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al Djazair - Democratic and Popular Algerian Republic

Last modified: 2024-04-13 by ian macdonald
Keywords: algeria | djazair (al-) | africa | maghreb | islam | crescent (red) | star (red) | construction sheet | president | naval ensign | anchors: 2 (red) | naval jack |
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[Flag of Algeria] image by Željko Heimer, 28 January 2001

Flag adopted 3 July 1962, national emblem adopted 1 November 1976.
Proportions: 2:3.
Description: Flag vertically divided green-white with a red crescent and star in the middle.
Use: on land, as the national, civil and war flag; on sea, as the national and civil ensign.

On this page:

See also:

Official description of the flag of Algeria

[Construction sheet] image by Željko Heimer, 28 January 2001

The national flag of Algeria is officially described as follows:

The flag of the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria is constituted by a green and white rectangle embossed by a red star and a red crescent.

The green must be a composition of equal yellow and blue having, according to the diagram of contrasts of Rood, a wavelength of 5.411 and the position 600 on the normal spectre. The red must be pure, of primary non-decomposable colour, and exempt of blue and yellow having, according to the above-indicated diagram, a wavelength of 6.562 and the position 285 on the normal spectre.

Proportions and disposition
The length of the rectangle is equal to one and half its width (height of the flag). This rectangle is divided according to the small median in two halves. The green colour half is placed inside, against the shaft. The white colour half is placed outside.
The star has five branches. It is inscribed in a circle whose radius is equal to the eighth of the height of the flag. It is entirely placed on the white field of the flag; two points are on the small median of the rectangle and a point is on the big median.
The radius of the outside circle of the crescent is equal to the quarter of the height of the flag. The radius of the inner circle of the crescent is equal to the fifth of the height of the flag. The two points of the crescent delimit a big equal bow to the five sixth of the circumference of the outside circle. The centre of the outside circle of the crescent is in the centre of the rectangle.

Thanh-Tâm Lê, 2 January 1999

Colours of the flag

According to the Permanent Mission of Algeria to the United Nations (archived site), the green must be a composition of equal yellow and blue having, according to the diagram of contrasts of Rood, a wavelength of 5.411 and the position 600 on the normal spectre. The red must be pure, of primary indecomposable colour, and exempt of blue and yellow having, according to the below-indicated diagram, a wavelength of 6.562 and the position 285 on the normal spectre.

From the Album des Pavillons 2000 [pay00] the colours on Algerian flags are:
Green: Pantone 356c / CMYK (%) 100-0-90-25
Red: Pantone 186c / CMYK (%) 0-90-80-5

Two more colors are specified for Naval flags:
Royal Blue: Pantone 293c / CMYK (%) 100-55-0-0
Yellow: Pantone 115c / CMYK (%) 10-10-95-0
Zoltan Horvath, 31 March 2024

According to the Flag Manual - Beijing 2008, the color green is PMS 355, and red is PMS 179. (This is the only exception, seems to be not a reliable source.)
Zoltan Horvath, 31 March 2024

The protocol manual for the London 2012 Olympics (Flags and Anthems Manual London 2012 [loc12]) provides recommendations for national flag designs. Each NOC was sent an image of the flag, including the PMS shades, for their approval by LOCOG. Once this was obtained, LOCOG produced a 60 x 90 cm version of the flag for further approval. So, while these specs may not be the official, government, version of each flag, they are certainly what the NOC believed the flag to be.
For Algeria, the vertical version is simply the flag turned through 90 degrees, the green on the top.
Ian Sumner, 10 October 2012

The Album des Pavillons 2023 already specifies the colors of the flags in three color systems.
Green: Pantone 356c, CMYK 88-26-100-12, RGB 0-122-51
Red: Pantone 186c, CMYK 14-100-79-4, RGB 200-16-46
Yellow: Pantone 116c, CMYK 0-21-93-0, RGB 255-204-0
Blue: Pantone 2728c, CMYK 94-73-0-0, RGB 0-71-182
(Last two for naval flags, but differs from Album des Pavillons 2000 [pay00] values.)
Zoltan Horvath, 31 March 2024

Vexilla Mundi gives colours in Pantone system as follows: Green 356C and Red 186C (there are identical with above-mentioned ones).
Zoltan Horvath, 31 March 2024

Wikipedia gives four systems, RGB, Hex, CMYK and Pantone.
Green: RGB 0-102-51, Hex #006633, CMYK 100, 0, 50, 60, and Pantone 356 C
Red: RGB 210-16-52, Hex #D21034, CMYK 0, 92, 75, 18, and Pantone 186 C
White RGB 255-255-255, Hex #FFF FFF, CMYK 0, 0, 0, 0, and Pantone White
Zoltan Horvath, 31 March 2024

It’s quite interesting that all sources give the same value in Pantone System, but CMYK and RGB values are different, even French Navy Book gives different values in their two volumes.
Zoltan Horvath, 31 March 2024

History of the flag of Algeria

The flag was first officially hoisted on 3 July 1962. The flag is said to be a variation of the flag of liberation forces of Abd el-Kader in 1837-1847, but there is no proof of that.

Željko Heimer, 28 November 1995

Quoting the Dorling-Kindersley flag book [rya97]:

[...] the flag was adopted by the National Liberation Front in 1954, based on an older design, created in 1928 by the nationalist leader Messali Hadj. From 1958 to 1962 it was the flag of the Provisional Government in exile, but was retained when independence was achieved in 1962 and has remained unchanged ever since.

The meaning of the colors is green for Islam and white for purity. According to Herzog and Hannes [z2h90], the white color also reminds of Abd el-Kader, who used a white flag in his fight against the French in 1847.

Volker Moerbitz Keith, 11 April 2000

The origin of the Algerian national flag and the identity of its designer are still unresolved questions, as explained in an article by Houda B. published in El Watan, #2052, 20 August 1997.
The historian M. Yahia claims that the flag was sketched in 1934, the three colours symbolizing the expected unification of the three countries of Northern Africa (Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia). The first copy of the flag was made by Messali El Hadj's wife in July 1937. The flag was used for the first time in Algiers and Belcourt during demonstrations on 14 July 1937. However, Yahia writes that the flag could have been shown for the first time in the seat of the Étoile nord-africaine (Star of North Africa) party in Paris in 1933 and used for the first time in Algeria in Algiers and Tlemcen in 1934. Another historian, M. Ghannèche, quoted by Yahia, reports that an Algerian flag with the crescent and star located in the upper part of the flag was adopted, and modified to the today's design in 1943 by the Parti du peuple algérien (Algerian People's Party, the follower of Étoile nord-africaine).

Yahia reports that Emir Abd-el-Kader used a white and green standard, which was found after his death in Cairo. However, Abd-el-Kader's standard is indeed shown in the Army Museum of Riadh El Feth in Algiers. The standard is dark blue, c. 1 x 2 m, bordered with ocher and orange squares. Said to have been found in 1914 in the mosque of Taza in Morocco, the flag was taken over by a captain of the French Army, whose family offerred it to the Army Museum in Hôtel des Invalides, Paris. The flag was retroceded to Algeria in 1970 by Jacques Chevallier, Mayor of Algiers during the French rule, during an official visit to Algiers.

A documentary made by the Algerian TV a few years ago says that the Algerian flag appeared for the first time on 26 June 1926 as the flag of the Étoile nord-africaine. The flag was green with in the upper right corner the writing "Algerian our country, Arabic our language and Islam our religion" in white Arabic letters and in the upper left corner a red star and crescent. In 1944, Fehrat Abbas presided in Setif the National Conference, during which the members of the Amis du manifeste et des libertés used a modified version of the 1926 flag. A report of the headquarters of the French Army in Constantine says that Fehrat Abbas asked women of his family to prepare 20 flags for the Setif conference. A facsimile appended to the report shows a white flag with two green horizontal stripes in the top and bottom of the flag, a red cross on the right of the flag and a red star near the hoist.

There is no official document on the national flag but Law No. 63-145 of 25 April 1963, signed by President Ben Bella and published in the official gazette on 30 April 1963.

Ivan Sache, 17January 2008

Naval ensign

[Naval ensign]    [Naval ensign, detail]

Algerian naval ensign and detail of the emblem - Images by Martin Grieve, 9 April 2009

The Algerian naval ensign is similar to the national flag, but with two fouled anchors crossed per saltire in canton. The flag is shown on two photos taken by Graham Bartram and presented as follows:

It was taken at the International Festival of the Sea in Portsmouth in 2005. This particular flag was on a staff at the bottom of the gangplank to the Algerian warship that was attending, but the ensign on the ship matched. The flag is actually being held up by the Algerian Naval Officer who was officer of the watch at the time.

As far as an adoption date for the white anchors is concerned, I seem to recall reading that it was 2004, but cannot for the life of me remember where.

Martin Grieve, 13 May 2011

[Former naval ensign]

Former Algerian naval ensign - Image by Jaume Ollé & Pascal Gross, 28 January 2001

The former Algerian naval ensign was reported in Emblèmes et Pavillons [eep] No. 17. The reference does not have a drawing and is only a report of the new flag which was contained in Correction No. 19 of Album des Pavillons (1978 edition), dated September 1987. The description states that the anchors are in red.
The same flag is shown on Album des Pavillons [pie90] (1990 edition).

Ralph Kelly & Željko Heimer, 29 April 2009

Regarding the Naval Ensign the Album des Pavillons 2000 [pay00] (Corr. No.5) and the Album des Pavillons 2023 shows a flag with old-style anchors, but with white color. All other naval flags are illustrated with red old-style anchors.
Zoltan Horvath, 31 March 2024

Naval jack

[Jack of Algeria] image by Zoltan Horvath, 31 March 2024

New style anchor (used since 2004) comes first on Naval Jack in Album des Pavillons 2000 [pay00] (Corr. No.5), but Album des Pavillons 2023 shows a Naval Jack without any anchors, probably based on this picture, where the canton is clearly visible without any anchors.
Zoltan Horvath, 31 March 2024

[Jack of Algeria] image by Martin Laurenson Grieve, 15 May 2011

Correction No. 5 (June 2010) of Album des Pavillons shows the Algerian naval jack as a blue flag with the national flag in canton.
The flag's overall proportions appear to be 2:3. The field is blue (PMS 293c) which I translate to RGB 51-0-255 for browser-safe colours. The Algerian Naval ensign appears in canton, in the 2:3 proportions and is precisely one third of the hoist width of the overall flag.
The fouled anchors which deface the Algerian National flag which forms the canton appear to be correct. (they are white, and more elaborate than their red predecessors). Album gets it wrong however on the Naval Ensign. They show what appears to be the same graphic elements from the Egyptian Naval ensign. This is erroneous, as Graham Bartram is in possession of photographs which show "exactly" how they should look and which are identcal to the fouled anchors on the jack.

Martin Laurenson Grieve, Zoltán Horváth & Christopher southworth, 15 May 2011

Presidential flag

[President flag?] image by Zoltan Horvath, 31 March 2024

According to Wikipedia the Presidental Flag has a new version, based on National Flag, but full country name placed over the crescent and star emblem, and presidential slogan (“With people, for people”) is written under the emblem. I found a pictorial evidence of existence of this flag here.
Zoltan Horvath, 31 March 2024

The list of the Algerian Heads of State since the independence is the following:

  • 1962-1963 Ferhat Abbas (Chairman of the Parliament)
  • 1963-1965 Ahmed ben Bella (President)
  • 1965-1976 Houari Boumediene (Chairman of the Council of the Revolution)
  • 1976-1978 Houari Boumediene (President)
  • 1978-1979 Rabah Bitat (acting)
  • 1979-1992 Chadli Bendjedid (President)
  • 1992-1992 Mohammed Boudiaf (Chairman of the High Committee of State)
  • 1992-1994 Ali Kafi (Chairman of the High Committee of State)
  • 1994-1999 Liamine Zeroual (President)
  • 1999-2019 Abdelaziz Bouteflika (President)
  • 2019 (April-December) Abdelkader Bensalah (President)
  • 2019- Abdelmadjid Tebboune (President)

[President flag?]         [Presidential flag?]

Two reported versions of the President's flag (left, 1979; right, 1999) - Images by Jaume Ollé, 24 December 2001

In 1979, President Bendjedid appeared on a photography together with a variant of the national flag that may be the Presidential flag. An identical flag was also reported as a possible Presidential flag by a correspondent of Aldo Zigiotto.
A possible Presidential flag was reported by J.L. Cepero on 23 March 1999, seen at the Presidential facilities on Algerian television. The inscription says Algeria and was confirmed by Algerian sources. The above image is approximate.

Jaume Ollé, 24 December 2001, translated from Spanish by Joe McMillan

On Algerian TV, when the Algerian President makes a speech in his office, there is always an Algerian coat of arms made in wood behind him and an Algerian flag with the star appearing with "dark" lines inside it, exactly in the same way as pictured above. As for the flag with the name of Algeria (written in yellow, in Arabic, on the green part of the flag), I have never seen it when the President makes his speech.

Omar Mouffok, 2 June 2007