Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Cờ đỏ sao vàng ("red flag with a golden star")
Cờ Tổ quốc ("flag of the Fatherland")
UseCivil and state flag Small vexillological symbol or pictogram in black and white showing the different uses of the flag Small vexillological symbol or pictogram in black and white showing the different uses of the flag Reverse side is congruent with obverse side
Adopted23 November 1940; 83 years ago (1940-11-23) (Cochinchina uprising)
2 September 1945; 78 years ago (1945-09-02) (Democratic Republic of Vietnam)
1955; 69 years ago (1955) (current version)
1976; 48 years ago (1976) (reunified Socialist Republic of Vietnam)
DesignA large yellow star centered on a red field.
Designed byNguyễn Hữu Tiến (disputed)
Flag of the People's Army of Vietnam
UseWar flag Small vexillological symbol or pictogram in black and white showing the different uses of the flag Small vexillological symbol or pictogram in black and white showing the different uses of the flag Reverse side is congruent with obverse side
DesignA golden star centered on a red field, and yellow words Quyết thắng (Determining to win) in the upper canton.
Designed byDesign is a variant of the flag of Vietnam
Flag of the Vietnam People's Public Security
UsePolice flag Small vexillological symbol or pictogram in black and white showing the different uses of the flag Small vexillological symbol or pictogram in black and white showing the different uses of the flag Reverse side is congruent with obverse side
DesignA golden star centered on a red field, and yellow motto Bảo vệ an ninh Tổ quốc (Protecting the security of the Fatherland) in the upper canton.
Designed byDesign is a variant of the flag of Vietnam
Ensign of the Vietnam People's Navy
UseNaval ensign Small vexillological symbol or pictogram in black and white showing the different uses of the flag Small vexillological symbol or pictogram in black and white showing the different uses of the flag
Adopted15 January 2014
DesignA white flag with an emblem referring the Vietnam People's Navy in the top with the red label Hải quân Việt Nam (Navy of Vietnam) and a blue strip below.
Designed byVietnam People's Navy, with the influence from the naval ensign of the Soviet Navy

The national flag of Vietnam, formally the National Flag of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Vietnamese: Quốc kỳ nước Cộng hoà xã hội chủ nghĩa Việt Nam),[1][2] locally recognized as cờ đỏ sao vàng (lit.'red flag with a golden star'[a]) or cờ Tổ quốc (lit.'flag of the Fatherland'), was designed in 1940 and used during an uprising against the French in southern Vietnam that year.[3] The red background symbolizes revolution and bloodshed. The golden star represents the five main classes in Vietnamese society—intellectuals, farmers, workers, entrepreneurs, and soldiers.[4]

The flag was used by the Viet Minh, a communist-led organization created in 1941 to oppose Japanese occupation. At the end of World War II, Viet Minh leader Ho Chi Minh proclaimed Vietnam independent and signed a decree on 5 September 1945 adopting the Viet Minh flag as the flag of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.[5] The DRV became the government of North Vietnam in 1954 following the Geneva Accords. The flag was modified on 30 November 1955 to make the points of the star straighter.[6] Until the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, South Vietnam used a yellow flag with three red stripes. The red flag of North Vietnam was later adopted as the flag of the unified Vietnam in 1976.[7] The flag of Vietnam is the only flag amongst ASEAN that does not contain the colour white, with red and yellow/gold being its historical national colours.[8]

Design and history

Vietnamese flag colours have often been various designs of red and bright yellow. According to Article 141 of the 1992 constitution: "The National Flag of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is rectangular in shape, its width is equal to two thirds of its length, in the middle of fresh red background is a bright five-pointed golden star".[9] The flag is blazoned: Gules, a mullet of five points or.

The flag first appeared in the Southern uprising (Nam Kỳ Khởi nghĩa) of 23 November 1940, against French rule in southern Vietnam.[10] A series of articles by Sơn Tùng on the origin of the flag were published in the state media in 1981.[11] Sơn Tùng stated that the flag was designed by Nguyễn Hữu Tiến, a leader of the uprising who was arrested by the French in advance of the failed uprising and executed 28 August 1941.[10] Tiến, who was born in the northern village of Lũng Xuyên, was unknown to the Vietnamese public before Tùng's research was published. According to a poem Tiến wrote, the red background came to represent the blood of the people, whilst the yellow foreground came to represent "the colour of our people’s skin" which was written during times of oppression from Japanese rule. The five points of the star represents intellectuals, peasants, workers, traders and soldiers.[12]

Yellow and red has long been common amongst Vietnamese flags. Yellow/Gold was a traditional color of Vietnam for more than 2,000 years. In April 2001, Vietnam's Ministry of Culture reported that there was no documentation to support the claim that Tiến designed the flag. In 2005, Lê Minh Đức, an official of Tiền Giang province, suggested that the flag was designed by another cadre, Lê Quang Sô, a native of Mỹ Tho Province in the Mekong delta. Đức's theory is based on statements by Sô's son as well as Sô's 1968 memoir. According to Đức, yellow was chosen to represent Vietnam while the red background was inspired by the flag of the Communist Party and represents revolution. Sô experimented with stars in various positions and sizes before choosing a large star in the center for aesthetic reasons. In April 1940, the flag was approved by Phan Văn Khỏe, the Communist party chief of Mỹ Tho. It was subsequently approved by the national party in July.[4] As of 2006, the state media has not commented on Đức's version of events.[13]

The flag was displayed at a conference on 19 May 1941, at which the Viet Minh was founded.[14] The Viet Minh proclaimed it a "national flag" on 17 August 1945, at a meeting held in the village of Tân Trào in the North.[15] When the Japanese surrendered at the end of World War II, the Viet Minh entered Hanoi and proclaimed the "Democratic Republic of Vietnam" on 2 September. On 5 September, DRV President Ho Chi Minh signed a decree adopting the Vietminh flag.[5] French troops returned in October and restored colonial rule in the South. The National Assembly voted unanimously to adopt the flag on 2 March 1946.[16] Following the Geneva Accord between Viet Minh and France in 1954, the DRV became the government of North Vietnam.

On 30 November 1955, the flag's design was modified slightly to make the star smaller and its rays straighter.[6] This followed a similar modification of the flag of the Soviet Union. The flag was adopted in the South after the end of the Vietnam war, and North and South were unified as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam on 2 July 1976.[7] The flag of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (the Viet Minh-controlled areas in Northern and Southern Vietnam and later just North Vietnam) from 1945 to 1955 was similar to the current flag of Vietnam but with the points of the star set at a more obtuse angle.[17]

Despite its historical connotations, nowadays, the red background (or red field) on the Vietnamese flag is commonly a symbol of bloodshed, struggle, and the success of revolution, inspired by communist symbolism. The yellow star centred on the red field symbolizes one of five classes of society—entrepreneurs, farmers, workers, intellectuals and soldiers representing each point of the star. The flag may also be flown with the flag of the Communist Party of Vietnam.

Colour scheme and design

This is a color approximation of the Vietnamese flag. The Vietnamese lawmakers never nominate the standardized color schemes, and flags with different color shades are physically and digitally displayed by both civilians and state media as long as they obey the "red background with a centered yellow star" symbolism.

Construction sheet of the flag. Even though the construction of the flag is formally and constitutionally standardized, copies that don't obey the above guidelines are still widely used. Those include the popular usage of the 1:2 flag proportion, as well as the bigger and inaccurately-centered star.
Red Yellow
Pantone 1788 Yellow
RGB 218/37/29 255/255/0
Hexadecimal #DA251D #FFFF00
CMYK 0/83/87/15 0/0/100/0

Historical flags

Main article: List of flags of Vietnam § Historical

Traditional images show the Trung sisters wearing yellow turbans during their revolt against North (China) in AD 40.[18] These were unwrapped and waved to signal the beginning of a fight.[19] A yellow banner with a red circle in the center was adopted as a standard by Emperor Gia Long (r. 1802–1820).[20] The French, who gradually gained control of Vietnam in the late 19th century, flew the national flag of France. The colony of Cochinchina (1862–1945) was under exclusive French authority. In contrast, Annam and Tonkin were protectorates with parallel systems of Vietnamese and French administration. Several flags were flown in these regions: the French flag, the protectorate flag, and Long tinh flag [vi].

Japan occupied Vietnam in 1941–1945. In March 1945, the Japanese deposed the French colonial authorities and proclaimed an Empire of Vietnam with Bảo Đại as emperor. The Quẻ Ly flag [vi], a red quẻ Ly (one of eight trigrams used in the I Ching[19][21]) on a yellow background, was adopted in June. Among other things, quẻ Ly ☲ symbolizes the direction south. Bảo Đại abdicated in August when Japan surrendered. The Democratic Republic of Vietnam, proclaimed on 2 September 1945, adopted the red flag with a golden star. The French returned in 23rd of the same month, but were challenged by the Vietminh, especially in the North. The French proclaimed Cochinchina an autonomous republic in June 1946. This puppet state adopted a flag with three blue stripes on a yellow background.

In 1947, the name of the Cochinchina government was changed to "Provisional Government of Southern Vietnam" in preparation for a merger with the Provisional Central Government of Vietnam outlined in the Hạ Long Bay agreements between France and Bảo Đại. The flag of the State of Vietnam was adopted by Emperor Bảo Đại in 1948.[22] The three stripes represented the Quẻ Càn, or Qian trigram. Quẻ Càn is the divination sign for heaven.[19] On 2 June 1948, Prime Minister of the Provisional Central Government Nguyễn Văn Xuân, signed an ordinance to adopt this flag: "The national emblem is a flag of yellow background, the height of which is equal to two-thirds of its width. In the middle of the flag and along its entire width, there are three horizontal red bands. Each band has a height equal to one-fifteenth of the width. These three red bands are separated from one another by a space of the band's height."[19] The flag of the State of Vietnam was later also used by its successor the Republic of Vietnam, commonly known as South Vietnam.

On 8 June 1969, the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (Viet Cong) adopted a tricolor flag modelled from that of North Vietnam, which is the red half at the top, the blue half at the bottom, and a yellow star in the center. This replaced the yellow flag after the fall of Saigon, and was used until the reunification with North Vietnam on 2 July 1976.

On the other hand, in January 2017, San Jose, which has the largest population of Vietnamese emigrants from what was formerly South Vietnam in the United States, banned the Vietnamese flag from being displayed on city flagpoles. This was motivated by a 2016 policy adopted by Westminster, California, forbidding the display of the flag on city property.[23][24] Nearby Milpitas also banned the flag from municipal display on 5 September 2017.[25]

Historical and foreign-involved flags



  1. ^ In Vietnamese, "golden star" and "yellow star" are both called sao vàng

See also


  1. ^ Government of Vietnam. "About Vietnam: National flag, emblem, anthem, declaration of independence". VIETNAM GOVERNMENT PORTAL. Retrieved 3 April 2022.
  2. ^ "Quốc kỳ, Quốc huy, Quốc ca, Tuyên ngôn (National flag, National emblem, National anthem, Declaration (of Independence))". CỔNG THÔNG TIN ĐIỆN TỬ CHÍNH PHỦ (VIETNAM GOVERNMENT PORTAL) (in Vietnamese). Retrieved 3 April 2022.
  3. ^ "History of the Vietnam flag". Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Vietnam Flag, Meaning of Vietnam Flag, History of Vietnam Flag". Archived from the original on 7 October 2013. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Decree number 5 of 5 September 1945" (Vitnamese)Archived 23 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Archive of Vietnamese legal documents.
  6. ^ a b "Resolution number 249/SL of 30 November 1955", Archive of Vietnamese legal documents.
  7. ^ a b "Resolution of 2 July 1976 (Resolution of the National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam About the Country’s Name, Flag, Emblem, Capital, National Anthem) (Vietnamese)", Archive of Vietnamese legal documents.
  8. ^ "Flag of Vietnam". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  9. ^ "National Flag". Viet Nam Government Portal. Government of Vietnam. Archived from the original on 24 September 2023. Retrieved 24 September 2023.
  10. ^ a b "VN Embassy : Flag Designer Urban Myths Squelched", Embassy of the Socialist Republic in Vietnam in the United States of America.
  11. ^ Sơn Tùng's writing was published in installments in the newspaper Sài Gòn Giải Phóng and later as a book entitled Nguyễn Hữu Tiến (1981).
  12. ^ "Flag designer urban myths squelched". Retrieved 4 March 2021.[dead link]
  13. ^ "Tác giả quốc kỳ: vẫn là dấu chấm hỏi", Tuổi Trẻ, 23 November 2006
  14. ^ Ho Chi Minh, Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1988, p. 76. "on 19 May 1941 Viet Minh Front officially made its appearance, and holding high the gold star red flag."
  15. ^ Cima, Ronald J., ed. (1990). "The General Uprising and Independence". Vietnam : A Country Study. Dept. of the Army. ISBN 978-0160181436. The following day, the Congress, at a ceremony in front of the village dinh, officially adopted the national red flag with a gold star, and Ho read an appeal to the Vietnamese people to rise in revolution.
  16. ^ Phút Tán Nguyẽn, A Modern History of Viet-nam (1802–1954), 1964. p. 502. "The Assembly then adopted national Anthem and national flag, approved a new Cabinet and a Committee in charge of the drafting of the Vietnamese Constitution."
  17. ^ "Vietnam". CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Archived from the original on 26 May 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  18. ^ Van Tan, "The Insurrection of the Two Trung Sisters"
  19. ^ a b c d Khải Chính Phạm Kim Thư, "The National Flag of Free Vietnam Archived 4 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine"
  20. ^ Nguyễn Đình Sài, "Quốc Kỳ Việt Nam: Nguồn Gốc và Lẽ Chính Thống", Vietnam Reform Party. A translation is given here Archived 6 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ Compare to Flag of South Korea.
  22. ^ Nguyễn, Ngọc Huy. (March & April 1988) "National Flags and National Anthems of Vietnam" Tự Do Dân Bản magazine, issue: 27 & 28. Re-published in July 2015. Archived from original (in Vietnamese). p. 3 of 15
  23. ^ "California City Bans Display of Vietnam National Flag on City Poles". NBC News. 28 January 2017.
  24. ^ "San Jose council unanimously approves banning communist Vietnamese flag". The Mercury News. 26 January 2017.
  25. ^ "Milpitas council bans city's display of Socialist Republic of Vietnam flag". The Mercury News. 22 September 2017.