World Facts

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

Uganda's national flag was adopted on October 9, 1962.

Uganda is a landlocked country located in East Africa and borders Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Tanzania. The country was formerly administered by the Imperial British East Africa Company (IBEAC), which was a commercial enterprise developed to stimulate trade in parts of Africa that were controlled by British colonial powers. In 1893, the IBEAC transferred its administration rights of the region, which primarily included the Buganda Kingdom, to the British government. In 1894, the Uganda Protectorate was created, which was composed of land that makes up present day Uganda. The protectorate adopted a flag in 1914, which it used until 1962. Upon gaining independence from Britain in 1962, Uganda adopted a new national flag.

Description

Uganda’s flag was officially adopted when the country gained independence from Britain in 1962. The flag was designed by Grace Ibingira, has a height to width ration of of 2:3, and features six horizontal stripes of equal width. The colored stripes of the flag are, from bottom to top, red, yellow, black, red, yellow, and black. The flag also includes a white disc in the middle featuring a grey-crowned crane, which is a national symbol of Uganda, and faces the hoist side of the flag.

Symbolism

The black color in Uganda’s flag stands for the nation's people, while the yellow represents the sunshine in Africa. The red symbolizes brotherhood, and is also the color of blood that connects all Africans. The grey-crowned crane, known for its gentleness, is a national symbol and was used as a military badge during the colonial period. The raised leg of the bird symbolizes the country moving forward.

History of the Flag of Uganda

In 1914 the Ugandan Protectorate adopted a flag, which featured a British Blue ensign defaced with the union jack on the canton side of the flag. It also included a disc that superimposed a grey-crowned crane. The flag was used until March 1962, when a national flag was adopted upon country's independence from Britain. The first proposed flag had thicker green and blue vertical stripes separated by narrow yellow stripes. A silhouette of a yellow crane facing the hoist side of the flag was included in the center. On April 25, 1962, the Democratic Party lost an election to the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC), and the party rejected the flag and instead proposed Uganda's current flag, which was based on the UPC’s flag of red, yellow, and black horizontal stripes.

Other Flags of Uganda

During the colonial era, the governor also had a flag, which was similar to the flag of United Kingdom but also included a circular disc in the center with a grey-crowned crane. The flag was used from 1913 until March 1962, when the country gained independence. Currently, Uganda also has a presidential flag, which is a red field with the nation's coat of arms at the center, as well as thin horizontal stripes at the bottom that replicate the colors of the national flag.

Coat of Arms

Uganda adopted a coat of arms few weeks before the country was declared an independent state through the Ugandan Legislative council. Walter Coutts, who was the Governor of Uganda, approved the coat of arms on October 1, 1962, and it was formally established by law on October 9, 1962. The coat of arms features a spear and a shield, which represent the ability and willingness of Ugandans to defend their country. At the top of the shield are waves, which represent Lake Victoria and Lake Albert, while the sun at the center represents brilliant days of sunshine enjoyed in Uganda. The traditional drum at the bottom of the shield symbolizes the summoning and dancing of the Ugandan people in ceremonies and meetings.

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