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Cameroon Flag

The national flag of Cameroon was adopted in its present form on 20 May 1975 after Cameroon became a unitary state. It is a vertical tricolor of green, red and yellow, defaced with a five-pointed star in its center. There is a wide variation in the size of the central star, although it is always contained within the inside stripe.

The color scheme uses the traditional Pan-African colors (Cameroon becoming the second state to do so), and the tricolor design is adapted from the flag of France. The center stripe is thought to stand for unity: red is the colour of unity, and the star is referred to as "the star of unity". The yellow stands for the sun, and also the savannas in the northern part of the country, while the green is for the forests in the southern part of Cameroon. The previous flag of Cameroon (1961-1975) had a similar color scheme, but with two gold (darker than the third stripe by comparison) stars in the upper half of the green. It was adopted following British South Cameroon's joining of the State of Cameroon. The original flag, first made law by Law 46 of 26 October 1957, was the simple tricolor. It was confirmed on 21 February 1960 in the new constitution.

Flag of Cameroon - History and Meaning

Flag of Cameroon. Hope, Independence & Unity. The flag of Cameroon reflects the fact that Cameroon, (or Cameroun) was the second African country to change their flag colors to the modern pan-African colors. The placement of the colors is reminiscent of the French tricolor flag that once flew over their country. It is also similar to the Ethiopian flag, which had these same three colors, green, red, and yellow in a horizontal banners and dated back to 1897. The flag was designed with three equal-sized vertical banners of green, red, and yellow. Green is on the hoist side of the flag. A five pointed yellow star sits in the middle of the red banner. The flag of Cameroon size is approximately a ratio size of 2:3. Northern Cameroon adopted this flag design while still under French colonial rule in 1957. This flag became the national flag of Cameroon in May 1975 and what had been French Cameroon became the Republic of Cameroon.

Colors on the flag of Cameroon
The green represents hope for the future and the rich vegetation especially the Southern forests. The yellow is for the soil and can represent the great savannas of the far north part of the country. Yellow is also for the sun as the source for the nation’s happiness. Red is the symbol of independence and unity. The star is also said to be the star of unity for the country is comprised of British and French territories.

Cameroon’s Air Force has two symbols of the flag. One is a circle or roundel looking much like a bull’s eye except for the colors. It has a circle of green in the middle of the roundel, which is surrounded by a red border. Then a green outer border surrounds the red border. Both borders are of the same width. Other Air Force planes have a square symbol that looks much like the flag with vertical banners of green, red, and yellow but does not have a star in the center.

History of the Flag of Cameroon

Portuguese arrive in port
The Portuguese arrived on the coast of Cameroon sometime before 1472. It is said the sailors were yelling “Camaroes” on the beach because they were amazed at the giant shrimp in the area.
As a result, this soon evolved into Cameroon and the name of the country. The southern ports of Cameroon were involved in the slave trade for over 400 years. Northern Cameroon was a constant battleground for the Kanem-Bornu in Chad. The north was also under the control of the Fulani Empire in Sokato, in what is now part of Nigeria.

Germans arrive

In the late 19th century, the Germans arrived. In 1850, the Douala chief suggested his country become a protectorate of Great Britain. The British were slow to act on this. In 1864 Germany who was actively building their empire in Africa managed to present and come to an agreement five days ahead of the British. The German tricolor was now the official flag of Cameroon. It had three equal sized horizontal banners. The top banner was black, the middle banner was white, and the lower banner was red. In the center of the white banner was an uncrowned imperial eagle.

After WWI came the French
After World War I, the League of Nations gave a mandate of over 80% of the country to the French. The French brought with them the French language to Cameroon so that today you can learn French and practise your French in this country.

… and the Brits…

The British had the southwestern highlands, which were called Southern Cameroons and one in the north, which was called Northern Cameroons. The Northern Cameroons are now part of Nigeria. The country was divided into three parcels under two colonial powers and two flags. The French tricolor flag of red, white, and blue flew over part of the country for many of these years. The British flag, which is called the Union Jack or Union Flag, is the national flag of the United Kingdom. It has a blue field with the red cross of Saint George who is the patron saint of England. It is edged in white superimposed on the diagonal red cross of Saint Patrick who is the patron saint of Ireland. Both crosses are superimposed on the diagonal white cross of Saint Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland. These designs and colors have been the basis for a number of other flags. The British concentrated their efforts on the portion of Nigeria and within a few years sold their other Cameroon holding back to the Germans.

Independence from the French
However, after World War II soon changed the flags again. After World War II, French Cameroon pressed for its independence. They finally achieved independence in 1960, using the flag of Northern Cameroon as the flag of Cameroon until later changing it. The current flag of Cameroon was adopted in 1975.