The Flag of Libya

There are 195 countries in the world today, each of which, presumably, has a unique national flag. Of all those flags, however, there is only one which is made up of one color and one color only, with no designs, insignias or other details whatsoever. The Flag of Libya consists of nothing more than a beautiful field of green. No eagles, coat of arms, rising suns or quarter moons. Just the simplicity that is the color green.

The color green is meant to signify the Libyan people’s devotion to Islam, the state religion. Green is also the national color of Libya and is symbolic of the “Green Revolution” of Muammar al-Gaddafi, Libya’s current leader. However, the flag of Libya was not always green. In fact, it once had a leafy palm tree at its center.

The history of the flag of Libya begins in the year 1918, when the short-lived Tripolitanian Republic in Western Libya had its own flag. The flag had a light-blue field and a green palm tree in its center. The palm tree also had a star on top of it, just like a Christmas tree. However, when the Tripolitanian Republic fell in 1923, this version of the flag of Libya was done away with.

Later, in 1951, when Libya gained its independence from Italy, the first flag of modern Libya was adopted. It featured a white crescent and star atop a field of red, black and green. This design was based on the Senussi flag, and is still used to this day abroad by the Libyan opposition movement.

After the 1969 Revolution, the official name of Libya was changed to Al-Jumhuriya al-Arabiya al-Libiya, or the Libyan Arab Republic. This new Republic abolished the previous flag of Libya and replaced it with the Arab Liberation Flag, which was first flown over Egypt after the Revolution of 1952. This particular flag was a tricolor with the colors red, white and black.

In 1972, Libya joined the Federation of Arab Republics and briefly adopted the flag of that organization. It featured a golden hawk holding a scroll with Arabic name of the Federation, Ittihad al-Jumhuriyat al-Arabiya, written upon it.

Finally, in 1977 Libya once again changed its name to Al-Jamahiriya al-Arabiya al-Libiya ash-Sha`biya al-Ishtirakiya, or the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. When this change took place, the all-green flag which continues to be flown today in Libya was also adopted.

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