Flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

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The flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo was adopted on 20 February 2006. A new constitution, ratified in December 2005 and which came into effect in February 2006, promulgated a return to a flag similar to that flown between 1963 and 1971, with a change from a more royal blue to sky blue, which represents peace. Red stands for "the blood of the country's martyrs, yellow the country's wealth; and the star a radiant future for the country." [1]

[edit] Previous flags

The previous flag was adopted in 1997. It is similar to the flag used between 1960 and 1963. Originally, the stars on the left represented the six provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but this is no longer appropriate, as the Congo now consists of ten independent provinces and one independent city (Kinshasa). The flag is based on the flag which was originally used by King Leopold's Association Internationale Africaine (which was supposedly a humanitarian organization, but functioned mainly as a front for Leopold's exploitive economic interests in the Congo) and was first hoisted in 1877. The original design for the flag was allegedly created by the famed explorer Henry Morton Stanley and the layout consists of a blue background with a five-pointed gold star centered on it, with the star supposedly being symbolic of the "light of civilization" now shining brightly in Darkest Africa [2]. The same design was then implemented as the flag of the Congo Free State after the territory was recognized as an official possession of Leopold II at the Berlin Conference.

After gaining independence from Belgium on 30 June 1960, the same basic design was maintained, however, six stars were incorporated to symbolise the six provinces of the country at the time. This design was used only from 1960 to 1963.

The flag of the Second Republic of Mobutu Sese Seko became the official banner after Mobutu established his dictatorship. This flag was used from 1963-1971 and consisted of the same yellow star, now made smaller, situated in the top corner of the hoist side, with a red, yellow-lined band running diagonally across the center.

This flag was changed upon the renaming of the country to Zaire in 1971. The Zaire flag (also at right) was created as part of Mobutu's attempted re-Africanization of the nation and was used officially until Mobutu's overthrow in 1997.

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