We regularly see the flags of various nations, they are part of the world's collective culture and heritage, but we don't often think about what they stand for and why they look the way they do.

However, every flag has a story that explains how it came to be what it is today, and the flags of the Middle East and North Africa are no exception.

The shared history and culture of the Arab World can be seen in flags across the region, as well as the unique identity of each nation. These are the stories of five of the regional flags.


Egypt's flag had undergone many changes throughout its history. The red color and Islamic crescent dominated the flag from the period of Ottoman rule until Egypt's monarchy was established when it became a green flag with the crescent still the main symbol.

The current flag was adopted in 1984 when the country became the Arab Republic of Egypt. The red symbolizes struggle and pain, particularly those endured during the monarchy's time and the British occupation of the country. The white symbolizes peace and hope, while the black represents the country's lost lives and dark times.

The golden eagle in the center is seen by some as a symbol of the Egyptian Sultan Saladin who occasionally used it, but is mostly considered to symbolize strength and beauty, which are prominent qualities of the preying bird.

The eagle also reflects the country's ancient Egyptian origins as birds were significant in ancient Egypt, some were considered sacred, and have remained of important cultural relevance to this day.


Lebanon's flag has also undergone various changes throughout its history, but it has maintained bright colors and unique symbols over the ages.

The current flag was adopted in 1943. The white represents snow symbolizing purity and peace, while the red symbolizes the blood lost to protect the country throughout its successive invasions.

The Lebanon cedar, a treasured national icon that distinguishes Lebanon's snow-capped mountains, takes up most of the flag. It symbolizes longevity, resilience and hope.


Jordan's flag, adopted in 1928, is based on the Flag of the Arab Revolt. It was a flag used during the 1916 Arab Revolt that fought for independence from the Ottoman Empire's Turks and a unified Arab state. It also inspired the flags of Kuwait, Palestine and the UAE.

The Flag of the Arab Revolt was designed to represent Arab identity, that's why it consists of the Pan-Arab colors, black, white, green, and red, which represent the eras of the Arab World's history in which they were used and the rulers who used them.

Jordan's flag takes some of those elements, as the black also represents the Rashidun Caliphate era and the Abbasid era, the white also represents the Umayyad era and the green also represents the Fatimid era.

The red chevron however, represents the Hashemite dynasty from which Jordan's monarchy descended. The white star symbolizes the unity of the Arab people, as well as humanity and humility. Its seven points are believed to represent the seven hills on which Amman was built.


Although Tunisia's flag underwent various changes throughout its history as well, it is the oldest current Arab flag as it was adopted in 1831. It is also the only current Arab flag to keep all of the features of the Ottoman Empire's flag: The white crescent, white star and red background.

The flag was adopted following the destruction of the Tunisian navy during the Battle of Navarino in 1827, when the Husainid Dynasty leader Al-Husayn II ibn Mahmud decided to create a flag to for Tunisia's fleet to distinguish it from others.

The red is believed to symbolize the struggle against the Turkish conquerors of the country, while the white disk represents the sun and symbolizes radiance. The Ottoman crescent and five-pointed star are considered Islamic symbols that represent unity in many Arab flags.


Morocco's flag, adopted in 1915, draws from the historical and cultural significance of the red color in Morocco. The color signified the prominent Islamic origins of the royal Alaouite family; it was used as the only feature of the flags of the country at some points.

In the current flag, the red symbolizes courage, strength and valor. The green pentagram in the center represents the seal of Solomon, which is the signet ring attributed to King Solomon in various religious traditions, including Islamic which is referred to by the green color of the star.