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Equatorial Guinea

República de Guinea Ecuatorial / République de Guinée équatoriale / República da Guiné Equatorial

Last modified: 2020-12-26 by bruce berry
Keywords: equatorial guinea | guinea ecuatorial | silk | unitad | pax | justicia |
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[National flag and ensign] 2:3~  Image by Željko Heimer, 23 Oct 2001
Flag adopted on 21 August 1979 and Coat of Arms adopted on 21 August 1979.   

See also:

Description of the flag

The flag of Equatorial Guinea is a horizontal tricolor of green over white over red, with a blue triangle at the hoist.  The coat of arms are to be found in the centre of the white stripe.  The arms are gray with silk cotton tree. Above are six yellow six pointed stars representing the mainland and islands which make up the country. Under shield is a motto: UNIDAD - PAZ - JUSTICIA (Unity, Peace, Justice). The flag was adopted at independence on 12 October 1968. During the dictatorship of Francisco Nguema (1972-79) the emblem on flag was changed, but the original 1968 coat of arms was restored after Nguema was deposed in August 1979.

The symbolism of the colours is as follows:

  • Green symbolises the natural resources and the flora and fauna of the country;
  • Blue symbolises the sea, which connects the mainland with the islands, which together form the country;
  • White symbolises peace; and
  • Red symbolises the struggle for independence.

Željko Heimer 14 Dec 1995

The construction details of the flag are given in Album des pavillons nationaux et des marques distinctives (National flags and distinctive markings) 2000 edition [pay00] as (2+2+2):9~ but I think this merely notes that the three stripes are of the same width and that:

  • shade of blue triangle approximates to Pantone 312c which is rather light. [vdv00] and [smi82] indicate a darker shade (navy blue);
  • The size ("height") of the triangle is given as being equal to a stripe height (1/3 of hoist). [vdv00] is quite similar while [smi82] and some other sources make the triangle much bigger (isosceles?); and
  • Position of the coat of arms is shown as being in the middle of flag and sometimes in the middle from the triangle to the fly edge.

[Civil flag and ensign] [Variant] 2:3~  Image by Željko Heimer, 23 Oct 2001

Album  [pay00] gives the flag without the coat of arms as being the "Unofficial Variant" for a civil flag and ensign.
Željko Heimer, 23 Oct 2001

The protocol manual for the London 2012 Olympics (Flags and Anthems Manual, London, 2012 [loc12]) provides recommendations for national flag designs. Each National Olympic Committee was sent an image of their flag, including the PMS shades, by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) for their approval. Once this was obtained, the LOCOG produced a 60 x 90 cm version of the flag for further approval. So, while these specifications may not be the official, government, version of each flag, they are certainly what the National Olympic Committee believed their flag to be.

For Equatorial Guinea : PMS 355 green, 293 blue, 032 red, 468 brown, 440 brown, 109 yellow and black. The vertical flag is simply the horizontal version turned 90 degrees clockwise.
Ian Sumner, 10 Oct 2012

Flag variant

image by George Lei Ren, 20 Feb 2015

I recently got a book in Chinese called 'Geguo Gaikuang' (or World Factbook) published in 1972 and found the Equatorial Guinean flag in that book different from that illustrated or described in any other source as illustrated above.

The flag is similar to the official version, but with the blue part being a right angle triangle and the coat of arms touches parts of the green and red stripes and is not just confined to the white strip.

I've no idea if or when this flag was in use, but considering the year of publishing of that book, I'm presuming it was between 1969 and 1973.  Can anyone shed some light on it?
George Lei Ren, 20 Feb 2015

As far as I can discover there are no official specifications for Equatorial Guinea, and the many flag book illustrations I have seen mostly differ as to the length of the triangle and the position of the arms.  My own specification was based upon an unsatisfactory official illustration and it places the triangle at one-third the flag’s length and centres the arms between the point of the triangle and the fly.  However, the main image on this page (based upon Album des Pavillons) shows the arms centred on the flag and the triangle at one-third the width.  It would appear that until official specifications are published, such variations will continue to be produced.
Christopher Southworth, 20 Feb 2015

The early history of the flag of Equatorial Guinea is vague. It was only on 08 October 1968, four days away from independence on 12 October 1968, that its parliament agreed on the design of the national flag.  Newspaper clippings from those days mention the description of the flag without the coat of arms. It looks like there was not much time to mass produce the flag design adopted by parliament and so many variants appeared.  A photograph published in the Het Vrije Volk newspaper in Rotterdam shows people holding and waving paper flags with three plain horizontal stripes. There is no triangle or arms on the flag.
Jos Poels, 21 Feb 2015

The flags which were used officially during the Independence celebrations of Equatorial Guinea in Santa Isabel (now Malabo), do not have a coat of arms as seen here in a photo taken on the Plaza de España.

In the October-November 1968 issue of the magazine La Guinea Ecuatorial is a photo of the government building in Santa Isabel on independence day (12 October 1968).  It clearly shows a flag flying without the coat of arms.
Jos Poels, 23 Feb 2015

Coat of Arms

Image by Željko Heimer, 23 Oct 2001

The coat of arms of Equatorial Guinea were adopted on 21 August 1979 and feature a silk cotton tree (the so called "God Tree") on a gray background.  The tree is where the first treaty was signed between Spain and a local ruler signifying the beginning of the colonial period.  Above the shield are six yellow six-pointed stars representing mainland and the five main islands which together comprises the country. Under shield is the national motto: UNIDAD - PAZ - JUSTICIA (Unity, Peace, Justice).  The Arms were originally at independence but were changed during the dictatorship of Francisco Nguema (1972-79) and were restored in 1979.

The coat of arms are found in the centre of the white stripe of the national flag.

The coat of arms in the above image is adapted from Corel Clipart collection.
Željko Heimer,
14 Dec1995

According to the website of the Government of Equatorial Guinea, the arms are based on the arms granted by the King of Spain to the town of Bata, now the largest town in the country  The shield portrays a "capoquero" (kapok) tree surmounted by six stars representing the six components of the country, Fernando Poo, Río Muni (the continental component of the country), Elobey Grande, Elobey Chico, Corisco and Annobón.  The kapok was nicknamed the "Tree of the Gods" in the 19th century as the Bonkoro swore loyalty to the King of Spain under such a tree.

Kapok (Ceiba pentandra (L.) Gaertn.) Family Malvaceae, is a tree native from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, and West Africa as well.  The tree is widely cultivated in southeast Asia (where it is known as Java kapok) for fibre.  Venerated as a sacred tree by the Mayas, Kapok is the national tree of Guatemala and Puerto Rico.
Ivan Sache, 10 Oct 2010