The Flag of the Republic of Congo: History, Meaning, and Symbolism

Written by Taiwo Victor
Published: December 1, 2022
Share this post on:

The Republic of the Congo, often known as Congo-Brazzaville, Congo, or the Congo, is a nation on the west bank of the Congo River in Central Africa. The country is named after the Congo River, which, in turn, derived its name from the Bantu kingdom of Kongo, which sat at the mouth of the river at the time of the Portuguese’s initial settlement in 1483 or 1484. It was known as the French Congo or Middle Congo, while it was a colony of France. As Brazzaville is the name of its capital city, it is occasionally referred to as Congo (Brazzaville) or Congo-Brazzaville to distinguish it from the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo.

This article will focus on unraveling the history and meaning of the country’s flag. Going through the country’s history is necessary to understand the country’s decision for a flag. Let’s go!

Characteristics of The Republic of the Congo 

The Republic of the Congo has a total area of 132,046 square miles, with a population of over five million people.

©Enrique Ramos/

Population-wise, the Republic of Congo is a small country as it is sparsely populated. With a population of a little over five million people, the Republic of the Congo has a total area of 342,000 km² (132,046 square miles), of which 500 km² (193 square miles) is water, while 341,500 km² (131,853 square miles) is land. More than a third of the country’s population lives in the capital city, Brazzaville. The country’s capital city is also its largest, with a metropolitan population of over 1.5 million.

Brazzaville is located in the southeastern corner of the country and is a major inland port on the Congo River. Congo’s borders are Cameroon to the northwest, the Central African Republic to the north, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the east and south, the Angolan exclave of Cabinda to the southwest, and Gabon to the west. 

Inhabitants of Congo who identify as Kongo make up almost half of the population. Only a small portion of the Europeans who lived in the Congo before the civil war in the late 1990s — many of whom were French and lived in the big cities — remain. Because of colonial involvement, the official language of the Republic of Congo is French. The majority of the other languages are Bantu languages, with Kituba and Lingala serving as the nation’s two official languages. Christianity is the predominant religion in the Republic of the Congo. Most of the Christian population is Roman Catholic, while a large percentage of the remaining is shared among other Christian sects, and a minority practices Islam. 

Founding of The Republic of the Congo

The Pygmy people, around 1500 BC, were the early occupants of the region, but the Bantu-speaking people drove them out during the Bantu expansion. By the late 15th century, a Portuguese explorer arrived at the mouth of the Congo River, and this gave rise to a trade relationship between the Europeans and the Bantu kingdoms. Their trade relationship was based on slaves, commodities, and manufactured goods. 

By the late 19th century, the area that was north of the Congo River became a French territory after the French entered into an agreement with the king of Bateke, a leading kingdom in the region then. However, the king died later on, but this tragedy did not cause an end to the already-established relationship between the French and the kingdom. This Congo Colony was first referred to as French Congo and then as Middle Congo in 1903. The indigenous population was brutally treated as a result of early French attempts to exploit the area. By 1910, the French had united Congo with neighboring possessions to form the French Equatorial Africa Federation, which had Brazzaville as its capital.

Congo became a republic inside the French Community in 1958, and on August 15, 1960, Congo gained full political independence. Also, under the People’s Republic of the Congo, the nation existed as a Marxist-Leninist state from 1969 to 1992. The nation belongs to the Non-Aligned Movement, the Economic Community of Central African States, La Francophonie, the African Union, and the United Nations. Additionally, the country now ranks as the fourth-largest oil producer in the Gulf of Guinea, contributing to some of its wealth.

Meaning and Symbolism of the Flag of The Republic of the Congo

The three colors used on the flag are connected to the Pan-African movement, enabling the people of the Republic of Congo to stand in solidarity with the rest of Africa.

© Brumby

The Republic of the Congo’s national flag is composed of a yellow band that runs diagonally from the bottom hoist side corner to the top right corner, with a green upper triangle and a red lower triangle. The country’s agriculture and woods are both represented in the green portion of the flag. The yellow stripe symbolizes the noblest qualities and love of friendship of the Congolese people. When the flag was created, no particular symbolic meaning was given to the red portion of the flag.

The three colors used on the flag are also connected to the Pan-African movement, enabling the people of the Republic of Congo to stand in solidarity with the rest of Africa. It is also the only African flag with the Pan-Africanist colors in a diagonal pattern.

History of the Flag of The Republic of the Congo

The Republic of the Congo is one of the few African countries that had a flag even before any European influence or colonization. The history of Congo flags dates back to the 17th century to the first flag ever used in the region. This flag was originally depicted as a red X on a white background; however, this flag was no longer flown when France took over the Congo. The French flag served as the region’s official flag during that time, as the French authorities forbade the Congo from having its own colonial flag in order to prevent the local populace from feeling too nationalistic and starting a revolt. 

When the Congo became a French autonomous entity in 1959, it adopted a new flag of its own. The flag, which was approved in 1959, was comparable to the one used now, but it also had the French Flag to its left. By 1968, a coup took place in the country, and the People’s Republic of Congo was founded. The new flag, which was chosen to represent revolutionary change, was modeled after the Soviet Union’s flag. This flag featured a red backdrop with a yellow five-pointed star, a yellow hammer, and a green wreath. 

The People’s Republic of the Congo disintegrated in 1989 as a result of a revolution, giving birth to a democratic nation. The National Conference oversaw the shift to a democratic administration, and two years later, on June 10, 1991, it re-elected the 1959 flag.

Up Next:

Animals in the Republic of Congo

6 Countries With Blue and Yellow Flags, All Listed

29 Different Countries with Red, White, and Blue Flags

The Flag of the Democratic Republic of Congo: History, Meaning, and Symbolism

More from A-Z Animals

The Featured Image

Render of the Republic Congo flag flutters in the wind close-up, the national flag of Republic Congo Flutters in 4k resolution, close-up, colors: RGB.
The flag of the Republic of Congo has a yellow band that runs diagonally from the bottom hoist side corner to the top right corner, with a green upper triangle and a red lower triangle.

Share this post on:
About the Author

For six years, I have worked as a professional writer and editor for books, blogs, and websites, with a particular focus on animals, tech, and finance. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games with friends.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

  1. , Available here:
  2. , Available here: