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Federation of South Arabia (Yemen)

Last modified: 2021-08-25 by ian macdonald
Keywords: yemen | federation of south arabia | crescent (white) | star (white) | fin flash | air force |
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Description of the Flag

The Federation of South Arabia flag was an almost square horizontal tricolour of black, green and ultramarine blue, with the three main stripes being separated by two narrow yellow fimbriations, and with a white crescent and star over all in the centre.
Roy Stilling, 5 December 1997

According to Carr's Flags of the World, [car61], "The flag adopted comprises five horizontal stripes, black (top), yellow, green, yellow, and light ultramarine blue; overall, in the centre thereof, a white crescent moon and five-pointed star, as shown in the accompanying illustration. In regard to the colours chosen, black is said to symbolize the mountains, green the fertile lands, blue the sea, and yellow the desert." The flag shown in Carr (1961 is quite squarish, as Roy Stilling points out. Also the crescent is smaller and not so 'sharp' and the star somewhat bigger, as compared with the image above.
Santiago Dotor, 8 May 2003

About the Federation of South Arabia

Come the 1950s and a burgeoning of Arab nationalist sentiment in the colony and protectorate of Aden, the British tried to co-opt the local rulers into a conservative Federation of South Arabia. Aden Colony later also became a state of the federation. The native states all had quite distinctive flags.
Roy Stilling, 5 December 1997

According to Carr's Flags of the World, [car61], "During February, 1959, seven out of the eighteen Western Aden Protectorates, the Sultanates of Audhali, Lower Yafa, and Fadhli, the Amirates [sic] of Beihan and Dhala, and the Sheikdoms of Upper and Lower Aulaqui [Awlaki], formed the Federation of the Arab Amirates of the South."
Santiago Dotor, 8 May 2003

According to my sources, the Federation was created 11 February 1959 with six members: Beihan, Dhala, Audhali, Fadhli, Lower Yafa and Upper Awlaki. But as new members adhered in the next weeks, it's possible that one more (Lower Awlaki Sultanate (not "sheikdom")) joined before the end of February.
Jaume Ollé 13 May 2003

On 4 April 1962 the Federation was enlarged and renamed Federation of South Arabia, with the following eight additional members: Sheikdom of Alawi, Sheikhdom of Aqrabi, Territory of Dhatina, Sultanate of Lahej, Sheikdom of Maflahi, Sheikdom of Shaib, Sultanate of Wahidi Bal Haf, and Sultanate of Wahidi Haban. The State of Aden joined on 18 January 1963.
Jaume Ollé, 2 July 1996 and Herman De Wael, 7 October 1997

Arab Amirates of the South (1959-1962)

[Federation of South Arabia] image by Martin Grieve, 21 March 2018

Evidence has come to light in the December 2017 edition of “Franciae Vexilla” that would appear to suggest that there were two similar, but different flags employed with the first version during the period when the region was officially called “Arab Amirates of the South”(1959-1962), and a second modified version when the territory changed its name to “Federation of South Arabia” (1962-1967) (below).

The document mentioned contains an expansive and very detailed article on the flags of Yemeni flags through history and contains a great many very well drawn illustrations in full colour. Of course, the Federation flags are included and both versions I speak of here are shown.

In the text, mention is made of a change in the stripe ratio of 10-3-10-3-10 to 11-3-11-3-11 (although the text gets it the wrong way around) on a flag of 1 : 2 ratio. The first version shows a “fat” five pointed star pointing upwards and the second shows a “regular” five- pointed star rotated 90 degrees CCW to point to the hoist to form the version we are acquainted with.

The existence of the “fat” star version is proven by an article in the Flag Bulletin Vol VII No 1 (1968) within an article on the same subject. Here, the author confirms that the flag's stripe ratio is indeed 10-3-10-3-10. No mention is made of a change in the flag in 1962 however.
Martin Grieve, 21 March 2018

Federation of South Arabia (1962-1967)

[Federation of South Arabia] image by Martin Grieve, 21 March 2018

Member States

Jaume Ollé, 2 July 1996 and Herman De Wael, 7 October 1997

Air Force Fin Flash

[FSA Air Force fin flash] image by Dov Gutterman

Air Force used a 1:1 version of the national colors as fin flash.
Dov Gutterman, 11 February 2000