Last modified: 2014-06-06 by rob raeside
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A new flag was adopted on 22 Sep 1992, when Cabo Verde finally severed its links with Guinea-Bissau. The new flag has 10 stars representing the islands, set in a blue sea. Prior to 1992, the similarity between the two nations’ flags was explained by the fact that both were derived from the flag of the Partido Africano da Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde (P.A.I.G.C.), the liberation movement which succeeded in gaining independence for both countries (Guinea-Bissau in 1974, Cape Verde in 1975). P.A.I.G.C.’s aim had been that the two nations should unite, but this merger was scotched in 1980 by a military coup in Guinea-Bissau.C. Veale, quoting [dev94]
In the only interview I have ever seen with the designer of the flag of Cabo
Verde, Pedro Gregorio Lopes mentions that the ten stars represent the ten
islands of Cabo Verde. Find the whole interview here:
(On the right side of the page you can automatically change the language to your
Jos Poels, 27 January 2014
The Constitution of the Republic of Cabo Verde (Green Cape Islands),
adopted in 1992, defines under its Article 8th the new flag, very different
from the previous (which was similar to the
Bissau-Guinea flag, for historical reasons),
and said by some to be very
2. The National Flag is made up of five rectangles stacked along its length.
The upper and lower rectangles are blue, being the upper one half of the flag area and the lower one forth.
Separating the two blue rectangles, three stripes each being one 12th of the flag area.
The stripes adjoining the blue rectangles are white and the one between is red.
Over the five rectangles, ten yellow five pointed stars, with the upper apex in the 90 degree position, define a circle which center lies in the intersection of the middle line of the second vertical quarter, counted from the left with the middle line of the second horizontal quarter, counted from the lower edge. The star nearer from this edge is set inside an invisible circle which center lies on the middle line of the lower blue stripe.
Confused? Good — the original is also very “unclear”, to say the least. I’ll try a more clear and concise description:
Over a field of horizontal unequal stripes (from the top: blue, 6 twelfths of the flag’s height; white, 1 twelfth of the flag’s height; red, 1 twelfth of the flag’s height, white, 1 twelfth of the flag’s height; blue, 3 twelfths of the flag’s height), a circle of ten yellow five-pointed stars pointing upwards, with radius of 1/4 of the flag’s height and center 3/8 of the flag’s width from the hoist and 3/8 of the flag’s height from the bottom edge. (Stars’ sizes not specified, neither are the color shades.)
António Martins, 19 May 1997 and 29 March 2002
I have a specification by William Crampton,
which refers to a diagram and regulations issued at the time of adoption, and
the copy of a diagram which matches this, but, no actual confirmation that
this is actually the diagram to which he referred, and there was, regrettably,
no copy of the “regulations” as such on file. To make matters even more
uncertain, this gives us a third ratio of 10:17.
Whilst I had (and have) the greatest respect for William’s
professionalism, I have none the less attempted to get some sort of official
confirmation, but (as you would expect) without result.
Christopher Southworth, 20 January 2005
As per Crampton’s document Christopher cited: overall ratio
1000:1700, measured along hoist 250+83+83+83+500, along length 638+1062, stars
arranged on a circle of diameter 470 each inscribed in a circle with diameter
Željko Heimer, 29 January 2005
The details of the (unfortunately) unconfirmed specification I have are as follows:
On a flag of 1000 × 1700 units, the fly is given as 500-83-83-83-250, the distance to the centre of the imaginary circle which places the stars is given as 638 along the length and 275 up from the base, the diameter of that circle is given as 470, with each star contained within an imaginary circle of diameter equalling 91.
There are two slight problems [later fixed] with this when set against the prescriptions of the Constitution:
The figure of 638 is from the hoist to the centre point of the imaginary circle around which the stars are arranged, and almost exactly represents the Constitutional requirement of three-eighths the length (the exact figure on a flag of 1700 units long would be 237.5)? The widths given for the various stripes are indeed clumsy (and as I pointed out previously slightly inaccurate), but this could well be due to somebody — and we hope it was somebody official — having measured an actual flag, but they are (in any case) close enough to the legal stipulation of one-twelfth each for the narrow stripes.
A size of 1000 × 1700 units is hardly what I, or an other experienced
vexillologist, would choose for a flag whose legal requirements include 3/8,
1/2 and 1/12, but that is what the diagram uses. I must agree that a flag
240 units wide (and if we accept 10:17) 408 units long would be far more
sensible, and would give fly measurements of 120-20-20-20-60.
Christopher Southworth, 28 January 2005
As per Crampton’s document Christopher
cited the circle of stars is too small in accordance with the
(constitutional) requirement that the lowest
star should be in the middle of the blue stripe. This would be
achieved if the diameter would be 500. (In the image above, figures
reduced to 25/6 to achieve reasonable and yet exact numbers.)
Željko Heimer, 29 January 2005
Unless any of the authors above can give a source for those values
(which I doubt, considering their disparity), I believe that they are not
the ratio(s) prescribed by a lesser and more detailed law, but rather
(mis)measurements of real flags, manufactured under the legal license of
no fixed ratio.
António Martins, 24 January 2001
The size of the stars is also not mentioned in the
Constitution. As all the images I have seen
show the stars somewhat “entering” the red stripe, they must be
inscribed in circles with diameter larger than exactly 1/12 of the flag’s
height, perhaps 1/10 of the flag’s height.
Željko Heimer, 28 April 2001
I just saw on a large photo taken outside the City Hall of São
Filipe (Fogo island) the national flag of Cabo Verde. The stars are clearly
Y+, “dark” yellow (), with clear contrast on the white
António Martins, 30 November 2003
The protocol manual for the London 2012 Olympics (Flags
and Anthems Manual London 2012) provides recommendations for national flag
designs. Each NOC was sent an image of the flag, including the PMS shades, for
their approval by LOCOG. Once this was obtained, LOCOG produced a 60 x 90 cm
version of the flag for further approval. So, while these specs may not be the
official, government, version of each flag, they are certainly what the NOC
believed the flag to be.
For Cabo Verde, PMS 293 blue, 032 red, 109 yellow. The vertical flag is simply the horizontal version turned 90 degrees clockwise.
Ian Sumner, 10 October 2012
The colours of the flag and the coat of arms of Cabo Verde were specified in
the Graphic Design Manual (Manual de Normas Gráficas), which was adopted by
Government Resolution 37/2009 of 21 December 2009. The Manual was published in
Boletim official, I. Series No. 48 of 21 December 2009.
The colours according the Pantone colour scheme are defined as:
Black Black C
Jos Poels, 6 February 2014
Note that the constitutional description only refers to
areas and heights and uses independent horizontal and vertical measurements;
that means that no fixed proportions are specified — such a description
could apply to a 1:2, 2:3, 1:1 or most other flag formats!
António Martins, 19 May 1997
This was also the case of the previous flag:
The Constitutions of both Cabo Verde and Bissau-Guinea
prescribed «three equal area rectangles, one vertical to the hoist and two
horizontal to the fly», but Cabo Verde had a 2:3 flag (each rectangle
being 1×2) and Bissau-Guinea had a 1:2 flag (vertical rectangle 6×4
and horizontal rectangles 3×8).
António Martins, 19 May 1997
A starless flag pattern (but till now I never saw a real flag) is
some times used in several Caboverdean quasi official items, such as
national team uniforms and aircraft
livery. The former colonial master uses a simplified
national flag as its (very “official”) civil and military
aircraft fin flash and rudder mark, which
may (be thought to) exhert some influence.
António Martins, 17 October 2007
On these online photos
what seems to be a starless variation of the national flag; on these, at the
same location and time
see that the stars are there…
António Martins, 21 November 2006
photo showing a national flag without the ring of stars is shown in use
in a currency exchange rate table in Portugal.
António Martins, 17 October 2007
As on the flag, the stars represent the main islands
of Cabo Verde; the plumb-bob is symbolic of rectitude and virtue; the torch
and triangle represent unity and freedom.
Ivan Sache, 21 January 2001
Força Aérea Caboverdiana (formed 1982 — 6 cargo
and light planes) and Guarda Costeira de Cabo Verde (with 1 plane);
the book [cos98] reports a
national flag as fin flash (changed as the
flag changed in 1992). See on line photos with
markings, and the coast guard’s only plane with the
Dov Gutterman, 13 June 2004
At the official web site, the emblem
of the Civil Defense of Cabo Verde, almost identical to the
Portuguese one. I could not find any mention
to a flag, though.
António Martins, 14 January 2007