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Algeria is the largest country in Africa and is located in the northern part of the continent, bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The country has an area of about 919,000 square miles and a population of roughly 40 million people according to the 2016 census. The Algerian flag is made up of two vertical bars that are equal in size, a green bar on the left and a white bar on the right, as well a red crescent surrounding a red star in the center. The flag was officially adopted in 1962 after Algeria gained independence from France.
History of the Flag of Algeria
The Algerian flag dates back to the 11th century during the era of the Berber dynasties. Each dynasty had a flag that influenced the successive generations, and the Zayyanid Dynasty had a blue flag with a white crescent. By the time the Ottoman Empire conquered Algeria in 1525, the flag had changed to red with a yellow crescent in the middle. While under Ottoman rule, Algeria unified and remained united until 1830, when the French invaded and upstaged the Ottomans and introduced their blue, white, and red flag as the official flag of the Algerian territory. When the struggle for independence reached its peak, the exiled government of Algeria adopted a green and white flag, but the white band was larger, and covered 75% of the flag rather than 50%.This design was inspired by the flag used by Emir Abdel Kadir during the 1920s to represent those who opposed French rule. This version of the flag was used until 1962, when Algeria became an independent state and adopted the current flag.
Design and Significance of the Flag of Algeria
The green color on the flag symbolizes Islam, which is the dominant religion in the region. Green is also said to have been the favorite color of the prophet Muhammad and his daughter Fatima, and is the color of paradise in the Quran. The red color symbolizes freedom and the blood that was shed to attain liberty at the hands of the French in the struggle for independence. The white color represents the peace that was attained after independence. The crescent and the star are the standard Islamic symbols that are feature in almost every flag of Islamic nations.
The Emblem of Algeria
The emblem of Algeria is equivalent to the coat of arms in other countries and was adopted in 1976. The emblem features a sun rising from the Atlas Mountains, buildings, oak leaves, olive branches, and a ballot box. The mountains are shaped in the hand of Fatima to signify protection. The plants represent the agricultural side of Algeria, while the buildings symbolize the nation’s industry and economy. The emblem also features an Arabic inscription that says “The People’s Republic of Algeria.”
Uses of the Flag
National identity and pride rank highly when it comes to the use of the flag in Algeria. Having fought the French to gain freedom, the flag is a reminder of the resilience that the Algerian people possess in the face of oppression. The flag is also emblazoned across the uniforms of military and police.