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Ghana

Last modified: 2015-01-04 by ian macdonald
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Flag of Ghana CSW/-SW 2:3 image by Željko Heimer, 08 October 2001
See also: External links:

History and meaning

The flag was officially hoisted 1957.03.06, replaced shortly with version with white middle stripe 1964.01.01 to 1966.02.28, when this flag was reintroduced. The flag is national flag on land and state ensign. Proportions 2:3.
Željko Heimer, 04 July 1996

The Album 2000 [pay00] says:
National Flag shows a 2:3 red over yellow over green tricolour with black star in the yellow stripe touching the edges of the other two stripes. A note to the figure explains that the presidential flag is the same, only with golden fringe.
Željko Heimer, 08 October 2001

According to the official site, the flag designer was a Ghanaian, Mrs. Theodosia Salome Okoh.
Dov Gutterman, 13 March 2002

It uses Pan-African colours, with black star for being the first independent African nation of the 20th century.
David Kendall, 01 October 1996

It is believed that the black star on the flag of Ghana, the lone star of African freedom, is taken from the flag of the Black Star Line. This shipping line was founded by Marcus Garvey in June 1919 and would take new negro colonists back to Africa. It closed in 1922. The flag was green with a red saltire and a large black star in the centre.
Mark Sensen, 20 June 2000, quoting from [cra93b]

According to Smith [smi75b], «the green-white-red horizontal of the ruling Convention Peoples’ Party and the green-yellow-red of Africa’s oldest independent nation (Ethiopia) combined to inspire Ghana’s flags.»
Ivan Sache, 26 June 1999

The flag of Ghana consists of red, gold and green horizontal strips with a five pointed black star in the centre of the gold stripe. The color red represents the blood of those who died in the country’s struggle for independence: gold stands for the minerals wealth, while green symbolizes the rich forest. The star represents the lone star of African freedom.
Dov Gutterman, 19 December 1998, quoting from Johnston’s page

On 23 November 1958 a Ghana-Guinea Union was formed with a flag like that of Ghana but with two black stars.
Mark Sensen, 20 June 2000, quoting from [cra93b]

The protocol manual for the London 2012 Olympics (Flags and Anthems Manual London 2012 [bib-lna.html] 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 Ghana, PMS PMS 032 red, 109 yellow, 355 green and black. The vertical flag is simply the horizontal version turned 90 degrees clockwise.
Ian Sumner, 11 October 2012

See also:


Former State ensign

There was also a blue ensign (state ensign) used in 60’s and abandoned sometimes letter, maybe around 1985.
Obscura Secundus, 13 October 2001, quoted by Željko Heimer

I don’t find it in [smi75c] nor [smi82], though, so maybe it was abandoned even earlier. Anyone has some info on it? How would it look like (ratio, size of the flag in canton, eventual fimbriation)? I’d guess that there may well have been in both in yellow and white variant, if used in 1960’s.
Željko Heimer, 13 October 2001


Civil ensign (obsolete)

Civil ensign image by Željko Heimer, 08 October 2001

The Album 2000 [pay00] says:

3. Civil Ensign. ---/C-- ≅5:8

Red ensign with the national flag in canton finbriated with black line. The book [smi82] gives ratio as 2:3 (also for naval ensign), but ≅5:8 would cover that too. I am somehow ready to bet that there are more 2:3 flags in use then those that are 5:8.
Željko Heimer, 08 October 2001

Smith [smi75b] and Album des Pavillons (correction #26, September 1996) show a thick black fimbriation. Pederson [ped70] describes (without image) a civil ensign of the same pattern, but with proportion 5:8.
Ivan Sache, 26 June 1999

Politikens Flagbook [rya00a] depicts this flag with merged red, just like in the white ensign for Warships.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 08 October 2001

The Merchant Flag is like the British Red Ensign, but has the National Flag of Ghana in the canton, with a narrow black fimbriation.
Santiago Dotor, 23 February 2000, quoting [c2b81], page 151

It appears that the Ghanaian Red Ensign may have become obsolete in 2003, with the passage of a new shipping act. The old Shipping Act of 1963 provided at section 183 that the Ghanaian Red Ensign was proper national colours for Ghanaian-registered ships. The new (2003) merchant shipping act says that the Ghanaian National Flag is the proper national colours for Ghanaian registered ships.
James Liston, 24 February 2014

 The Ghana Shipping Act, 2003 (no. 645 of 2003), is now ten years old, and it provides:
93. National colours
The national flag of Ghana is declared to be the national colours for all Ghanaian ships
94. Right to fly the flag of Ghana
(1) A ship registered or licensed in accordance with this Act as a Ghanaian ship shall fly the national flag of Ghana.
(2) Subsection (1) shall not be construed as prohibiting ships which are exempt from registration or licensing under this Act from flying in Ghanaian waters the national colours of Ghana.

Prior to that, the Merchant Shipping Act of 1963 provided for a Ghanaian Red Ensign as the civil ensign. The 2003 legislation,
however, appears to have made this flag obsolete.
James T. Liston, 1 April 2014


Civil air ensign

Civil air ensign image by Željko Heimer, 08 October 2001

Light blue field with national flag in canton and a large black star at lower fly. (Source: [smi75b])
Ivan Sache, 26 June 1999

Both the Air Ensign and the Civil Air Ensign are light blue with the national flag in canton and with an emblem in the fly: Air Force uses its aircraft marking, while the civil air ensign has a black star.
Željko Heimer, 08 October 2001


President’s flag

President’s flag image by Željko Heimer, 30 July 1996

Blue with two eagles holding a disc looking like a shooting target with Teuton cross in the middle and a black star above. Over the emblem it is written ’PRESIDENT’ and under it in two rows ’OF THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA’.
Željko Heimer, 04 July 1996

Smith [smi75b] says regarding the Presidential flag: "The flag is composed of authentic Ghanaian symbols, meaning sovereignty, good luck and sanctity." Therefore this “Teuton cross’ has apparently here nothing to do with German symbolism. The proportions are "approximately 7:12", precisely like in the image above.
Ivan Sache, 26 June 1999

Two days ago I watched a British (?) TV documentary [Ghana: Presidential , from Discovery Channel, by Forrest Sawyer, 2005] made in 2005 set in Ghana, showing a a couple of interesting flag scenes. The most important thing in this film was some footage of an interview to President Kufuor, in his office, where on the background was partly (but undoubtedly) visible the blue flag with large yellow and red emblem with two eagles.

The Album 2000 [pay00] presents a fringed national flag as the presidential flag of Ghana. Regardless of the use that a fringed
national flag may have, even if reserved in exclusivity for the President in some situations (car flag, rank ensign etc.), it is clear that the blue flag is in use, and it can only be the Presidential flag (especially since it is written on it!).
António Martins-Tuválkin, 3 December 2006

 PR flag image by Željko Heimer, 08 October 2001

The Album 2000 [pay00] has a note at the national flag image explaining that the presidential flag is the same, only with golden fringe. Any idea why the presidential flag was changed?
Željko Heimer, 08 October 2001


Coat of arms

The coat of arms of Ghana consists of a shield divided into four quarters by a green St. George’s cross rimmed with gold. In the top left-hand quarter is a crossed linguist staff and ceremonial sword on a blue background, representing local administration. In the top right-hand quarter is an heraldic castle on an heraldic sea with a light blue background, representing national government. In the bottom two quarters are a cocoa tree and a mine shaft representing the wealth of the country. In the centre of the green St. George cross will be found a gold lion, representing the continued link between Ghana and the Commonwealth. Surmounting the shield is a black five pointed star rimmed with gold, representing the lone star of African freedom, and this star stands on the wreath to the colors red, gold and green which again stand on the top of the shield. Under the shield will be found the motto FREEDOM AND JUSTICE. The supporters of the coat of arms are two eagles, colored gold. Around each eagle’s neck hangs a black star suspended from a ribbon of Ghana’s colors.
Dov Gutterman, 19 December 1998,
quoting from Johnston’s page


Flag related national anthem lyrics

The national anthem of Ghana mentions the flag and the black star in its third stanza:

Raise high the flag of Ghana,
And one with Africa advance;
Black Star of hope and honour,
To all who thirst for liberty;
Where the banner of Ghana freely flies,
May the way to freedom truly lie
Source: Johnston’s page (the source says "Where the naner of Ghana freely flies", but I assumed "banner" was intended and corrected the text accordingly).
Ivan Sache, 22 April 2002

 Lyrics relating to the flag in the first verse of a 1956-1960 song:

Lift high the flag of Ghana,
The gay star shining in the sky,
Bright with the souls of our fathers,
Beneath whose shade we'll live and die!
Red for the blood of the heroes in the fight,
Green for the precious farms of our birth-right,
And linked with these the shining golden band
That marks the richness of our Fatherland.
David Kendall, 21 July 2006