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

By Oishimaya Sen Nag on August 13 2018 in World Facts

The current national flag of Mali was adopted on March 1, 1961.

Mali is a West African landlocked nation that has an area of more than 1,240,000 square km. The territory that is now Mali was previously part of three African empires: the Mali Empire, Ghana Empire, and the Songhai Empire.

Brief History of Mali

In the 1300s, the Empire of Mali spread across an area twice the size of modern-day France. Art, literature, and sciences also thrived in Mali at this time. With the arrival and growing influence of Europeans in Africa, many African empires lost control of the region's economy. In the 19th century, Mali was seized by France and became part of French Sudan or the Sudanese Republic. In 1959, the Sudanese Republic incorporated Senegal, and then declared independence as the Mali Federation in 1960. However, this federation was short-lived and Senegal quickly left the federation. The Sundanese Republic declared itself as the Republic of Mali. After nearly three decades as a one-party state, the country became a democratic state with a multi-party system following a coup in 1991. A new constitution was also written at this time.

History of Mali's Flag

The current national flag of Mali was adopted on March 1, 1961. However, Mali's first flag was adopted in 1959, when Mali joined the Mali Federation. The original flag was similar to the current flag but featured a human stick figure on the middle stripe. The figure was black in color and had its arms raised towards the sky. Following opposition by Muslim fundamentalists, the figure was removed from the flag.


The national flag of Mali has a simple design. It is a tricolor featuring vertical stripes equal in size: green(left/hoist side), gold (middle), and red (right). These colors are the Pan-African colors. Mali’s flag is nearly identical to Guinea’s flag, however the colors are arranged in the reverse order.


The green color in the flag of Mali symbolizes the fertility of land. The gold color represents the country's mineral wealth, as well as purity. The red color is a reminder of the blood that was shed to gain independence from the French rule.

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