The flag of Cameroon was officially adopted on May 20, 1975. The flag is rectangular with three vertical columns featuring the Pan-African colors green, red, and yellow. In the center of the red stripe is a five-pointed yellow star. Cameroon was the second modern African state to adopt these colors in their flag.
The first version of the Cameroonian flag was created in 1957, and contained just the green, red, and yellow stripes without the five-pointed star. The Pan-African colors of green, yellow, and red represent the French tricolore and have symbolic meaning. The green symbolizes hope for the future and also represents the southern forests. The yellow symbolizes prosperity and also represents the northern savanna. The yellow also represents the sun, which is the Cameroonian people’s source of happiness. The red symbolizes unity.
The star in the center of the red stripe also symbolizes unity. After World War I, the League of Nations divided the Cameroonian territory between France and Britain. In 1960, the French Cameroon succeeded in gaining independence from France and became the Republic of Cameroon. In 1961, after the government of Southern Cameroon decided to join Cameroon to form a federal government, the Cameroonian flag contained two yellow stars, placed in the upper part of the flag’s green stripe. In 1972, Cameroon formed a unitary government and the two stars were replaced with a single yellow star in the center of the red stripe.
Cameroon is often nicknamed “Africa in miniature” for its geographical and cultural diversity. Cameroon is bordered by Nigeria, Chad, the Central African Republic, Guinea, Gabon, Congo, the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Guinea. The country’s landscape contains deserts, mountains, rainforests, beaches, and savannas, and is home to more than two hundred ethnic groups.