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Comoros (1978 - 1992)

Historical flag

Last modified: 2019-01-11 by bruce berry
Keywords: stars: 4 | stars: line | star: 5 points (white) | crescent: points to bottom fly (white) | crescent: points to fly (white) | error | stamp |
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1978 Comoros flag image by Jorge Candeias, 02 Aug 2005

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About the flag

Following a coup d’etat on 13 May 1978, led by mercenary Bob Denard, President Abdallah was returned to power.  The flag of Comoros was officially changed on 23 May 1978.
Jaume Ollé, 30 Mar 1997

According to an article in The Flag Bulletin (No. 174) [tfb], in 1978 the field of the flag became green (like the flag used between 1963-1975).  Crescent moon was enlarged and still faced towards bottom right but the stars were now arranged in a line between its horns.
Stuart Notholt, 22 May 1997

On 13 May 1978, the French mercenary Robert “Bob” Denard (a.k.a. “Colonel Mustafa Madzihu”) overthrew President Soilih and Abdallah was re-established as President.  The new Constitution, dated 01 October 1978, prescribed the Federal and Islamic Republic of Comoros.  According to Pierre Charles Lux-Wurm in Les drapeaux de l’Islam de Mahomet à nos jours [lux01], red was removed from the new flag, and the four stars were placed between the two points of the crescent symbolizing reconciliation.
Ivan Sache, 20 Apr 2002

Following an invasion by mercenaries in which President Ali Soilih was killed, a former president, Ahmed Abdallah, was restored to power. The country was proclaimed an Islamic republic and a new flag was adopted.  There appears to be uncertainty about both the shade of green and the proportions of this flag. Whitney Smith in Flags and Arms across the World (1980) [smi80] (a work in which colour shades are not very reliable) shows a dark green and states that the proportions are approximately 3:5.  William Crampton in The World of Flags (1990) [cra90] also shows the field as being dark green.  The proportions are not stated but the illustration is 1:2.  Later in  The Observers Book of Flags (1991)  [cra91], Crampton shows a shade of green that is only slightly darker than normal with the proportions of the illustration being 3:5. Carol Shaw in Collins Gems Flags (1994) [shw94], which uses illustrations prepared by the Flag Institute, has a medium green; proportions are not specified but the illustration is 3:5.
Vincent Morley, 29 Mar 1997

Lux-Wurm [lux01] gives the proportions as 2:3,  while Hervé Calvarin in Comores: un nouveau drapeau pour la réintégration d’Anjouan [clv02] says the proportions were 3:5.
Ivan Sache, 20 Apr 2002

Post-1992 use?

At the Comores InfosWeb site, the flag seems as being that used between 1978-1992.
Horváth Zoltán, 27 Jan 2002

Strange indeed. I would propose the theory that this is an archival photo, used in lack of a more recent one (a phenomenon which often causes erroneous vexillological reports).
António Martins, 30 Jan 2002

I have on my files a photo of the 1998-1999 prime-minister of Comoros Djoussouf Abbas in front of a flag. It’s a green flag with the crescent and four stars of Comoros tilted 45° clockwise. The fact that this flag appears in this photo means, I believe, that the flag didn’t die with its replacement in 1992. I don’t know when this photo was taken, but I suspect that it might have been sometime during the flag debate that took place in the country and led to the adoption of the current flag. Why? Well, because of the details in Abbas’ political career: In this biography of him (in French) we find that he was a candidate for president in 1990, coming 4th. Then, since he was born in 1942, he’d be 48 yeas old, and I believe he looks a lot older than that in the photo. And the next time we could expect to find him in front of a Comorian flag is 1996, when he came 2nd in that year’s presidential elections. That’s 4 years after the flag changed. I think that it is possible that this flag kept on living somehow beyond 1992.
Jorge Candeias, 02 Aug 2005


Atypical depictions in official postage stamps


Crescent at hoist

1978 Comoros strange flag image by António Martins, 30 May 2008

Four 1985 stamps issued to celebrate the 10th anniversary of independence have identical images (painting of a flag flying in front of the sun with map outline of the four islands) with different colour backgrounds for different face values — FotW stamps #00022 (10F, dark blue), #02883 (125F, pink), #02882 (15F, grey), and #02884 (300F, pale blue). These stamps show a ~3:5 medium green flag with large white crescent pointing to the lower fly (with white 4 stars) offset to the hoist.
António Martins, 06 and 11 Jun 2009

These stamps were issued as a set of four in 1985 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Comoros’ independence: The flag is shown is green, with a crescent moon (with its curved edge towards the hoist) and four stars in white arranged in a line between the horns. The bottom horn of the crescent is just inside the lower hoist corner of the flag, while (I estimate) the top horn is just inside the middle of the top edge of the flag. The top point of each of the four stars lies on the line between the horns.
Richard Mallett, 03 Dec 2005


Golden crescent at hoist (Stanley Gibbons 2005 catalogue colour error)

1978 Comoros strange flag image by António Martins, 12 Jun 2008

The Comoros flag pictured on this stamp (part of a stamp set issued in 1985; the Stanley Gibbons catalogue numbers are 562 to 565) is pale green, with a golden crescent set at an angle together with five small golden five-pointed stars set between the points of the crescent.
Ron Lahav, 02 Feb 2005

There seems to be a discrepancy in the colours of the stars between the 2005 edition of Staney Gibbons Stamps of the World which I used and the 2006 edition which other people are using.
Ron Lahav, 04 Dec 2005

Upright crescent at hoist

1978 Comoros strange flag image by Ivan Sache, 20 Apr 2002

A series of five stamps originally issued in 1981 shows a flat depiction of a ~1:2 green flag with a large white crescent pointing to the fly (with white 4 stars) offset to the hoist; FotW stamps #02886 (15F, yellow), #02887 (25F, pink), #02888 (35F, golden brown), #02885 (5F, reddish brown), and #02889 (75F, blue). Its erroneousness compared with the contemporary national flag is clear, it being depicted flat.
António Martins, 06 Jun 2008

Calvarin [clv02] reports an unofficial (or simply erroneous) version of this flag, shown on a Comorian stamp. The flag is 1:2 with a large crescent placed along the hoist and the four stars placed vertically between the points of the crescent.
Ivan Sache, 20 Apr 2002

The stamp reported by Ivan Sache from [clv02] was indeed issued in 1985 (FotW stamp #02890), but as the sixth (also 75f, but light green) of the 1981 series, not the same design as the new series released also in 1985, with tilted offset crescent.
António Martins, 06 Jun 2008