The official flag of Mauritania is made up of three colors. A red stripe runs across the top and bottom of the flag, leaving a green field in the middle. In the midst of the green field is a gold star on top of a horizontal crescent whose tips face upwards. These colors, red, green and gold are considered to be Pan-African colors although they have other meanings.
Colors and Meanings of the National Flag of Mauritania
The green color in this flag symbolizes Islam, which is the main religion of Mauritania, the gold color symbolizes the sands of Sahara desert, and the red stripes represent the efforts and sacrifices of Mauritanians to defend their territory, to the price of their blood.
The star and the crescent also symbolize Islam. Since there are two symbols for the country’s state religion, there have been speculations by some writers that the green field in the flag stands for a bright future and growth. The flag measures 2:3 although there lacks a construction sheet or any specification which can give exact relative measurements of the crescent and star. The crescent and a star are common in most countries like Comoros, Turkey, and Tunisia.
A sheet provided by Embassy of Mauritania in Tokyo, however, gives a 20/60/20 hoist for the red/green/red colors of the flag. It also shows that the gold star and crescent take 67% of the green field with the crescent horns tips ending where the star tips meet outwards. If the arms of the star were extended outwards, they would meet the tips of the crescent at a right angle.
Adoption of the Official Flag
Mauritania’s original flag was introduced on March 22, 1959, under the instructions of the then President Moktar Ould Daddah. It had only the green field with the golden crescent and the star. It was adopted on August 1, 1959. The flag is used as Mauritania’s national flag. Besides, it is used as a military aircraft national insignia in circular form.
The red stripes were added to the flag in 2017. This was after the referendum that was carried out on August 5, 2017, by President Mohamud Ould Abdel Aziz that sought to abolish the Senate, alter the national flag, and change some aspects of the constitution. The vote was successful, and changes were made before being adopted on August 15, 2017, with the red stripes being the only addition to the flag, a gesture of honor to the martyrs who shed their blood 57 years earlier when trying to get the country’s sovereignty from France.
Before the referendum, the president’s political opponents were campaigning against the changes, urging Mauritanians to boycott it saying it would be rigged by the government. The red stripes would honor the patriots who shed their blood during the country’s struggle for independence from their colonizers. Critics also were against the changing of the colors as it would be expensive, which is indeed true. When a country changes its flag, the government buildings, uniforms, business cards, IDs, and border signs need to be updated as well.
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