The current flag of Sudan was adopted on May 20, 1970. The flag’s design is based on the Arab Liberation Flag which is shared by Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Sudan’s flag consists of equal, horizontal red, white, and black stripes with a green triangle at the hoist. This flag is composed of the Pan-Arab colors. Historically, these colors have been associated with both the Arab people and the religion of Islam for centuries. These colors stand for Arab unity and independence, and such, each color in Sudan’s flag is representative of Sudan’s culture and people. The red symbolizes Sudan’s struggle for independence. The red can also stand for the blood shed by martyrs. The white is symbolic of peace, optimism, and light. The white can also be representative of the 1924 nationalist group in Sudan called the White Flag League. This group was composed of Sudanese military leaders that made a strong push toward Sudan’s independence. The word “sudan” in Arabic means black, and so it follows, black is represented on the flag. Black also represents the black flag nationalists flew during the Mahdist Revolution in the late 19th century to oppose colonial rule. One of the revolt’s caliphs, Abdallahi ibn Muhammad, was given a black flag to rally recruits to the revolt’s cause. Historically, green stands for Islam and agriculture in Sudan.
Between 1899 and 1956, Sudan was governed jointly by Egypt and the United Kingdom and was known as Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. During this time period, Sudan did not have its own flag, but was represented by both the flag of Egypt and the United Kingdom. The two flags were flown together, but the United Kingdom’s flag always took precedence. Following Sudan’s independence in 1956, the people adopted a new tricolor flag of blue, yellow, and green in equal, horizontal stripes. The blue represented the Nile River, yellow was symbolic of Sudan’s deserts, and green stood for Sudan’s farmland. The military coup of Gaafar Nimeiry in 1969 brought about a change in flags. The current design, formally implemented in 1970, was the winner of a national contest to design Sudan’s new flag and has been in use ever since.