Western Sahara is a territory in northern Africa, the ownership of which is currently under dispute between Morocco and Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic was declared in February of 1976 and is recognized by some countries around the world. Its flag was officially adopted on the same day that Western Sahara was declared independent. This design is a black, white, and green horizontal tricolor with a red triangle along the left side. A red crescent moon and 5-pointed star are situated at the center of the white colored band. Because of the territorial dispute, however, Morocco refuses to recognize this flag and instead uses its national flag to represent the region.
The colors of the flag of Western Sahara reflect the colors of the Pan-Arab movement, which is a political ideology that promotes unity of Arab nations. Each of these colors represents a historic flag in Arab history. Red, for example, was the color used to represent the Ottoman Empire. The original flag of Muhammad was black and green was used on the flag of the Fatimid Caliphate. Additionally, the Umayyad Caliphate was represented by the color white. The star and crescent moon symbol are often used to stand for the Islamic religion.
The flag design was based on the flag flown during the Arab Revolt, which has a different order of colors (from top to bottom: black, green, and white). It was chosen by the Polisario Front, the rebel freedom group that first declared Western Sahara as an independent country. This group is widely recognized as the political representative of the Sahrawi indigenous group, who are native to the region.
Western Sahara has a long history of being under Spanish colonial control. Throughout the years, this colonial power utilized a number of flags to represent this region, previously known as Spanish Sahara. All of these were the flag of Spain that corresponded to the period of time it was used in Spain. The majority of the Spanish flags were made up of 3 horizontal stripes, characterized by golden yellow and red colors.
This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018
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