Gabonese Republic
Flag of Gabon
Proportion3:4
Adopted9 August 1960; 63 years ago (1960-08-09)
DesignA horizontal triband of green, gold and blue
Standard of the president of Gabon
Proportion3:4
Adopted2016
Protestors with Gabonese flags

The flag of Gabon (French: drapeau du Gabon) is a tricolour consisting of three horizontal green, yellow and blue bands. Adopted in 1960 to replace the previous colonial flag containing the French Tricolour at the canton, it has been the flag of the Gabonese Republic since the country gained independence that year. The design of the present flag entailed the removal the Tricolour and the widening of the yellow stripe at the centre.

History

The French gained control of modern-day Gabon in 1839, when a local chief surrendered the sovereignty of his land to them.[1] The Berlin Conference of 1885 solidified France's claim to the territory through diplomatic recognition,[2] and it later became part of French Equatorial Africa in 1910.[1] Under French colonial rule over Gabon, the authorities forbade the colony from utilizing its own distinctive colonial flag. This was because they were worried that this could increase nationalistic sentiment and lead to calls for independence.[3] However, with the rise of the decolonization movement in Africa, the French were obliged to grant limited autonomy to Gabon as a self-governing republic within the French Community. This was granted in 1958 after a referendum was held supporting the proposal.[1]

Gabon – considered "one of the more progressive" of French colonies[3] – swiftly formulated a design for a new flag,[3] which was officially adopted a year later in 1959.[4] It featured a horizontal tricolour identical to the current flag,[4] but with the yellow stripe at the centre narrower than the green and blue bands surrounding it. The French Tricolour was situated at the canton of the flag, making Gabon the only French autonomous republic to feature this "symbolic link" with France.[3][5]

On 9 August 1960 – just over a week before Gabon became an independent country on 17 August[6] – the flag was slightly modified. The change entailed removing the Tricolour at the canton and enlarging the yellow stripe at the centre, thus giving it equal width with the two other bands.[3]

Design

Symbolism

The colours and symbols of the flag carry cultural, political, and regional meanings. The yellow alludes to the Equator – which cuts across the country[3] – and also symbolizes the sun.[7] The green epitomizes the natural resources of Gabon,[4][7] as well as its "extensive forested area"[3] that the Gabonese people are economically dependent on in the form of lumber.[3][4] The blue represents the sea,[4][7] specifically the South Atlantic Ocean along which the country has an "extensive coast".[3] While Whitney Smith in the Encyclopædia Britannica and Dorling Kindersley's Complete Flags of the World describe the centre band as solely yellow,[3][4] The World Factbook characterizes it as both yellow and gold.[7]

Distinctiveness

The proportions of Gabon's flag are 3:4.[4] This uncommon flag ratio, which is enshrined by Gabonese law,[4] is shared by the flags of only three other countries – Democratic Republic of the Congo (some sources state that the proportions are 2:3), Papua New Guinea[8][9] and San Marino.[10][11] Furthermore, the country's flag does not utilize the green, yellow and red colours of the Pan-Africanist movement, in contrast to its neighbouring countries. Unlike other former French colonies in Africa, the flag consists of a horizontal tricolour, rather than a vertical one modelled after the flag of France.[3]

Presidential flags

Flag Duration Use Description
1960–1990 Presidential Standard of Gabon Banner of arms. Green field with three yellow circles forming the top third. The bottom two-thirds feature a yellow field, with a galleon flying the flag of Gabon at the stern sailing on the sea with three blue waves.
1990–2016 Horizontal green and blue bands separated by a yellow band at the centre, with the coat of arms in a white circle in the middle.
2016–present Coat of arms on a navy blue background with bands the same colours as the national flag in each corner, from the edge green, yellow, and blue

Naval flags

Flag Duration Use Description
Flag of the Gabonese Navy

Ethnic group flags

Flag Duration Use Description
Flag of the Kongo people

Provincial flags

Flag Province Description
Estuaire Estuaire Coat of Arms on a white field
Haut-Ogooué Haut-Ogooué Coat of Arms on a white field
Moyen-Ogooué Moyen-Ogooué Coat of Arms on a white field
Ngounié Ngounié Coat of Arms on a white field
Nyanga Nyanga Coat of Arms on a white field
Ogooué-Ivindo Ogooué-Ivindo Coat of Arms on a white field
Ogooué-Lolo Ogooué-Lolo Coat of Arms on a white field
Ogooué-Maritime Ogooué-Maritime Coat of Arms on a white field
Woleu-Ntem Woleu-Ntem Coat of Arms on a white field

Municipal flags

Flag Duration Use Description
Flag of Libreville Libreville Coat of Arms on a white field
Libreville Coat of Arms with a black text "Mairie de Libreville" on a white field

Historical flags

Flag Duration Use Description
1959–1960 Flag of Gabon Horizontal green and blue bands separated by thinner yellow band at the centre, with the French Tricolour at the canton.

References

  1. ^ a b c "Gabon profile". BBC News. BBC. 15 January 2014. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  2. ^ "History of Gabon". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Smith, Whitney (19 July 2013). "Flag of Gabon". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 3 September 2014. (subscription required)
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Kindersley Ltd., Dorling (6 January 2009). Complete Flags of the World. Penguin. p. 92. ISBN 9780756654863.
  5. ^ Brooke, James (23 February 1988). "Gabon Keeps Strong Links With France". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  6. ^ Weinstein, Brian (1 May 2014). "Gabon – French control". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 12 September 2014. (subscription required)
  7. ^ a b c d "Gabon". The World Factbook. CIA. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  8. ^ Smith, Whitney (July 28, 2013). "Flag of Papua New Guinea". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved September 3, 2014. (subscription required)
  9. ^ "PNG Flag and National Anthem". Embassy of Papua New Guinea to the Americas. Government of Papua New Guinea. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
  10. ^ Smith, Whitney (July 28, 2013). "Flag of San Marino". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved September 3, 2014. (subscription required)
  11. ^ Europa World Year. Taylor & Francis Group. 2004. p. 3633. ISBN 9781857432558.