The Flag of Qatar: History, Meaning, and Symbolism

Written by Doug Shaffer
Updated: June 4, 2023
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Qatar is a sovereign country in the Middle East, occupying a small Persian Gulf peninsula. The country has built an impressive economy and consistently ranks among the top 20 richest nations in the world. The region owes its wealth to the region’s vast oil and gas reserves, accounting for over seven-tenths of government revenue. 

Qatar has a rich history, dating back to prehistoric times, with influences from various civilizations and cultures. In this article, we’ll explore how these experiences have shaped the Flag of Qatar’s history, meaning, and symbolism.

The History of the Flag of Qatar

At inception, Qatar’s flag was plain red, which corresponded with the red banner used by Qatari ibn al-Fuja’a. This Kharjite leader ruled over the Azariqa faction of the Kharjites in 685 CE. From 685 until the middle 1800s, the country had many iterations of flag designs spread throughout different Qatari tribes.

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In 1851, the founder of modern Qatar, Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani, united all the Qatari tribes under a single flag. The unified flag features a white vertical stripe at the hoist on a plain red background. 

Since then, the flag has undergone several modifications with concepts of diamonds, a nine-pointed serrated edge, and the word “Qatar” appearing over time.

The current flag was first adopted in 1971, shortly after the country gained independence from the United Kingdom

Where Did the Idea for the Qatar Flag Originate?

The idea for the Qatar Flag originated from the former State of Qatar’s flag, which showcased a plain red flag with a white vertical stripe at the hoist.

In 1960, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Ali bin Abdullah Al Thani, made several key changes to the flag design. Many citizens supported his removal of the country’s name and the diamond pattern. The remaining features of the flag included a maroon background with a white nine-point serrated design. 

What Does the Flag of Qatar Symbolize?

The Flag of Qatar symbolizes the country’s heritage, culture, and aspirations. The maroon color symbolizes courage, sacrifice, and patriotism, while the white represents peace, unity, and harmony. The serrated edges of the white band represent the inclusion of Qatar as the ninth member state of the Emirates of Trucial Oman.

Did the Country of Qatar Ever Have Other Official Flags?

Yes — before adopting the current flag in 1971, the country had five other official flags, not including the individual flags of each Qatari tribe before the unification in 1851. 

The first official flag of Qatar was a plain red flag with a white vertical stripe at the hoist. The country used this version of the flag from the late 19th century until 1949. In 1949, Qatar introduced a new flag featuring a red background with a white serrated stripe on the left side. This design most closely resembles Qatar’s current flag.

Interesting Facts about the Flag of Qatar

Along with the many design changes, Qatar’s flag’s colorful history represents the citizens’ pride and devotion to the country. Below are a few interesting facts and information about what makes the flag of Qatar beloved by the country’s residents.

  • The Qatar flag has a name. In Arabic, it’s known as “Ladaam (Al Adaam),” which translates to “to the Qataris, since ancient times.” This name is a remarkable tribute to everyone who dedicated their lives to building Qatar into the nation it is today.
  • Qatar’s flag is one of the few national flags in the world that does not contain national symbols or emblems, such as stars, crescents, or animals.
  • The color of maroon used in the flag is known as maroon Qatar and commonly appears in the country’s national branding and advertising campaigns.
  • Qatar’s flag is flown prominently in many public places, including government buildings, schools, and sports stadiums.
  •  In 2013, Qatar broke the world record for the largest flag by creating a flag measuring 101,978 square meters and weighing a staggering 9.8 tons. 
  • Qatar’s flag is the only national flag in the world to feature a serrated edge. 
The Flag of Qatar is flown prominently in many public places, including on boats.

The Flag of Qatar is flown prominently in many public places, including on boats.

©Davor Flam/Shutterstock.com

A Symbol of Pride for the Nation of Qatar

The Flag of Qatar symbolizes the country’s rich history, culture, and aspirations. From its origins as a simple red and white flag to its current design, which incorporates several important symbols and colors, the flag has undergone significant changes that reflect Qatar’s journey toward independence and modernity.

Today, the flag proudly represents Qatar and its people, serving as a unifying symbol of national pride and identity.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Tatohra/Shutterstock.com


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