The flag of Tunisia is characterized by its bright red background. At the center of the flag is a white circle, which holds a red crescent moon and a red 5-pointed star. The width to height ratio of this flag is 2 to 3, meaning it takes on a rectangular shape. The flag of Tunisia is believed to have been used since around 1831 (some sources claim 1835 as its first year of use, however). Tunisia gained its independence in 1956 and maintained the same flag. It was made legally official in the 1999 Constitution.
A single account explaining the symbolism of the flag of Tunisia does not exist. The red color is said to represent the light present in Muslim countries. Another representation, however, suggests that the red color stands for the blood lost when Turkish forces invaded the territory. The white color is believed to symbolize peace. Additionally, the symbols on the flag have a specific meaning. The white circle is thought to represent the sun, while the crescent moon and star are traditional symbols used to represent the Islamic religion.
Al-Husayn II ibn Mahmud designed the current flag of Tunisia while leader of the Husainid Dynasty. He called for a new flag design to represent the country after the Battle of Navarino, in October of 1827. During this battle, the navy ships of Tunisia were destroyed. This loss was attributed to the fact that all of the ships in the southern areas of the Mediterranean Sea used a similar-looking flag. He created the current design as a way to differentiate Tunisian ships from others in the same area.
Under control of the Ottoman Empire, Tunisia flew a different, yet similar, flag. This prior version, used during the 18th century, was also red and had a white crescent moon and white 5-pointed star at its center. When the Husainid Dynasty began, another flag was introduced to Tunisia. This flag, known as the flag of the Beys of Tunis, had 9 horizontal stripes. The center stripe was wider than the rest and green in color. The other 8 stripes were alternating colors of golden yellow and maroon. A two-pointed sword sat at the center of the green band and the other stripes were filled with multi-colored 6-pointed stars and circular designs.
This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018
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