The Flag of the United Arab Emirates: History, Meaning, and Symbolism

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Published: November 29, 2022
© CreativeBee Maroc/Shutterstock.com
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The flag of the United Arab Emirates has long been a source of great pride for Emiratis. Each of the seven Emirates flags is interchangeably used with the federal flag. An emirate is a historical example of a political-religious entity or territory. The national flag of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) features pan-Arabic colors of red, green, white, and black. The unification of the Arab emirates is the main theme of the flag’s four colors.

The UAE flag was established in 1971 by seasoned Emirati diplomat Abdullah Mohammed Al Maainah. Following the British Empire’s war on Ras Al Khaimah in 1820, six of the seven emirates agreed to the General Maritime Treaty, bringing them under British Protectorate rule and protection in the region. A white portion had to be put into the flag of each emirate. Because the British at the time did not acknowledge Fujairah as an emirate, it continued to fly its plain red flag. Are you curious to find out more? Continue reading as we explore the history, meaning, and symbolism of the UAE flag!

United Arab Emirates Flag History

Six of the sheikhdoms, or geographic regions governed by tribal chiefs known as sheiks, Abu Dhabi, Fujairah, Sharjah, Dubai, Umm Al Quwain, and Ajman—joined forces to form the United Arab Emirates. On November 6, 1975, Sharjah’s ruler, Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi, ordered the British-imposed White Pierced Red flag to be taken down in order to restore dignity to Sharjah’s residents. Up until then the people had been forced to salute the flag of the aggressors who had taken their flag away. On November 15, 1975, the federation flag was formally recognized as the new national flag of Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, and Fujairah—three of the current seven Emirates.

The Trucial States, also called the Trucial States of the Coast of Oman, are a group of tribal confederacies in southeast Arabia that the British government gave that name. The name was used to refer to the districts whose sheiks had protection pacts or truces with the British government between the early 1800s and 1892. The red, white, and blue triband with a seven-pointed star representing the seven sheikdoms was the final flag chosen to represent the Trucial States coalition.

seven flags of the United Arab Emirates
The flag of the United Arab Emirates features four colors: red, white, green, and black.

©Maciej Bledowski/Shutterstock.com

UAE Flag Meaning

The flag’s dimensions, design, and colors all directly reflect what it means to the United Arab Emirates. In the sections that follow, we’ll examine the many hues, what they each stand for, and the significance of the UAE flag’s sections and design.

Shape and Size

The national flag of the United Arab Emirates is rectangular and features the hues red, green, white, and black. Its four rectangular sections are separated into a length that is twice the size of its width. The first section is red and makes up the part of the flag that hangs closest to the pole; its width is equal to one-fourth of its length. The remaining area of the flag is made up of the last three parts, which are composed of three parallel horizontal rectangles. The highest rectangle is predominantly green, with a white middle and a black bottom.

The red stripe should be closest to the pole and the green stripe should be on top while flying the flag! To better comprehend the various elements of the UAE flag and why they are significant, let’s explore what each hue signifies.

UAE Flag Colors and Their Meaning:

Red: The courage, bloodshed, strength, power, and harmony of the Hashemite dynasty. The vertical red line of the flag’s crimson represents “together in unity” and stands for toughness, boldness, and fortitude. It symbolizes the sacrifices made by preceding generations in order to provide the groundwork for the Union.

White: The Umayyad dynasty’s honesty, cleanliness, peace, and purity. The color white represents charity and peace in the United Arab Emirates flag.

Green: The green bar of the flag of the United Arab Emirates, which symbolizes the prosperity of the country, is a representation of its natural riches and agricultural past.

Black: The Abbasid dynasty was united by the color black. Additionally, it represents mental toughness. It stands for the expulsion of enemies. The black stripe represents courage and strength. It demonstrates both the tenacity and opposition to injustices and radicalism of Emirati residents.

UAE Flag Symbolism

On UAE Flag Day, the nation’s flag is celebrated. Since the day’s inception in 2013, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE’s prime minister and ruler of Dubai, has observed it on the third of November. On this day in 2004, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan was inaugurated as the leader of the United Arab Emirates.

The history of the UAE has a direct impact on the flag’s design, colors, and use. The UAE’s people are represented by the flag, as are the prosperity, pride, integrity, safety, and happiness that have made the nation so great.

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Flag of the United Arab Emirates
Flag of the United Arab Emirates
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About the Author

A substantial part of my life has been spent as a writer and artist, with great respect to observing nature with an analytical and metaphysical eye. Upon close investigation, the natural world exposes truths far beyond the obvious. For me, the source of all that we are is embodied in our planet; and the process of writing and creating art around this topic is an attempt to communicate its wonders.

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Sources
  1. Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_the_United_Arab_Emirates
  2. Flags World, Available here: https://flagsworld.org/united-arab-emirates-flag.html