Senegal is a West African country that derives its name from the Senegal River bordering the country to the north and east. Senegal is bordered by neighbouring African countries including Mauritania, Mali, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and The Gambia. It also shares a maritime border with the island nation of Cape Verde. Senegal is the westernmost mainland African country and covers about 197,000 square kilometres (76,000 sq mi).
Brief History of Senegal
Since prehistory, the area that is now Senegal was inhabited by people of various ethnic origins. Around the 7th century, kingdoms started emerging in the region. At about the middle of the 15th century, Europeans started arriving in Senegal. Several European powers competed with each other to gain control of the lucrative trade in the region. Trading posts were set up by the Europeans along the coast of Senegal. In the 19th century, France colonized the entire region. The colonial rule in the country ended in 1960 when a modern, independent nation of Senegal was established.
History of the Flag of Senegal
During the rule of the French in Senegal, the French authorities forbade the use of a flag in the country. They were worried that a unique flag would encourage nationalistic sentiments among the natives. In 1959, the Mali Federation was formed where French Soudan and Senegal were unified to create a self-governing republic under French rule. A new flag was then adopted to represent the republic. It was a tricolor of green-yellow-red featuring a stylized human figure in the yellow band. On June 20, 1960, the federation achieved independence from French rule. Two months later, French Soudan and Senegal separated and on August 20 of that year, Senegal emerged as a fully independent nation. The flag of Senegal was similar to the of the federation but only had a green star in place of the stylized human figure.
Design of Senegal’s Flag
The flag of Senegal is a tricolor. It has three equal-sized vertical bands of green, yellow, and red in order from the hoist-side to the fly-side. At the center of the yellow band, there is a green star with five points.
Meaning of the Colors and Symbols of the Flag
Every color used in the flag of Senegal has a symbolic meaning. The green flag is believed to be religiously significant. Nearly 94% of the population of Senegal profess Islam and green is regarded as the color of the Prophet. Green also has symbolic meaning in Christianity and Animism, both of which have a small but significant following in the country. The yellow color of the flag is believed to symbolize wealth or it can also be treated as the color of the intellect, arts, and literature. The red color in Senegal’s flag represents the sacrifice and the color of life. It signifies the strong determination of the Senegalese to overcome all obstacles and prosper. The colors of the flag are also regarded as the Pan-African colors. The colors also represent the three political parties that merged to form the Senegalese Progressist Union.