The Indonesian flag consists of two equally-sized horizontal bands of red (top) and white. The flag is almost identical to that of Monaco except for the dimensions of red and white. This design was made the official flag of the country on 17 August 1945 after Indonesia declared independence from the Netherlands in the aftermath of World War II. First hoisted in Pengangsaan Timur street, Jakarta, the design has remained unchanged. The flag was once again hoisted in downtown Jakarta during 1950 as the Dutch made a formal transfer of administrative power to the newly independent country.
The colors of the flag have a history that traces back as far as the 13th Century, to the time of the Majapahit Empire with red symbolizing courage and white a symbol of the soul. Some historians suggest that the red and white can be traced back even further to the ancient Austronesian mythologies that use red to represent Mother Earth and white to represent Father Sky. This belief is somewhat confirmed due to the presence of red and white in flags from Madagascar to Tahiti. In the early 20th Century, these colors were revived by independence advocates and they remain an important symbol for many in the country to this day.
The original design of the red and white configuration is unknown due to the conflicting, and ancient, facts surrounding the first use of them. According to the 1945 Constitution of Indonesia, the flag is called the "Sang Saka Merah-Putih" (meaning lofty bi-colour red and white). Traditionally, many Indonesians have used red and white as ceremonial colors for cultural activities.
The flag of the Islamic State of Indonesia was flown in many regions from 1949-1962. This was the banner of a group that worked to create an independent Islamic state of Indonesia. The flag is very similar to the current flag but contains a crescent moon and star in the centre. Due to the sheer size of Indonesia, there are numerous flags for each region and province, some of which have remained unchanged for centuries.
This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018
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