The flag of Armenia was adopted on August 24, 1990. The flag is rectangular and a horizontal tricolor. The top stripe is red, the middle stripe is blue, and the bottom stripe is gold.
The colors on the Armenian flag have symbolic meaning but the exact interpretation varies. According to the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, the red stripe has five meanings: it represents “the Armenian highland, the Armenian people’s continual struggle for survival, maintenance of the Christian faith, Armenia’s independence, and freedom.” The blue stands for the Armenian people’s determination to live under peaceful skies. Finally, the orange represents the Armenian people’s creativity and hard-working attitude.
Another tradition presents a slightly different interpretation. The red stands for the bloodshed and lives lost by Armenian soldiers in wartime. The blue represents the sky, and the orange represents the fertility of the Armenian soil and also the agricultural workers.
Previous versions of the Armenian flag are very different from the country’s current banner. The earliest Armenian flags used in ancient times varied by dynasty. The flags would usually include a symbolic animal—a dragon, eagle, or lion, for example—on a solid background.
In the nineteenth century, Armenia split between the Persian and Ottoman Empires and the region did not wave a flag for most of the century. In 1885, however, the Armenian Students Association of Paris requested an Armenian flag to fly at the French writer Victor Hugo’s funeral. Father Ghevont Alishan, an Armenian Catholic Priest, designed Armenia’s first tricolor flag with red, green, and white stripes. Alishan designed the flag with intentions of the red stripe symbolizing “Red” Sunday (the first Sunday of Easter) and the green band symbolizing the “Green” Sunday. Alishan chose white was chosen arbitrarily to complete the flag.
When Armenia gained independence on May 28, 1918, the Democratic Republic of Armenia adopted the first version of the modern Armenian flag. The flag was officially adopted again in 1990 by the Armenian Supreme Soviet (the Armenian legislative body) with a slightly different ratio than the original 1918 flag.