The national flag of Uzbekistan was introduced when the country gained it’s independence in the year 1991. It consists of three horizontal stripes colored blue, white, and green respectively. The white stripe is central and divided by two red lines.
The image in upper left hand corner, called the canton, depicts a white crescent moon and twelve stars. The stars are broken into three horizontal layers.
Until achieving independence in 1991 the country that is now known as Uzbekistan was under Russian rule as part of the Soviet Union. The country separated three months prior to the Soviet Union’s dissolution and held a nation wide contest to create a flag that symbolized Uzbekistan’s new found national identity.
The flag’s overall design is highly symbolic and reference a host of political and cultural meanings specific to the country of Uzbekistan. For example, The crescent moon in the corner is a reference both to the country’s rise as an independent nation but also a reference to the countries cultural background. Uzbekistan, after all, borders both Russia and the Middle East and is an area of heavy mixing between the two cultures resulting in a predominantly Muslim population. Thus, the Crescent Moon is also a reference to Islam
The combined colors of blue white and green reference nature and the environment with blue symbolizing water and sky, white symbolizing peace, and green symbolizing earth. The presence of the twelve white stars are another reference to Islam, reflecting the Islamic calendar as well as culturally significant constellations.
It is natural for a region with such complex history to go through a variety of flag designs over time as a reflection of social or political change. While the flag cited above is the only official flag for the country of Uzbekistan, the design is clearly based on flags which represented the region before Uzbekistan was officially formed as an independent nation. The flag’s blue coloration is based on the banner of a 14th century ruler named Timur who held significant power in the region.
While Uzbekistan was still under the control of the Soviet Union it used a similar flag featuring the Hammer and Sickle motif, as well as the Communist Parties Red Star. The overall coloration was red but with a clear stripe of blue marching horizontally across the length. While this Uzbekistan flag was discontinued, certain design elements were clearly carried over.