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Central African Republic

République Centrafricain

Last modified: 2008-09-06 by zeljko heimer
Keywords: central african republic | star | french equatorial africa | pan-african |
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[Central African Republic] [National flag] 2:3
by Željko Heimer

[Central African Republic] [National flag] 3:5
by Željko Heimer and António Martins-Tuválkin 25 May 2008
Flag adopted 1 December 1958, coat of arms adopted 17 May 1963.

See also:
  • BaTwa, the territory inhabited by the Twa people in CAR, Congo, Rwanda and Burundi.

National Flag

The four-striped blue, white, green and yellow flag with fifth red stirpe set vertically and yellow five-pointed star in "canton". In Album 2000 is given ratio 2:3 and a note claiming that there exists variant in ration 3:5. For the comparison Smith 1975 and Smith 1980 gives ratio as 3:5~, Shipmate Chart has it 3:5, Znamierowski 1999 gives "Proportions unspecified" which is probably closest to the thruth.
According to Smith 1982 colours were chosen to represent France and Panafrican colours. What is common - red as blood - is superimposed to symbolize that Europeans and Africans have to respect each other. Yellow star of independence symbolizes a bright future. Officialy hoisted on 1 December 1958.
Željko Heimer 11 May 2001

The Album 2000 gives exact construction details (2+2+2+2):(5+2+5), but I am somehow doubtful - I believe that the numbers 5 are here gained as "rest" from the firm overall ratio (2:3, which is not quite certain as discussed above) and requirement that the vertcial stripe be of euqal width as each of the horizontal stripes (the requirement seems to be implicit, but followed quite strictly).
L'Album 1995 issue also give two possibilities for the ratio, but it also specifies the position of the star. According to this the star should have center in point 0.14b from hoist where b is the flag length. This specification is not mentioned latter, I guess it is not quite relevant (if not entirely wrong).
While doing these images, I made image with ratio 4:5. While I have no sources or proves of such flag existance, but I think that this minght have been the original idea - probably never actually used - for the sake of the "conformity" with other "normal" flags (such as 2:3 or 3:5). The idea here is that all the five stripes are of equal size (area) in the flag. Well, just a speculation - but maybe a root of the presidential flag discussed further on.
Željko Heimer 11 May 2001

[Central African Republic] 4:5 Reconstruction - not used!
by Željko Heimer

The colours of the Central African nation were adopted unanimously by acclamation during the ceremonious session of the Legislative Assembly on 1st December 1958 [1]. Before the vote, President Barthélémy Boganda said to the Deputees:

"Those coulours, which symbolize the four territories constituting the French Equatorial Africa [2] but also our guide territory, the Metropolitan France [3], came out of my heart. The red stripe which crosses the four colours is the symbol of our blood. As we did it when France was in danger [4], we shall shed our blood for Africa and to protect the Central African Republic, member of the French Community [5]."
The blue [colour], placed as the sky, stands for Vastness, Freedom, Greatness, Serenity.
The white [colour] recalls Naivety, Purity, Frankness, Bravery, Confidence, Dignity, Equality.
The green [colour] is the symbol of Hope, Belief and Faith.
The yellow [colour] marks Tolerance, Hospitality, Charity.
Therefore, the Central African flag expresses Barthélémy Boganda's aspiration to the unity of all men in the world, but mostly to the African Unity, powerful in its rich and harmonious diversity.
Original source: "République Centrafricaine - Na-Ndouzou" The book was published c. 1969 on behalf of the Presidency of the Central African Republic by the Editions Delroisse (Boulogne-Billancourt, France). The text was edited by a commission presided by N. Kombot-Naguemon.
Source:, translated from French by myself.
Notes (mine):
[1] In 1950, Barthélémy Boganda, the first Deputy (in the French National Assembly) from Oubangui-Chari, funded the MESAN (Mouvement pour l'évolution sociale de l'Afrique noire, Movement for the Social Evolution of Black Africa). The Central African Republic was proclaimed in 1958, with Boganda as President, and became fully independent in 1959, David Dacko succeding to Boganda, deceased the same year. In 1965, Dacko was overthrown by Jean-Bedel Bokassa, later appointed President for life in 1972 and crowned Emperor in 1976, with the shameful and ridiculous support of France. In 1979, France turned the tables and helped Dacko to overthrow Bokassa (or rather overthrew Bokassa and placed Dacko on the vacant throne). Dacko was himself overthrown by Kolingba two years later. Since then, the Central African Republic has been in permanent troubles, "arbitrated" by France, which keeps troops stationed in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic.
[2] French Equatorial Africa (AEF, Afrique-Equatoriale-française) existed from 1910 to 1958, as the federation of the four colonies of Gabon, Moyen-Congo (now the Republic of Congo), Oubangui-Chari (now the Central African Republic), and Chad.
[3] France Metropolitan (code FX in ISO3166) is European France.
[4] This is a clear reference to Félix Eboué (1884-1944). Eboué was born in Cayenne (French Guyana) and was the first Black appointed Colonial Governor, first in Guadeloupe (1936), then in Chad (1938). Following de Gaulle's call on 18 June 1940, Eboué rallied the Free France, and the AEF served as territorial basis for the Free France.
[5] The French Community (Communauté française) was founded in 1958. It grouped France, the Overseas Departments and Territories, and several of the former French colonies in Africa. It progressively vanished and ceased to function in 1960, although the Community was constitutionally abolished only in 1995! The flag of the Communauté was a square tricolor flag with a golden fringe and LIBERTE EGALITE FRATERNITE written in gold in the middle of the flag (one word per line).
Ivan Sache, 24 December 2002

Flag in the Constitution

A new Constitution was promulgated in Central African Republic on 14 January 1995, after having been accepted on 28 December 1994 by 82.06% of the voters. Article 17 of the Constitution describes the flag as follows:

Title II
The State and Sovereignty

Article 17
Its emblem is the flag of four equal sized horizontal bands of the colours blue, white, green and yellow, perpendicularly barred in their centre by a red band of equal size and marked in the upper left corner by a yellow five pointed star.
Its motto is UNITY - DIGNITY - WORK
The Seals of the State and the Arms of the Republic are defined by the law.
Source: Vagnat & Poels. Constitutions - What they tell us about national flags and coat of arms. [vap00]
Ivan Sache, 24 December 2002

Coat of Arms

[Central African Republic]
From, located by Dov Gutterman, 10 March 1999

Presidential flag

[Central African Republic: Presidential flag] by Željko Heimer 11 May 2001

Regarding the Centeral African flags for the head of the state - The emperor's flag is shown in Smith 1980, already obsolete at the time of issue (see Central African Empire, 1976 - 1979) and the presidential flag in Smith 1975 (and probably some other sources, as the scan posted by Marcus Wendel that was on FOTW was not from [smi75]). However, there seems that the modern sources does not mention this presidential standard being reintroduced after Bokassa period. The presidential flag is equal in deisgn to the national flag with wide golden fringe on three sides. The fringe is so wide apparently as each of the sripes. [smi75] give ratio as 22:31~ (this ratio measures exclude fringe width - only the fag field itself, of coruse), while the Markus' image mantioned above seems to be a bit more squerish.
I made my gif with flag ratio 4:5 as the "ideal" flag discussed above, which together with fringe on three sides make the flag exactly square. Now, when I think of it, I may have given myself a bit overmuch "artistic" liberty in making this gif square. Maybe I should redraw it.
Željko Heimer 11 May 2001

Use of flag by political parties

It seems that the political parties are forbiden to use the national flag in their propaganda. For example, the party MDI was forced to remove the national flag from their web site - the website is located in France at and the disclaimer says, in French:
'The flag of the Centrafrican Republic, heritage of all of the Centrafricans, has been removed from this website because we have been ordered to do so by the State Prosecutor of the Centrafrican Republic, on pain of penalties. Therefore we removed it to avoid any financial loss to our party. The surfers and the Centrafricans are free to appreciate this democratic advance in President's Boganda's country'.
Ivan Sache, 7 February 2001

Aircraft Marking

[Central African Republic Aircraft Marking]
by Željko Heimer according to Album 2000 11 May 2000

According to Album 2000 roundel is of yellow, green, white and blue concentric disks (of unequal widths) the middle blue disk containing the yellow star, while the red vertical stripe is crossing all other disks. The roundel is also shown in Corr 29 of previous Album issue.
Željko Heimer 11 May 2001

Chadian flag over CAR?

This title ends with a question mark, since it is very difficult to obtain accurate information from Chad and Centrafrica. The political situation is very bad in the area and there is no independent press to confirm the news. It is highly probable that Chad played an active role in the last coup which overthrew President Kolingba and took benefit of the situation to invade part of Centrafrica.

A paper related the occupation of parts of the Centrafrican territory by Chad was published in Centrafrique-Presse on 19 April 2003. I am giving below the French text of the flag-related section of the paper, and my English translation of the text. The full paper can be read, in French, on the Centrafrique-Presse website:

Ivan Sache, 16 November 2003

[French text, slightly edited]

Jusqu'a quand le drapeau tchadien continuera-t-il de flotter sur les edifices publics en RCA?

Pendant que les "liberateurs" goutent aux delices de la « transition consensuelle» à Bangui, ils viennent de proceder a un mouvement general des prefets. Une bonne partie de la Republique centrafricaine constituee des villes et localites de provinces, notamment des prefectures de l’Ouham, l’Ouham-Pende, la Kemo et le Bamingui-Bangoran, a pratiquement bascule sous administration tchadienne.

C’est desormais le drapeau tchadien qui flotte devant les edifices administratifs de ces contrees de l’arriere-pays [...]. La RCA est presentement sous occupation tchadienne depuis le 15 mars dernier. Idriss Deby est de fait, president de deux pays. [...]
[English translation]

Until when shall the Chadian flag fly over the public buildings in CAR?

While enjoying the delights of the "consensual transition" in Bangui [the capital city of the CAR], the "liberators" launched a general movement of the prefets [local administrators]. A sizeable part of the CAR, made of province towns and places, namely the prefectures [administrative divisions] of Ouham, Ouham-Pende, Kemo and Bamigui-Bangoran [more or less the areas near the Chadian border, roughly 1/3 of the CAR territory], is now under Chadian administration.

The Chadian flag is now hoisted in front of the administrative buildings in these areas of the [Bangui] hinterland [...]. The CAR has been under Chadian occupation since the 15th of March [2003]. Idriss Deby [the President of Chad] is, de facto, the president of two countries. [...]

Errorneous flag depiction on stamps

Two variants of the Central African flag has been depicted in stamps issued by the local Postal Authority, being thus somewhat official, making the errors even more glaring. Both cases show the upper hoist star in a color arrangement different from the official yellow:

[Central African Republic Flag with White Star]
by António Martins-Tuválkin 25 May 2008

A 1961 stamps commemorating the admission of the country to the UN show a white star on the flag, instead of yellow. This is not a printing mistake as the yellow stripe of the flag is colored as expected. Three different stamps in the same pattersn were issued: 15, 25 and 85 francs (resp. #02776, #02777 and #02778 in our catalogue of stamps on flags; the 25F stamp was overprinted as "Fète Nationale 1-12-61" (our #02779).

[Central African Republic Flag with Red Star]
by António Martins-Tuválkin 25 May 2008

A 1959 25F stamp (our #02775) shows a national flag with the usual place of the star, on the blue stripe, smudged in white (doesnt seems to be a crisp circle outline) and on it a red star.
António Martins-Tuválkin 25 May 2008