World Facts

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

The national flag of Togo was adopted on April 28, 1960.

The Togolese Republic adopted its national flag on April 28, 1960. The flag of Togo features Ethiopia’s pan-African colors (red, gold, and green) and mirrors the Liberian flag, which closely resembles the national flag and ensign of the United States of America. Several countries that gained independence at roughly the same time of Togo’s self-rule selected the pan-African colors (red, gold, and green; or red, black, and green) for their flags. Togo's flag was designed by Paul Ahyi, one of Africa’s most celebrated artists of his time, in a contest to select the national emblem for the newly independent nation. The flag also serves as the country’s ensign and naval jack

Description of the Flag

The flag is rectangular in shape and features five horizontal stripes of equal thickness, with a red field containing a white five-pointed star on the canton of the flag. The stripes alternate between green and yellow, starting and ending with green. The flag has a proportion of 1:1.618, and is one of the few national flags to have irregular dimensions, along with Nepal and Iran.

Symbolism of the Flag

The flag contains four colors; red, white, green, and yellow. White represents peace, wisdom, light, as well as purity. The five-pointed star symbolizes life and liberty. The red is a symbol of the blood shed by Togolese martyrs during the nation's fight for independence. The red canton also represents love, charity, and fidelity in Togo. The alternating colors represent the diversity of the Togolese people, and the five stripes stand for action and the determination of the nation to overcome its obstacles. Green represents agriculture, which a significant portion of the population depends on, as well as the country’s forests and nature. The green also represents hope for the future of the nation. Yellow symbolizes the country’s natural resources and labor development, as well as maturity and national unity.

Togo’s Historical Flags

When Togo was a protectorate of the German Empire between 1884 and 1914, there was a proposal for a flag that had three horizontal bands of black, white, and red, along with a shield in the middle bearing two cobras and a palm tree. In 1914, British and French forces invaded German Togoland, which led to the creation of British Togoland and French Togoland. The flag of French Togo was used between 1916 and 1960, when the country was a mandate of France, and the flag was designed as a green rectangle with two white five-pointed stars, as well as the French flag on the canton. Between 1958 and 1960, Togo used a flag similar to the one used during the French Togo era, but it lacked the French flag on the canton.

National Symbols of Togo

Along with the flag of Togo, the country has has other national symbols including its motto and coat of arms. The Togolese Republic adopted a coat of arms as its emblem on March 14, 1962, which featured two red lions grasping bows and arrows in a shield that bears the letters "RT" and the national motto. The motto reads “Travail, Liberte, Patrie” which translates to “Work, Liberty, Homeland.”

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