World Facts

What Do The Colors And Symbols Of The Flag Of Cameroon Mean?

The flag of Cameroon was adopted on May 20, 1975.

Cameroon adopted its official flag in May 1975 after establishing a unitary government which replaced the federal government that had been in existence since 1961. The flag is comprised of a vertical tricolor made up of green, red, and yellow bands, and a yellow star at the center. The design mirrors that of many African flags and was inspired by the Pan-African colors.

History Of The Flag Of Cameroon

The country was originally a German colony and had a horizontal tricolor flag featuring black, white, and red bands. Centered on the white band was a red shield bearing the resemblance of an elephant’s head. However, Germany would lose its claim to the colony after the First World War as was provided for by the Treaty of Versailles. France and Great Britain, the two European powers which took Cameroon from Germany, divided the country into two mandates: French Cameroon and British Cameroons. In 1957, French Cameroon adopted a vertical tricolor flag, inspired by France’s own “Tricolor” and was comprised of green, red, and yellow bands and retained the design after gaining independence from France in January, 1960. In 1961, the Federal Republic of Cameroon was established and adopted a new flag featuring the original tricolor of French Cameroon and two gold stars on the green band’s canton. The current flag was adopted in 1975 after the federal government was replaced by a unitary government, with the only edition being that the two stars were replaced by a single yellow star centered on the red band.

Description Of The Flag Of Cameroon

The design of the flag is recognized by law, with both the colors and proportions being stipulated in the Constitution. The de jure dimensions of the flag are 2:3 for the width and length respectively. The flag is made up of three vertical bands of green, red, and yellow (from the hoist to the fly). Centered on the middle red band is a yellow five-pointed star. The exact size of the yellow star is not provided by law and therefore appears in varying sizes.

Symbolism Of The Flag Of Cameroon

The design of the flag was inspired by the colors of the Pan-Africanism movement of the early 20th century. In fact, Cameroon was the second country in Africa to have its official flag feature the Pan-African colors. The tricolor design is also believed to have been inspired by that of its former colonial master, France. Green represents the lush vegetation in the country, particularly the forests that cover the southern part of Cameroon. Green is also said to represent hope. The middle red band symbolizes independence and unity of the country. Yellow represents the sun but also symbolizes the savannahs that cover the northern part of the nation. The yellow star and its positioning at the center of the flag represent the unification of the country and its unitary government. Prior to the flag’s adoption in 1975, the previously used flag featured two gold stars to represent British Cameroons and French Cameroon which had merged to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon.

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