The flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo reflects its troubled past as well as its aspirations for the future. The country is located in central Africa. It is connected to the Atlantic Ocean by a land corridor. Several nations border the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including Rwanda, Uganda, and the Republic of the Congo. The latter is a separate nation even though the name is similar.
The current Congo national flag was adopted in 2006 at the same time a new constitution went into effect after years of political instability and war. The flag is sky blue in color. There is a yellow five-pointed yellow star in the upper left-hand corner. A red stripe runs diagonally from the lower left-hand corner to the upper right-hand corner. The red stripe is bordered above and below by narrow yellow stripes.
The sky blue color symbolizes peace and hope. Red represents the blood shed by people trying to bring order and freedom to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Yellow on this flag signifies prosperity. The yellow star represents unity and hope for a better future.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo was a colony of Belgium prior to 1960. Since independence, there has been a series of national flags. The first was flown from 1960 until 1963. This original flag was royal blue with a yellow star at the center. A vertical row of six smaller yellow stars adorned the left-hand edge of the flag. In 1963 a new flag was adopted that closely resembles the current flag. The main difference is that the background color was royal blue instead of sky blue.
The country’s name was changed to the Republic of Zaire in 1971 by Joseph Mobutu. He seized power in 1965 and ruled as dictator until 1997. Mobutu also changed the flag in 1971. The flag of Zaire was green, with a yellow circle in the center. A black hand holding a torch with a red flame was superimposed on the circle. Following Mobutu’s fall from power in 1997, the original 1960 flag was used until 2003. In that year the royal blue color was changed to sky blue. The current flag became the national emblem in February, 2006.