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

The flag of Yemen was adopted on May 22, 1990.

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The flag of Yemen was adopted on May 22, 1990, upon the unification of North Yemen and South Yemen. The new flag was closely resembled the 1952 Arab Liberation Flag that was introduced after the 1952 Egyptian Revolution. Similarly, the Arab Liberation Flag served as inspiration for the design of the flags of North Yemen and South Yemen prior to unification. The Arab Liberation Flag also inspired the current national flags of Egypt, Syria, Sudan, and Iraq.

Flag Design

The current national flag of Yemen is a horizontal tricolor: red (top), white (middle), and black (bottom). This design is similar to an inverted version of flag of the German Empire. The flag has a height to length proportion of 2:3 and its symbolism is relatively straightforward.

Officially, the red color of the flag represents the unity of the nation and the blood that was shed by martyrs. White symbolizes the bright future of the nation and its people, while black signifies the nation's dark history. These three colors are known as the pan-Arab colors.

Historical Flags

Modern Yemen was established in 1990, and was previously divided as two separate nations: North Yemen and South Yemen. The two territories each had their own flag, although they were similar to the flag of Yemen. The flags of North Yemen and South Yemen both featured a tricolor of Pan-Arab colors, and each also included an unique symbol.

North Yemen was the first to attain independence in 1918, after years of rule under the Ottoman Empire. A religious leader was able to rally support of the people and proclaim their independence. The region then used the flag of the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen, which was a red field. The flag changed a couple of times until the Yemen Arab Republic flag was introduced in 1962 and used until 1990. The new flag was similar to Yemen’s current flag, but featured a green five-pointed star on the white middle band.

South Yemen gained independence from British rule in 1967 and established the People’s Republic of South Yemen, which later became the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen. The flag of the region also bore many similarities to Yemen’s flag. It featured the same tricolor in Pan-Arab colors, plus a sky-blue triangle bearing a red star on the hoist side of the flag, which was a symbol of the Yemeni Socialist Party.

When the two regions decided to merge, reaching a common ground for the new flag was relatively simple. Since the two flags were essentially the same, the two agreed to remove their distinguishing features and continue to use the Pan-Arab tricolor.

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