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Guinea: Samory Toure's flag 1898

Last modified: 2012-01-21 by rob raeside
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Samory Toure's flag 1898

[Flag of 1898 shown by Lux-Wurm] image by Ivan Sache, 21 June 2003

In his book "Les drapeaux de l'Islam" [lux01], P. Lux-Wurm shows a flag captured to Emperor Samory Toure in September 1898. The flag is square, horizontally divided blue-blue-white. The upper stripe is larger than the other ones and of a darker blue than the stripe placed immediately below it. A red triangle is placed along the hoist. A white star, very roughly cut from a piece of fabric, is added on the red triangle.

The flag is kept as a war trophy in the Army Museum in Paris. I guess it may be hang in the St. Louis-des-Invalides' church, along with other flags from the colonial period.

In 1872, Samory Toure proclaimed himself King of Sanankoro. He founded the Malinke Empire of Ouassoulou, which spread from Guinea to Niger and took the title of "Almamy" (religious chief). In 1880, he opposed to France but the struggle started in 1885 only. He signed a peace treaty with France on 1886 and sent his son as his ambassador in Paris. However, Toure resumed his struggle in 1891. He was able to resist to the troops led by General Gallieni until 29 September 1898, when he was captured by Captains Gouraud and Gaden. Toure was exiled to Gabon, where he died in 1900.

Ahmed Sekou Toure (1922-1984), President of the Republic of Guinea from the independence 1958 to his death, was a relative of Samory Toure via his mother.
Ivan Sache, 21 June 2003

Surely Lux Wurm has acces to the original flag in Museum because until now the published flag of the emperor of Ouassoulou was similar but colors are black, gren, white (action of time should to convert black to dark blue, and green to light blue?). The flags is supposed to be take by General Gourad 29 September 1898, but according Roger Baert, of the Belgian vexillological society, that studied the affair, the flag was taken certainly by General Gourad, but when this general defetated king Faisal of Syria on 20 July 1920. For years was discussed if the flag was from Samory or from Feisal, and I believe that is pending the last word.

Other flag is attributed also to Samory: rose, yellow, green vertical (supposed inspiration for Sekou Ture when he self attributed the designing of the Guinea flag), but there's solid argumentations that this last flag was from Abd el Kader.

The emblem in red triangle, unreadable in Lux Wurm, is like a sun with 7 beams bearing a red losange in center according a reproduction issued by Jorge Hurtado.
Jaume Ollé, 23 June 2003

I guess Jaume is referring to this flag Kingdom of Syria: Flag Captured 1920, but I find it surprising that anybody can
(a) mess up these two flag schemes and
(b) mess up two relatively recent events differing 22 years.
Santiago Dotor, 27 June 2003

Yes, surprising. It seems that the flag was deposited in the Museum with a note attached, something like "Flag take to enemy by general Gourad" or so. Then, when in the sixties was discovered by vexillologists, each give his own interpretation.
Jaume Ollé, 23 June 2003