World Facts

What Do the Colors and Symbols of the Flag of Cambodia Mean?

The national flag of Cambodia was adopted in 1948.

The flag of Cambodia is one of the country’s national emblems. Also known as the “Khmer,” Cambodia’s national flag was first used between 1948 and 1970, and later reintroduced in 1993. The reintroduction of the flag coincided with the reinstitution of monarchy in Cambodia and the election of the nation’s Constituent Assembly in 1993.

History of the Flag of Cambodia

Cambodia has adopted a total of 10 different flags over the course of its history since the mid-19th century. The current flag was first adopted in 1948 when Cambodia was still a French protectorate, and was retained after the country gained self-rule from France in 1953. However, the flag was replaced in 1970 after the establishment of the Khmer Republic. Since then, the country adopted six other national flags, including the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) flag, used between 1992 and 1993, until the “Khmer” was reintroduced in 1993, when the country reverted to a monarchy.

Description of the Flag of Cambodia

The flag of Cambodia is designed on a horizontal rectangular shape whose officially recognized length-width ratio is 25:16. The flag features a horizontal tri-band made up of two colors: red and blue. There are two blue bands, one at the top and another at the bottom, with a red band in the middle that is twice as thick as the blue bands. A white depiction of the Angor Wat temple is centered on the red band.

A previous design of the flag came in the form of a vertical rectangle. The design featured a tri-band of red and blue stripes, which ran vertically. In this design, the two blue bands are located on the flag’s hoist and fly side, while the red double-width band runs in the middle. The Angkor Wat temple was centered on the middle red band.

Colors and Symbols

The meaning behind the colors and symbols of Cambodia's flag are all inspired by the country's cultural beliefs. Red is said to represent the bravery of the Cambodian nation. The color also represents for the dominant religion in the country, which is Buddhism. White also represents the country’s religious beliefs and the virtue of purity. The blue color is said to represent a sense of brotherhood, cooperation, and unity among the Cambodian people. Blue can also represent the royalty of the country’s monarchy. Red and blue were essential colors during the era of Cambodia’s Khmer Empire. The temple on the flag’s center represents the Angkor Wat, a 12th century temple of great spiritual and cultural importance among Cambodians.

Other Flags

Another flag officially recognized and used in Cambodia is the Royal Standard. The Royal Standard is the official flag of the country’s monarch and is recognized as a national symbol in Cambodia. The royal flag is made up of the royal arms symbol centered on a blue field. The blue color represents the royalty of the monarchy.

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