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The color and meaning of Ethiopian flag

18 Comments · Politics


The colours of African unity – red, green, yellow – are seen on one of the oldest African flags.

These colours were used for the national flag of Ethiopia in 1897; a year after Ethiopia determinedly defended itself from colonial Italy at the Battle of Adwa.

The flag’s tri-colour scheme was there since the early 19th c. and was formerly the official banner of the Ethiopian Empire’s Solomonic dynasty.


The royal flag often featured the symbol of a Lion of Judah, a crowned lion carrying a cross centred in the banner’s yellow mid-section.

 The flag is understood to be a link between:
• the Ethiopian church
• the peoples, and
• the nation were united in the one flag

Whilst red is currently featured at the bottom of the horizontal tricolour this was reversed in the mid 19th century and the emblem was added in 1996.

What the colours symbolise varies depending on point of view. Generally speaking:

• red represents power or African blood spilled in defence of the land
• yellow for peace and harmony between Ethiopia’s various ethnic and religious groups
• green is almost always said to symbolize the land and its fertility

Other African nations, upon their independence from their colonial rulers so often adopted these three colours that they are known as the Pan-African colours.

Earlier to 1996, and to some extent even today, the ‘plain’ flag was commonly seen across the nation and the world.

Formerly, especially during the Derg regime, a number of different emblems were experimented with.

Nevertheless, the basic colour schematic has remained constant. Even the oppressive Derg did not dare to tamper with the colours’ layout. However simply it detached and changed the imperial emblem after Haile Selassie’s overthrow.

An alternative coat of arms featuring a five pointed star and rays over a cogwheel bounded by a wreath of leaves is now the featured emblem.

The star, which is a pentagram, is yellow on a blue disc, which lays on top of the green and red stripes.

The star confirms to Ethiopia’s bright future and possibly echoes the connection with the House of King Solomon, while the yellow rays which it emits are equidistant and are said to represent the equality of all Ethiopians regardless of race, creed, or gender.

Keywords: Ethiopia, flag, Battle of Adwa, Solomonic dynasty,


18 Comments so far ↓

  • freank

    this is so cool the website teaches me so much

  • urmum

    On the first day God created the Hillbillies

    On the second day God created the anmals so the hillbillies could eat

    On the third day God created the shotgun so the hillbillies could kill the anmals

    On the fourth day God created the dunny so the hillbillies could do little poopies in private

    On the fifth day God created the dictionary so the hillbillies could spell hillbillies

    On the sixth day God taught the hillbillies how to make more hillbillies

    On the seventh day he lounged about with a woman in heaven and guess what happened……………..Jesus appeared

  • kalonie

    wats up ethieopiens

  • Katlin

    what is the gold and the blue mean?

  • Mawich

    The current Government shouldn’t change the colour the flag

  • King Solomon

    This shows you Ethiopia never has access to sea or ocean. It is a land lock nation and need to accept that like any other nation and leave in peace with nieghbor.

  • courteney

    Why are there 2 kinds of flags? Is the flag with the star more commonly used for ethiopia?

  • courteney

    Was the flag with the lion used when ethiopia had kings, or did they just recently changed the flag???

  • Yegojamwork

    The three colors of Ethiopian flag remain still the whole mark of every citizen of Ethiopia .

  • Ethio_Gurl ;]]

    Wuz up my fellow Ethiopians :]]

  • oshin

    Hold this meddi (mediation) Red gold and green we all know Ethiopians Africans should already know that the real and true images the foundation the meaning of the truth is here in Ethiopia, It really could again stand for the true world the foundation for all things, the Lion protected you where is it gone the strength the power now.
    Time the boarders are removed . . .
    Africa has everything from Food, Gold, Silver, Copper, metals of all kinds, Diamonds, gems of all kinds, Oil, Rubber, Wood, minerals to make micro chips and the things that make the deadly deterrents. We have a rich educated Scientific body of people who just need to bump heads for Humanity Hu meaning BLACK . . . Think about it the white and yellow man the outside world needs us to function to live, who are they living off, tugging and twisting your balls and fucks you up the ass while we die and are killing each other. Its time to recognize reorganize (recocile my brother my sister our true leaders). Cut the strings, tear up the papers that say’s we own them. Time to draw up the African plan with our laws our African one currency one bank we are independent we have everything already . . . Close the gate and become one. China closed their gates and now look at them as a world power, but still 8% of their oil is sucked out from Sudan. Where is the Lion now ? on the English coin . . . think have a free thinking mind and mind! Bless Ethiopians the africans bless each other then bless your self . . . We have our own kings and Queens who can govern rule regulate influence the action . . . take ACTION
    p.s Obama is bad news get ready do the research make time for your self

  • Fresenay

    We do not accept the Fascist Weyane Stlinism(Star) Sign on our precious, Lovely Flag.
    Ethiopian ancient Hero’s had given to us to keep up our UNITY & FREEDOM.
    Fascist Weyane has been created so many tribal Flags arround all Ethiopian Procinces. The most Fascist Weyane Authorities grand Fathers were the Italian Banada Soldiers following the Mussolini footstepes spliting the Ethiopian unity, killing the innocent Ethiopian in secret conditions….
    The Fascist weyane brutality was established in the DEDEBIT region in pretending Tigray Liberation Front.
    Truth Ethiopian never ever accept their brutal Rules and Regulation, The most Ethiopian are aware and aleret to demolish the Weyane proposals. We are feeling a huge responsibility to teach the new confused generation.

  • billy levi

    You mentioned in your article that the star in the flag “…The star confirms to Ethiopia’s bright future and possibly echoes the connection with the House of King Solomon….” well, that doesnt make sense because the star of David is 6 pointed. The star in the flag is 5 pointed. I would be very interested to know if anybody knows what the actual significance of the star is.

  • Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity – Unity in Diversity

    [...] a staff. Today, twenty-five years after the last emperor was dethroned, the flag consists of green, gold, and red horizontal stripes with a five-pointed star and rays from its points in the foreground over a light [...]

  • moi

    Ethiopians rock!!!!

  • Hello

    I somewhat agree with oshin that deriving minerals from Africa needs to stop, but closing borders isn’t the best idea. Also negative actions never solves anything, if that’s what he was promoting. Regardless, all in all good will conquer evil.

  • yohannes

    whats up ethiopia im very proud of being ethiopian i love u ethiopian habeshat

  • yohannes

    we are habesha if you want a problem just let us know we will shoot you in the ass just like how we did to itlian people sorry if i made some spelling wrong it is my second language laters bro

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