The flag of Yemen is a horizontal tricolor flag with red, white and black bands from top to bottom. The flag was adopted in May of 1990, which was the same time that North and South Yemen were united as one country. The flag is basically the same flag as the one used by the Arab Liberation in 1952. That flag appeared after the 1952 Egyptian Revolution, which brought Arab nationalism to the forefront in the area. The flag used by the Arab Liberation inspired the flags of several other Arab countries, including Iraq, Egypt and Syria. The colors in the flag are red for blood and sacrifice, white for a shining future and black for the past.
Yemen was united in 1990 and the north and south sections used different flags before that time. North Yemen used a simple red rectangle as the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen between 1918 and 1923. In 1923, an Arabic inscription in white was added to the center of the flag. That was in use until 1927 and then it changed to a red flag with white stars in each corner and another in the top center. The primary center was taken up by a white sword. The Yemen Arab Republic between 1962 and 1990 used the red, white and black horizontal tricolor with a green five-pointed star in the center.
South Yemen’s flags were very different from the north. The Colony of Aden between 1937 and 1963 had a dark blue background with the Union Jack in the upper left corner and a circle in the right half of the flag depicting a two-masted ship on blue water. The Federation of South Arabia between 1962 and 1967 had a flag with a horizontal black band on the top, a thinner gold band beneath it, then a green band in the middle and another thin gold band and finally sky blue on the bottom. A white crescent with a tilted, white five-pointed star was in the center. The People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen between 1967 and 1990 had a flag with red, white and black horizontal bands on most of the flag, save for a sky-blue sideways triangle on the left hoist section. A tilted red five-pointed star was in the center of this triangle.