The modern Libyan flag is made up of three horizontal stripes of red, black, and green, with a white star and crescent moon emblazoned in the center. It was first adopted in 1951, with the creation of the Kingdom of Libya, and continues to be used in the modern era in spite of all the changes in the Libyan government.
Omar Faeik Shennib designed Libya’s flag for King Idris Al Senussi in 1951, when Libya gained its independence from Italy. He chose a red stripe for the flag to represent the blood of the Libyans who had died while the country was ruled by Italian fascists, and a green stripe to represent the new era of freedom and independence. The black field between the two stripes was drawn from the Senussi dynasty’s banner, which was an entirely black field emblazoned with a star and crescent. The star and crescent design is likewise present on the flag of Libya, both in honor of the Senussi banner and to represent the most common religion of the country, Islam.
The flag was used to represent Libya until the coup d’etat of 1969, when Muammar Gaddafi seized control of the country. He replaced the flag with one composed of three horizontal stripes of red, white, and black. The new flag was derived from that of the Pan-Arab movement, which was also the inspiration behind the flags of several other Arab nations. It remained in use until 1972, at which point the flag changed once more to include a golden eagle in honor of Libya’s membership in the Federation of Arab Republics.
Libya’s flag changed once again in 1977. The new flag was a simple green field with no emblem. The green color was chosen both because it was commonly used as a symbol of Islam, and because Muammar Gaddafi’s political party was strongly associated with the color.
The flag’s final change happened in 2011, when a rebellion against Gaddafi began. The rebels adopted the old flag of the Kingdom of Libya to contrast themselves with the government’s forces. The rebellion succeeded in deposing Gaddafi, and the new United Nations formally recognized their use of the flag during August of 2011. Libya’s flag has not changed since that time.