The flag of South Sudan was adopted in 2005 following the Second Sudanese War and the peace agreement that came out of it. The flag was used by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement before being adopted as the national flag. It bears some similarity to the Sudan flag. It consists of three horizontal bands and a triangle laying on its side with the point facing away from the hoist. The bands are black, red and green from top to bottom. The red band is bordered by two thinner white bands. The triangle is blue with a gold, five-pointed star in the center.
According to the South Sudan government, the colors in the flag have specific meanings and also represent the Pan-African colors that are common in the region. The black represents African skin and the red stands for the blood shed in sacrifice for the country. Green stands for the land and its resources, while the white stands for peace. The blue stands for the Nile River and its position as a life source for the region. Yellow represents the unity of the states making up South Sudan.
The flags of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement have varied over the years, mostly in color as the design of the triangle and three horizontal bands has remained the same. The flag of the Northern Bureau substitutes the bottom green band for a sky blue band. The triangle is changed to green and the gold star is encircled with a red background. The 1995 version of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement had a sky blue triangle, but everything else was the same. The 1983 version had a sky blue triangle with a red star.
Historically, Sudan was one country and the flag had the same construction of a triangle and three horizontal bands. However, the triangle was green and the bands were red, white and black. That flag is based more on Arab Liberation colors than the more Pan-African colors of what is now South Sudan. Another Sudan flag was in place between 1956 and 1970 and this was a horizontal tricolor with blue, gold and green bands from top to bottom.