The flag of Morocco has a relatively simple design: it is a red flag with a green star in the center. But taking a closer look at the significance of this design and Morocco’s history of flags reveals a more complex picture. In this post, we’ll explore the history of the Moroccan flag and learn about its meaning in the process.
Morocco Flag Meaning and Colors
The flag of Morocco has been continuously in use since 1915 and features a green pentagram centered on a red background. There are various interpretations of the significance of the colors chosen for the flag, especially red.
Bright red or Pantone 7620 C is the official color of the flag, and it is a color that has a history of importance in Morocco. Perhaps most notably, it is associated with the royal ‘Alawid family and their dynasty. The family claims descent from the Islamic prophet Muhammad and has held positions of power in the region for almost 400 years. The current King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, belongs to the ‘Alawid Dynasty.
Red is also the color that was used by the sharifs of Mecca and the imams of Yemen, making it an important color in Islamic cultures. In addition to Islamic significance, the flag’s red has been said to represent valor, bravery, and strength.
Green is also a traditional color widely used in Islam. The green pentagram in the middle of the flag represents the Seal of Soloman, an Islamic symbol attributed to the Israelite King Soloman. The five points of the star symbol also represent the five pillars of Islam or the ideas of Love, Truth, Peace, Freedom, and Justice.
Morocco Flag Facts
Is Western Sahara part of Morocco?
Western Sahara is not legally a part of Morocco. The territory was a Spanish colony until 1975 when Spain withdrew and Mauritania and Morocco invaded and occupied the land.
Mauritania has since signed a peace treaty with the Polisario Front, representatives of the native Sahrawi people, and recognized the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) as an independent state. Morocco remains in conflict with the Polisario Front and continues to occupy a large portion of Western Sahara.
What is the star on the Moroccan flag called?
The green, five-sided star on the Moroccan flag is called the Seal of Solomon. It is an ancient symbol with significance in Islam, and the five points on the flag are said to represent the five pillars of Islam as well as the ideas of Love, Truth, Peace, Freedom, and Justice.
What is the national symbol of Morocco?
The national symbol of Morocco is the Barbary Lion, also called the North African Lion or Berber Lion, which has been extinct since the 1960s.
How old is the Moroccan flag?
The current Moroccan flag was created in 1915, meaning it will be 108 years old in 2023. It was created after the country became a French protectorate in order to distinguish it from the previous solid red flag.
History of the Morocco Flag
For many years after taking power in the 17th century, the ‘Alawid Dynasty used solid red flags. The use of solid-color flags was common practice by Islamic forces expanding westward through Africa during this time. Sometimes the flags would feature inscriptions from the Quran or Islamic symbols like the Sword of Ali or the Hand of Fatima. Some of the ruling dynasties also used symbols from Berber heritage, which predate Islam.
From 1912 until 1956, parts of Morocco were made to be the protectorates of France and Spain. During this time, the use of the formerly solid red flag was changed. The flag of Morocco currently in use was adopted in 1915 in the regions that France administered at the time. This involved the addition of the green Seal of Solomon to the middle of the red flag.
The flag’s designer was Mawlay Yusef, Morocco’s reigning sultan at the time. After gaining full independence from France in 1956, Morocco has continued to use its red flag with the green Seal of Solomon in the center.
Other Flags of Morocco’s Past
In 1921, the people of the Rif, a mountainous geographic region in northern Morocco, declared their independence from Spanish occupation and from the Moroccan sultan thus creating the Republic of the Rif. The Republic’s flag consisted of a red background and a centered white diamond with a green crescent and star in the middle. The Republic existed until 1926 when it was overcome by Spanish and French forces.
The Spanish protectorate in Morocco adopted its own flag in 1937 which consisted of a smaller green flag with a white Seal of Solomon located in the upper-left-hand corner of an otherwise solid red flag.
The Tangier International Zone was another region in Morocco with a unique status and its own flag. Tangier had long been a contact point between Europe and Morocco; there were many consulates in the city, and it was made the diplomatic capital of Morocco.
The zone around the city was made neutral and free from any military presence in 1923, and it was also established as a tax haven. The flag of the Tangier International Zone consisted of a green Seal of Solomon on the right half of the flag and a coat of arms on the left side of a red background.
Independence of Morocco
Morocco’s independence from colonial powers took several decades to manifest, but it eventually became its own sovereign state in 1956. The move toward independence took decisive steps and eventually succeeded while Mohammed V was the sultan.
Mohammed V of Morocco took the throne as Sultan of Morocco on the 18th of November in 1927 when he was just 17 years old. During his reign, Morocco saw occupation from several foreign nations, and Mohammed V eventually became a central figure in Morocco’s independence movement.
The Proclamation of Independence of Morocco, a document expressing the desire of Moroccan nationalists to have an independent state, was signed in 1944 and had the support of Sultan Mohammed V. Three years later, in 1947, Mohammed V gave two influential speeches at the Mendoubia and Grand Mosque of Tangier where he called for the independence of Morocco. Together, these two speeches are known as the Tangier Speech.
In the months and years leading up to and following the Tangier Speech, the nationalist movement in Morocco experienced rapid progress, and relationships with French authorities in Morocco became increasingly strained. With Mohammed V’s ties and commitment to the nationalist movement becoming stronger and more evident, riots broke out in Casablanca in 1952. Mohammed V gave the cause an international audience at the UN and received the support of the United States.
In 1953, French authorities forced Mohammed V into exile first in Corsica and later to Madagascar. In his stead, his first cousin once removed, Mohammed Ben Aarafa, nicknamed “the French Sultan,” took the throne. Aarafa was considered a puppet monarch used by France and was not popular in Morocco.
Mohammed V was allowed to return to Morocco in 1955, and negotiations for Morocco’s independence began the following year. In March of 1956, Morocco officially regained independence from France, taking the name of the “Kingdom of Morocco.” The Spanish protectorate was ended one month later, though coastal Ceuta and Melilla remained enclaves of Spain. Since gaining independence, Morocco has continued to use the red flag with a green star as its national flag.
Neighboring Countries of Morocco
Morocco is a landlocked country in northeastern Africa. It has coastlines on the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, and it shares land borders with Algeria, Western Sahara, and Spain. Since Morocco occupies much of Western Sahara, it also shares borders with Mauritania.
Its borders with Spain are located around the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla which lie along the coast in northern Morocco. Morocco still claims sovereignty over these regions, though they are currently controlled by Spain.
Northern Morocco is separated from the European continent by the Strait of Gibraltar, which is 58 kilometers (36 miles) long and narrows to 13 kilometers (8 miles) at the closest point between continental Europe and Africa.
Main Characteristics of Morocco
The Kingdom of Morocco, which has an area of 446,300 square kilometers, is a member of the Arab League, the Union for the Mediterranean, and the African Union. The capital of Morocco is Rabat, and there are 12 regions of Morocco that were established in 2015.
Morocco’s period of French occupation has contributed to significant influences on the culture and language. French language education is mandatory in schools, and about 32% of the population is French-speaking. The official languages of Morocco are Arabic and Berber, and the distinctive dialect group of Arabic spoken in Morocco is referred to as Darija.
Tourism is an important part of the Moroccan economy, and some of the most popular cities for tourists to visit are Casablanca and Marrakech, which rank among the most beautiful cities in Africa. More affordable than neighboring Europe, beautiful beaches, and rich culture are some of the many reasons to visit Morocco.
|Currency||Moroccan dirham (MAD)|
|Highest Point||Jbel Toubkal 4,165 m (13,665 ft)|
|Population (2022 estimate)||37,601,015|
|Total Area||446,300 km2 (172,300 mi2)|