The Senegal flag was adopted in 1960 after Senegal declared its independence from the Mali Federation. They had been a part of the Mali Federation for only a short time. Previously, Senegal was a colony of France and, as such, the French tri-color flag flew over the country. The French refused to allow the colonies to fly their own flag because they fear that this would lead to nationalism. However, when Africa began to become decolonized Senegal briefly joined together with French Sudan and formed the Mali Federation.
The flag for the Mali Federation was inspired by French flag. It consisted of three vertical stripes, as the French flag did, however, instead of red, white, and blue, the colors chosen were the Pan-African colors of green, yellow, and red. In the center of the yellow stripe was a kanaga, or a stick figure that resembled a person. The union between French Sudan and Senegal lasted June 20, 1960 until August 20, 1960.
At this time, Senegal formed their own country and adopted their current flag. They kept the three vertical stripes of green, yellow, and red. However, instead of a stick figure in the center in the center yellow stripe, there is green five-point star in the middle.
The green stripe sits on the far left of the flag and symbolizes country’s major religion. Ninety-four percent of the inhabitants are Islamic and the green is reflective of that. It is also representative of progress and hope. The yellow strip sits in the middle of the flag and represents the successfulness and wealth of the nation. The people of Senegal believe that the wealth of nation came from the hard work of their people as well as the natural resources. In the middle of the yellow stripe, is the five pointed green star. The green star is also representative of the Islamic religion, unity, and hope. Green is also the color of the Islamic prophet. On the right side of the flag, sits the red stripe. The red stripe is symbolic of the color of blood, which is also the color of life. It also symbolizes the struggle of the people of Africa to become free from colonization.
In 2004, the President of Senegal tried to adopt a new flag, however, this failed because the country’s constitution declares the flag can only be changed through popular vote.