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Mauritania - Former Flag

Last modified: 2017-09-04 by rob raeside
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[Mauritania - 1959 flag] [National flag and ensign] 2:3 by Željko Heimer
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The 1959 Flag of Mauritania

Adopted on 1 April 1959, Mauritania's flag emphasizes its African location, its majority Islamic faith and the name of the nation - Republique Islamique de Mauritanie. The colors green and gold are two of the Pan-African colors which reflect Mauritania's position as an African nation. The star and crescent are well-known Islamic symbols. The flag's proportion is 2:3.

Sources: Smith, Flags and Arms across the World, 1980 [smi80]; Talocci, Guideto the Flags of the World, 1982 [tal82]; Crampton, Flags of the World, 1990 [cra90i]
Paige Herring
, 13 June 1998

Carr 'Flags of the World', 1961, [car61] mentions "the Decree [on the adoption of the flag] signed on April 1st 1959". Rabbow, in 'DTV-Lexikon politischer Symbole', 1970 [rab70] states: 'The flag is anchored in the Constitution of 22 March 1959.'

Carr (op. cit.) has this: "An emerald green flag, proportion three to two, bearing a crescent and five-pointed star, in gold, in the center thereof." Znamierovski [zna99] has this: "The green and the crescent are both symbols of Islam; the green also represents hope for a bright future. The yellow stands for the Sahara Desert."
Jarig Bakker
, 5 July 2000

According to a friend from Mauritania, the flag was selected (perhaps also designed) personally by the former president Mukthar Ould Dada.
Jaume Ollé
, 11 July 2000

It appears there is no existing official specification of the construction sheet. In most examples, it seems that the larger circle forming the crescent very roughly (depending on the source) matches the "73 of the hoist. The inner circle, at least in Album 2000, seems to match 60% of the hoist. The star seems to be inscribed in a circle with diameter around 1/4 of the hoist. Also, it seems that the horizontal line of the star if extended would just touch the horns of the crescent - but these are all speculations.
Željko Heimer
, 19 June 2002

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 Mauritania: PMS 355 green, 109 yellow. The vertical flag is simply the horizontal version turned 90 degrees clockwise.
Ian Sumner, 11 October 2012

White Crescent and Star?

While watching SA Broadcasting Corporation Africa News Channel, a clip was shown of the swearing in ceremony of a civilian president for Mauritania. Numerous Mauritanian flags in view, but with the crescent and star in white instead of yellow.
There was another clip during the same TV report which showed a military band making music in a hall with the flags crossed and spread out mounted on the wall behind the band, and their charges also looked white to me with quite different lighting conditions.
Andries Burgers, 20 April 2007

In the photo of the ceremony at that was available at Yahoo News the crescent and star appear a light, metallic, gold. Probably the lighting and transmission process make them appear white on TV (similar illusion used to occur when the balcony hanging with Pope John Paul II's arms appeared on TV)
Ned Smith, 20 April 2007

Construction sheet

[Mauritania construction sheet]  by Željko Heimer

Christopher Southworth posted me a construction sheet of the Mauritanian national flag. His source is the Flag Institute specification as collected by Dr. Crampton. The specification gives a hoist of 192 units. It also shows the fly length as 192 units, but this must simply be an error or typo introduced at some point, as Christopher agrees, so I dismiss that and take the fly length as 288 (as 2:3 ratio is clearly stated). On the vertical median, 56 units from top is the center of a circle in which the star is inscribed, radius of it being 24. The same point is also center of the circle determining the upper edge of the crescent, with radius 60. The lower circle determining the crescent is 16 units lower (i.e. 72 from top) with radius 62.

Somewhat arranging these dimensions to get a nicer order on the sheet, and changing the unit by factor 4 (which gives smaller but still whole numbers), one gets a rather nice construction sheet that yields a quite well balanced flag. Of course, the question is where did Crampton got these dimensions?
Željko Heimer
, 27 January 2003