The Flag of Tunisia: History, Meaning, and Symbolism

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Updated: November 30, 2022
© Gimas/
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The Tunisian flag is rich in history, meaning, and symbolism. The center of the Tunisian flag is a white circle with a red crescent and a red five-pointed star surrounding it on three sides. The Punic state of Carthage, which was situated in the area of present-day Tunisia, had the crescent moon engraved on its standards and structures. However, due to this association, Tunisia did not select the symbol. The crescent and star have more cultural connotations than religious symbolism. But due to their extensive acceptance by Muslim countries like Tunisia, they have strongly come to be identified with Islam. Let’s delve deeper into the background, significance, and symbolism of the Tunisian flag!

Flag of Tunisia History

Flag of Tunisia
Silhouette of arms raised waving a Tunisia flag with pride.

©Ink Drop/

A simple crimson naval flag was flown in many Muslim nations around the Mediterranean Sea’s southern coast. Hussein II, the ruler of the Husainid Dynasty, chose to design a flag for the Tunisia fleet in order to differentiate it from other known fleets. This was after the defeat of the Tunisian naval division in the Battle of Navarino on October 20, 1827. The Husainid Dynasty’s supreme king had the foresight to incorporate a crescent moon and star onto the naval flag. The flag purportedly came into use in 1831, as claimed by the government.

The 19th century saw changes to the flag’s design, which continues to be in use today. However, there are contradictions found when the exact adoption time of the flag is looked into. According to reports, the Tunisian flag was unaltered while the country was ruled by France. According to the country’s constitution, the flag, having existed in this form during the French protectorate, was designated as the national flag of the Republic of Tunisia on June 1, 1959. On June 30, 1999, a special statute specified the flag’s dimensions and design, but the basic style of the flag basically remained unaltered.

Flag of Tunisia Meaning

flag of Tunisia
An image of the national flag of Tunisia symbol.

©Peter Etchells/

The five-pointed star serves as a symbol of the Five Pillars of Islam, which represent the fundamental principles that all Muslims uphold. The Five Pillars of Islam serve as the foundation for many Muslims’ ways of life.

Each of the Five Pillars has a unique meaning:

Pillar One – A Faith Testimony. This is the belief that only God is worthy of worship.

Pillar Two – Prayer. This denotes Muslims who offer five prayers daily.

Pillar Three – Supporting the Needy. A specific portion is given to those in need.

Pillar Four – the Ramadan Fasting Period. This represents the month of Ramadan when Muslims fast from sunup to sundown.

Pillar Five – the Annual Pilgrimage to Makkah. Muslims travel to Makkah for the annual pilgrimage in the 12th month of the Islamic calendar.

Size and Design

The red panel of the Tunisian flag is rectangular and has a 2:3 aspect ratio. A red rectangle precisely one-third the breadth of its length makes up the flag’s form. The middle of the flag is a white disk with a center at the point where the diagonals of the rectangle cross, and a radius one-third the length of the rectangle. A red five-pointed star sits to the right. The five points of the star are located on a notional disk. The star’s points are evenly spaced apart. Ancient Islamic symbols that are also regarded as good luck charms include the crescent and star on Tunisia’s flag.

Colors and Their Meaning:

According to legend, the red hue of the Tunisian flag represents the blood shed by the victims who perished during France’s 19th-century colonization of Tunisia. The Turkish flag has been red for millennia, and during the Ottoman Empire, many private and Tunisian ships both flew these crimson ensigns. The star on its left is surrounded by a crimson crescent that is created by the junction of two arcs, one outside and the other inside. The crescent and star, in addition to the color red, represent Tunisia’s connections to the Ottoman Empire. Tunisia was ruled by the Ottoman Empire from the 16th century through 1881.

A white circle or disc designates the flag’s center. Peace is symbolized by the color white.  It also symbolizes the fight against Turkish rule. The crimson crescent represents the moon and surrounds the star. There are many meanings associated with the crescent. It serves as a good omen as well as a traditional Islamic symbol. The crescent is referred to as “Osmanli” in Turkish.

Flag of Tunisia Symbolism

Tunisia flag on pole.
Tunisia’s flag symbolizes the brilliance of the nation and the 5 pillars of Islam.


The flag’s five-pointed star depicts the unity of all Muslims and the Five Pillars of Islam. The disc stands for the nation’s brilliance. The color red is used to represent the blood of Tunisian martyrs who fell in the Crusades just before the Ottomans arrived in 1574. The disk symbolizes the nation’s brilliance like the sun, the color white stands for peace, and the crescent and five-pointed star, respectively, signify the unification of all Muslims and the Five Pillars of Islam. The crescent is regarded as being lucky. It was widely adopted by Muslim countries and is now recognized as an Islamic symbol. 

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The Featured Image

flag of Tunisia
Tunisia, Tunis, Town Hall square, the Tunisian flag
© Gimas/

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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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