p. 73.
  8. ^ Burrowes, Power and Press Freedom in Liberia, 1830-1970, pp. 59–60.
  9. ^ Dunn, Elwood D.; Beyan, Amos J.; Burrowes, Carl Patrick (2000). Historical Dictionary of Liberia. p. 127.
  10. ^ Dunn; Beyan; Burrowes; Historical Dictionary of Liberia, pp. 308.
  11. ^ Dunn; Beyan; Burrowes; Historical Dictionary of Liberia, pp. 107–109.
  12. ^ "Liberian shipping draws scrutiny". NBC News. 11 August 2003.
  13. ^ a b "Liberia Flag- Liberian Flags". World Flags 101. Archived from the original on 4 November 2018.

External links[edit]

Liberia at Flags of the World