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Last modified: 2008-09-06 by zeljko heimer
Keywords: cameroon | cameroun | africa | panafrican colours | star (yellow) | crab | stars: 2 |
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Flag of Cameroon [National Flag and Ensign] 2:3~
by Željko Heimer, 13 October 2001
Flag adopted 20 May 1975, coat of arms adopted in 1984.

See also:


Vertical tricolor green red yellow, with a yellow fivepointed star in the middle. Cameroon is second modern African state (after Ghana) to adopt panafrican colours. When British South Cameroon joined federation, two stars where added. In 1972, the country became a unitary state and three years later two stars where replaced with just one. The flag was officially hoisted on 20 May 1975. Proportions are aprox. 2:3. (based on [smi82])
Željko Heimer 8 December 1995

Red, yellow and green are the pan-African colours and the pattern of the flag recalls the French Tricolore. Green stands for hope and the Southern forests, red for unity (and the star as well is the star of unity) and yellow for the sun ('the source of people happiness') or prosperity as well as the Northern savannas. ([udk97], [smi75c], [ped71])
Ivan Sache, 13 February 2000

In 'DTV-Lexikon politischer Symbole', 1970, Arnold Rabbow [rab70] writes: 'Green represents the rich vegetation of the southern region; yellow the soil of the extreme North; the red stands for national sovereighnty.' Mucha - Webster's concise Encyclopedia of Flags, 1985 [mch85a]: 'Green denotes the rich forest vegetation of the southern part of the country, and the hope for a happy future; red is the symbol of independence and unity; and yellow stands for the savannas in the savannas in the northern part of the country and for the sun as the source of the nation's happiness. The star symbolizes the unity of the country.'
Jarig Bakker, 13 February 2000

The colours of the flag of Cameroon are the pan-African colours, green/red/yellow. They are based on the colours of the flag of Ethiopia, a horizontal tri-colour of green/yellow/red which dates back to 1897. The colours of the Cameroon flag form a vertical tri-colour based on the flag of France which was the colonial power controlling most of its territory before independence.

The basic pattern of the flag of Cameroon dates back to 1957. In 1961 Southern Cameroon, a former British colony or dependency, voted to join Cameroon in a federal type of government. At that time two yellow stars were added to the upper part of the green portion of the flag. In 1972 the federal system was replaced by a unitary government, and in 1975 the two stars were removed from the green and a single yellow star was placed on the red portion of the flag.
Devereaux D. Cannon, Jr., 27 February 2001

Vagnat & Poels 2000 book [vap00] gives Article 1(5) from the Constitution last amended in 1996 which describes (but does not detail) the current flag. The last legislation I have is Law No 84-1 dated 4 February 1984 (issued on the basis of the 1972 Constitution as amended), but this also contains no details regarding a size for the star.
Christopher Southworth 18 August 2003

The Constitution of the Republic of Cameroon was adopted on 2 June 1972 and last changed by Law #96/06 of 18 January 1996:

Part I
On the State and Sovereignty

Article 1
4. The motto of the Republic of Cameroon is: PEACE - WORK - FATHERLAND
5. Its flag shall be: green, red, yellow in three equal vertical stripes. It is charged with one gold star in the centre of the red stripe.
7. The seal of the Republic of Cameroon shall be a circular medallion in bas-relief, 46 millimetres in diameter, bearing on the obverse and in the centre the head of a girl in profile turned to the dexter towards a coffee branch with two leaves and flanked on the sinister by five cocoa pods, encircled beneath the upper edge by the French words "Republique du Cameroun" and above the lower edge by the national motto "Paix - Travail - Patrie"; on the reverse and in the centre the coat of arms of the Republic of Cameroon, encircled beneath the upper edge by the English words "Republic of Cameroon" and above the lower edge by the national motto "Peace - Work - Fatherland".
The coat of arms of the Republic of Cameroon shall be an escutcheon surmonted chief by the legend "Republic of Cameroon" and supported two crossed fasces with the motto "Peace - Work - Fatherland" base. The escutcheon shall be composed of a gold star or on a field vert and triangle gules, charged with the geographical outline of Cameroon azure and surcharged with the sword and scales of justice sable.
Cited from [vap00] by Ivan Sache 23 August 2003

Size of the star

Size of the star in the flag does not seems to be prescribed so the reports of sighting of size considerably larger or smaller then usually shown are not unfrequent, like these [Ed.]:

The local paper yesterday carried a picture from Reuters of flags outside the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting in Malta. The Cameroun flag, clearly visible in the display, has a much larger star than shown above - it looks like it takes up 7/8 of the width of the central stripe, or maybe more.

James Dignan, 29 November 2005

Flag of Cameroon with smaller star
by Ivan Sache, 15 February 2008

The football Nations' Africa Cup (CAN) took place in Ghana from 20 January to 10 February 2008. Two big national flags were consistently hung from the stand during the matches. Those of Cameroon were characterized by a very small star, hardly visible from a distance. I can add to this report that I saw several flag during a visit in Yaoundé in autumn 2004, hoisted over official buildings or sold in the streets, with no unformity in the star size. Ivan Sache, 15 February 2008

Two stars' flag

1961-1975 flag of Cameroon
by Željko Heimer, 13 October 2001

The 1961-75 flag of Cameroon was a vertical tricolour of green-red-yellow with two yellow stars on the red. It was adopted when the former British territory of Southern Cameroon voted to join French Cameroun which became independent in 1957. The 2 stars signified the two territories. In 1972 Cameroon became a unitary state and the second star was subsequently dropped from the flag.
Stuart Notholt 30 November 1995

Pedersen's The International Flag Book in Color of 1971 shows the flag of Cameroon as a vertical tricolor of green-red-yellow with two gold (darker yellow then the third vertical) stars in the upper half of the green.

Michael Smuda, 20 July 1998

Look at a copy of Whitney Smith's 1975 book Flags Through the Ages and Across the World and you'll see the current Cameroon flag (one star) in the section on flags of the world, and you'll find the obsolete two-starred version in the "flying flags" painting at the front of the book. The design of the flag changed in 1975 during the production of that book.

Nick Artimovich, 20 July 1998

Original flag of 1960

Original flag of Cameroon
by Vincent Morley, 25 May 1997

The September 1961 issue of the 'National Geographic' magazine contains an article about the flags of the 99 states which were then UN members. They write: "Cameroun citizens last year adopted an unadorned tricolor: green for the luxuriant vegetation of the south, red for soverereignty, and yellow for the sunshine of this African nation's northern region. Joined U.N. 1960."
Jarig Bakker 18 August 2003

It was in fact adopted by Law 46 dated 29 Octuber 1957. Confirmed by the constitution 21 Feb 1960 (independence was 1 January 1960). The flag with two stars replaced it on 1 October 1961 (but designed before, in April), and that was in turn replaced with a single star flag on 20 May 1975.
Jaume Olle 18 August 2003

Christian Fogd Pedersen gives the dates for the plain tricolour as 1957-1961.
Christopher Southworth 18 August 2003

Flag of British Cameroon

Question from FOTW message board: Did the United Kingdom Trust Territory of Southern Cameroons have a flag badge when it was administratively separated from Nigeria in 1960 until it was absorbed into The Republic of Cameroun in 1961, and if so what was it like?

Badge existed, but wasn't officially aproved. This badge feautures a double circle with inscription "Southern Cameroon" and within the inner circle a group of bananas.
Jaume Ollé, 9 April 2000

I think it probable that this badge, described by Jaume, was not a badge of Southern Cameroons until after it had become a region of the Republic of Cameroon which has two official languages, English as well as French.
David Prothero, 4 May 2000

Historic overview

1884-1919 German colony.
After the WWI was cut in two: one fifht to British and rest to French, both under the Trusteeship system of the United Nations (League of Nations, I assume)
French created an autonomous state in 1957 which adopted the first Camerron flag on 29-10-57 (law 57/46) vertical green-red-yellow
British Cameroon was divised in two: British Nothern Cameroon (split in two non continguos piece) and British Southern Cameroon both ruled from Nigeria which became independent 1-10.60.
British Nothern Cameroon was, until then, part of the Nothern region of Nigeria, but British Sothern Cameroon was a separate entity (region).
11-2-61 a plebiscite was held in wich each region was asked wheter it wished to become part of Nigeria or Cameron (which became independent 1-1-61).
Nothern Cameroon voted to join Nigeria and Southern Cameroon to unite French Cameroon. Its is decided during the summer that a federal, rather than unitary, form of government would consist of two states: Western Cameroon (ex British Southern Cameroon) and East Cameron (ex French Cameron)
The official badge which had been used under the British trusteeship (showing bananas) was abandoned and the union Flag lowered over Buea (capital of S. Cameroon). So far as is know the states (did) not have distic flags or badges of their own
To symbolize the new federation two gold stars (note that they are not yellow like the stripe) were addded to the green stripe of the flag used by the Republic of Cameroon.
This flag must be adopted 1-Octuber 1961. Ratio in picture 24:38 (hosit band is 13, central 13 and fly band is 12) Stars from upper part to lower part are 14 (between 24) and 7 (between 13). Stars are vertically centered in the hoist band. Fron upper edge to the flag to the upper part of the star, there's 2 between 24.
from Flag Bulletin nr. 2 [tfb] summarized by Jaume Olle, 17 April 2001