Flag of Benin

Flag of Benin

The flag of Benin, like that of many other nations in Africa, came into use near the end of the 20th century when the nation gained its independence from colonial rule. The nation has had only two flags since it became independent, but those two flags are radically different from each other.

The national flag of Benin was adopted in 1959. It was changed upon the accession of the Marxist regime in 1975, but upon the latter's fall the old design was reintroduced on August 1, 1990. The colours are the traditional Pan-African colours : green symbolizes hope, yellow symbolizes wealth and red symbolizes courage.

  • Capital of Benin: Porto-Novo
  • Area of Benin: 110,620 sq. km
  • Languages used in Benin: French (official), Fon and Yoruba, tribal languages
  • Religions in Benin: Indigenous beliefs, Christian, Muslim

Colors and Symbolism of the Benin Flag

The Benin flag has two horizontal bands of yellow and red that stretch out from a vertical band of green along the hoist. The colors of the Benin flag come from the Pan-Africanist movement, which played a significant role in the nation's independence movement. The green section also represents the country's distinctive groves of palm trees, while the yellow band also represents the nation's savannas. The red band represents all of the people who have fought for the nation and the blood that they shed for its benefit.

History of the Flag of Benin

Benin was a French colony until the middle of the 20th century, and the French government had forbidden it from having a flag of its own. France hoped to discourage nationalist sentiments from forming within the colony's population by preventing them from having a national symbol around which to rally. The French flag was used to represent Benin and its people during the majority of the colony period as an alternative to a native flag of Benin.

The decolonization movement in Africa eventually forced France to loosen the restrictions that it placed on Benin, and they allowed it to have a flag of its own and increased autonomy during December 1958. The government of Benin selected a design a little less than a year after the law changed. 

Benin's new flag was the same as the modern design, and it retained it when it gained full independence from France approximately one year after the flag was first adopted. A communist government took power in 1972, and it replaced the flag with a new design in 1975. The new flag displayed a red star in the canton of a green field. It fell out of use as soon as the communist government left power in 1990, and the old flag was adopted once again shortly thereafter. It has been used without any changes ever since that time.

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