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Kingdom of Yemen (1918-1962)

Last modified: 2021-08-25 by ian macdonald
Keywords: sword | shahada | imam | stars: 5 (white) |
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[Kingdom of Yemen]
image by Vincent Morley, 05 February 1997 and António Martins-Tuválkin, 06 April 2016

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Description of the flag

The Kingdom of Yemen was never a British protectorate - it was nominally part of the Ottoman empire until 1918 and was independent thereafter. Independently, here were two British protectorates (known as the Eastern and Western Aden Protectorates) which contained 24 sultanates, emirates and sheikhdoms in the hinterland of Aden.
In 1962, the imam of Yemen was overthrown and the Yemen Arab Republic established.

The Yemeni flag which was adopted in 1927. The drawing is based on the illustration in National Geographic, February 1951 [kng51]. The National Geographic of September 1961 [u9s61] shows a flag of essentially the same design but with dimensions of 2:3 instead of 1:2.
The following text accompanies the drawing in the 1951 edition:

'The five stars represent the five natural geographic divisions of Yemen; they also recall the five dogmas of Islam and the five times a day the prayers are recited by the faithful. The saber, widely used as an emblem by Arabs, and the red field on which it is placed, are reminders to the people of the blood they have sacrificed in defense of the liberty and independence of their country.'

The flag was in use until 1962 when the imam was overthrown and the Yemen Arab Republic established. A civil war between republicans (supported by Egypt) and royalists (supported by Saudi Arabia) continued until 1970, with the royalist side continuing to use the flag of the kingdom.

Vincent Morley, 5 February 1997

Alternative design

[Alternative design]
image by Željko Heimer

Source: Knaurs Lexicon flag chart (1955) [d9e55]

Flag of the Imam of Yemen

The flag of Imam of Yemen used prior to the revolution was red, with in white the shahada in Arabic script (less artistic than in the Saudi flag)
Mark Sensen, 20 November 1995