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United Arab Emirates

Al-Imarat al'-Arabiyyah al-Muttahida, formerly Trucial Coast, Trucial Oman or Trucial Sheikdoms

Last modified: 2007-07-28 by ian macdonald
Keywords: united arab emirates | canton: united arab emirates | league of arab states | police | unidentified flag | quartered: saltire (red-white) |
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[United Arab Emirates] 1:2   image by António Martins
Flag adopted 2nd December 1971

See also:

Other sites:


From this United Arab Emirates webpage:

The National Flag of the United Arab Emirates as adopted by Federal Law No. (2)/1971 on 4th Dhu Al-Qedah 1391 A.H. corresponding 21st December, 1971, is rectangular in shape and consists of four colours: Red, Green, White and Black.

Description of the flag. It is rectangular in shape, its length double its width, and is divided into four rectangular parts. The first is red in colour consisting the area nearest to the mast, its length being equivalent to the height of the flag, while its width is one quarter of the length of the entire flag. The other three parts constitute the remaining area of the flag which are in the shape of three equal horizontal rectangles. The top most rectangle part is green, the middle is white and the lower is black in colour.

Santiago Dotor, 11 July 2000

This webpage contains a nice historical photo of the first hoisting of the UAE flag on "2 December 1971". Smith 1975 (and Smith 1982) state "officially hoisted 2nd December 1971". Znamierowski 1999, p. 166, says "Adopted 2nd December 1971, officially hoisted 1st January 1972". So what happened actually in December 1971, and what happened on 1st January 1972, if anything? Crampton 1990f does not give information on when the flag was adopted but gives 2nd December 1971 as the date of effective independence of the country (and 2nd December as the national holiday).
Željko Heimer
, 30-31 July 2001

In January 2002 I saw in Abu Dhabi a new —no more than two months old— big pole with a giant size national flag. It is located in the artificial waterfront near Marina Mall, and you can see it almost from anywhere of the frontal coastline of the island-city.
Santiago Tazón, 6 February 2002

Allegedly this [was] the biggest flagpole in the world [until surpassed in 2003 by the Amman (Jordan) 126.8 m (410') one].
Elias Granqvist, 7 February 2002

Our company, Trident Support Corp., built that large flagpole. The Abu Dhabi flagpole stands at 123 meters tall and flies a flag measuring 20 × 40 meters. It was classified [in 2002] in the Guinness World Records as the World's Tallest Unsupported Flagpole. We are now in the process of building three other big poles in the region, all of which will beat the Abu Dhabi pole. The next one will be 125 meters and will fly a 30 × 60m flag!
David Chambers
, 7 January 2003

Alternative Civil Ensign

[Alternative Civil Ensign (United Arab Emirates)] 1:2   image by Željko Heimer

Barraclough and Crampton 1981 said that the United Arab Emirates had taken into use a red flag with the flag of the United Arab Emirates in the canton.
Calvin Paige Herring, 9 June 1998

Album des Pavillons 2000 labels this an alternative civil ensign. Red ensign with the national flag, fimbriated white, in the canton. Do we know if there is legislation about this ensign (or allowing both it and the national flag) to be used by merchant vessels?
Željko Heimer
, 31 July 2001

Police Flags

[UAE Police flag] image by Jaume Ollé, 7 April 2007

The script on the flag image states "ash-Shurta," meaning "Police."
Joe McMillan, 22 March 2007

I was in Dubai in December 2006 and took some photos of the police flag and emblem I found there. You will see from this photo that the police flag has a green, not blue, background with the emblem in yellow. I was in more than one Emirate and saw the same police flag flying in Emirates other than Dubai, so I assumed it was the UAE Police flag and emblem, rather than being for a specific emirate.
Bruce Berry, 22 March 2007

Police Academy flag

[UAE Police Academy flag] image by Jaume Ollé, 7 April 2007

Report of blue police flag

According to Crampton 1989a, p. 83, the flag of the United Arab Emirates police is "blue with national flag in the canton and police badge in the fly".
Randy Young, 9 February 2001

The question arises about the blue flag with canton and badge reported by Crampton 1989a (see above) - was it an erroneous report, an obsolete flag, or an ensign just for police vessels (the latter just conjecture on my part, but the pattern does suggest it)?
Ned Smith, 23 March 2007

About the UAE police flag I suspect that the flag can be blue without the federal flag in canton, but I'm not sure. Others flags were changed by moving the federal flag out of the canton.
Jaume Ollé, 7 April 2007

Female Police Flag

I recently saw a photo of a parade of the Female Police in Abu Dhabi, and they bear a flag as that of Nigeria, but it probably is the flag of the Women Police of the United Arab Emirates.
Jaume Ollé, 14 June 1999

Other Flags

About Trucial Oman I have only the flag of the [Boy] Scouts. I think that no other flags were in use (except the emirates' flags in use since 1820 or 1830). I know of no personal flags for the Emirs.
Jaume Ollé, 14 June 1999

Unidentified Flag

[Unidentified Flag (United Arab Emirates)] image by Santiago Dotor

In French television yesterday, in a report about Dubai, appeared what looked like an official United Arab Emirates vessel with at aft a national flag and at the bow a red and white saltire-wise quartered jack. Anybody has information on that jack?
Armand du Payrat
, 27 March 2001

May be it was influenced by the similarly saltire-wise divided admirals' flags of Saudi Arabia?
Željko Heimer
, 27 March 2001

This pattern is quite dissimilar to other Arab jacks —Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar— that are usually blue with the Navy emblem, even in states whose symbols are derived from the red-white flags.
Jan Zrzavy
, 7 September 2001

I saw an unidentified flag in one of the traditional wooden boats that cross Dubai Creek as public transport. I am not sure if it was an official flag or just a home-made personal one. It was a square flag divided in saltire forming four triangles, the upper and the bottom ones were red and the side ones white. (...) The flag was flying from the stern of the ship.
Santiago Tazón
, 6-7 February 2002

If it was flying from a wooden public transportation boat, could it be some kind of house flag belonging to the company that operates the transport? Otherwise it may be some kind of signal flag, for example similar to the Croatian privileged navigation signal.
Željko Heimer, 7 February 2002

Flying from the stern doesn't fit well with either a house or a signal flag. It would rather imply some kind of ensign. However, Armand du Payrat said that the boat he saw on TV in March 2001 flew a national flag as ensign and the unidentified flag as jack.
Santiago Dotor
, 7 February 2002

Air Force Roundel

[Air Force Roundel (United Arab Emirates)] image by Željko Heimer

Green-white-black roundel with red sector over the outer two disks. The sector is apparently not with center in the center of the roundel, but in the lowermost point of the black disk, covering approximately 30 degrees towards top. Source: Album des Pavillons 2000. A note explains that the Union flag is painted on the fin. According to Cochrane and Elliot 1998 this marking is used since 1976, before that Abu Dhabi used another roundel 1968-1976 (red-white-sand colour with green inscription) and Dubai used two: 1971-1974 (coat-of-arms-like emblem) and 1974-1976 (same emblem on white disk bordered red).
Željko Heimer
, 31 July 2001

The Abu Dhabi Army Air Wing of the Abu Dhabi Defense Forces was formed in 1968, became Abu Dhabi AF in 1976 and united into UAE AF in 1976. Air Wing of the Union Dubai Defense Force Wing was formed in 1971 and united into UAE AF in 1976. Both used national flag as fin flash. ADAF marking can be seen at The regular marking can be seen in use at  UAE AF adopted an all-black low visibility roundel as seen at  Naval air arm planes use an anchor on a white disc - see VIP planes use the national flag on tail with the white stripe charged with the coat of arms - see See also
Dov Gutterman, 27 June 2004