The flag of Ethiopia consists of three equal horizontal stripes – the top stripe is green; the middle is yellow; and the bottom stripe is red. Green symbolizes the land and its fertility, yellow for peace and harmony between Ethiopia’s various ethnic and religious groups and red represents power or African blood spilled in defence of the land. In the middle of the flag is the country’s coat of arms and it is often seen without the emblem.
Ethiopia is credited with establishing the green, yellow and red colors that have come to symbolize African independence and unity. Ethiopia is the oldest independent African state. The colors became known as Pan African colors. Sometimes black is added to these colors to represent the African people.
The flag’s tri-color (green, yellow and red) scheme has existed for several centuries. Generally, red represents blood spilled in defence of Ethiopia; yellow represents peace and harmony between Ethiopia’s various ethnic and religious groups; and green symbolize hope, or the land and its fertility. In 1897, a year after Ethiopia decisively defended itself from colonial Italy at the Battle of Adwa, the red, green and yellow were used for the flag of the Empire.
The royal flag often featured the emblem of a Lion of Judah, a crowned lion carrying a cross centred in the banner’s yellow mid-section. The flag is understood to be a link between the Ethiopian church, the peoples, and the nation that was united. The processional cross carried by the lion was the former “flag” or symbol of Ethiopia, and has been in use since at least the early 17th century, as well. Whilst red is currently featured at the bottom of the horizontal tricolour, this was reversed until the mid-19th century. Upon gaining independence from colonial rule, several newly-established countries in Africa adopted these three colours in homage to Ethiopia’s resistance against foreign occupation. When adopted by Pan-Africanist polities and organizations for their activities, the colours are often referred to as the Pan-African colors.
We may not solve all the problems that were created in the past fifty years overnight, but we sure can lay down a strong foundation for the next generation to solve them.