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Algeria: Independence war (1954-1962)

Last modified: 2005-04-02 by
Keywords: national liberation front | front de liberation nationale | fln | provisory government | crescent (red) | star (red) | star: 6 points (red) | hand (red) | soustelle | cross of lorraine (yellow) | stars: 7 (yellow) | cres |
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National Liberation Front (Front de libération nationale, FLN)

[Flag of FLN]

In 1954, the National Liberation Front was created from a group of diverse nationalist factions, except that of Messali Hadj (who formed the National Algerian Movement), and the armed struggle began.

The Front adopted the so-called flag of Abdelkader, precisely that created by Hadj in 1928, somewhat resembling the present Algerian flag. In all the available photos, the emblem appears at least as wide as in the present flag. The ratio is uncertain but could be 2:3 or 3:5. It is supposed that Hadj maintained the same flag certainly in 3:5.

Jaume Ollé, 24 December 2001, translated from Spanish by Joe McMillan

Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic (Gouvernement provisoire de la République algérienne, GPRA)

[Provisional government]by Jaume Ollé

A Committee for the Liberation of the Maghreb was created and later a National Committee of the Algerian Revolution. Deriving from the latter, an Algerian government in exile (Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic, Gouvernement provisoire de la République algérienne) was officially created in Cairo 19 September 1958, under the presidency of Ferhat Abbas, who on 27 August 1961 was replaced by the leftist Yusef Ben Jedda.

The flag of this government (GPRA) appears in a photo of 3 July 1962, when, with Yusuf ben Jedda in front of it, it arrived at the Algiers airport (Enciclopedia Europeo Americana, Appendix 1961-1962). Observe that the points of the star are shaped similar to those in the present flag, penetrating slightly into the green. The area of the crescent moon and star is somewhat less (a third of the hoist, while now it is half), and the width of the white is approximately twice that of the green.

Jaume Ollé, 24 December 2001, translated from Spanish by Joe McMillan

Nationalist flags

During the years of the liberation struggle diverse variations of the nationalist flag were used, but the majority were similar to the present national flag, notwithstanding that there are photos and reports of other flags.

[Nationalist flag #1]by Jaume Ollé

[Nationalist flag #2]by Jaume Ollé

[Nationalist flag #3]by Jaume Ollé

[Nationalist flag #4]by Jaume Ollé

French Governor's car flag

[Soustelle's flag]by Jaume Ollé

In January 1955, Jacques Soustelle was appointed Governor-General of Algeria. He used as a personal vehicle flag the French flag with his shield in the center (Vexillinfo 62). The shield is described thus:

Party, Gules a lion reversed Or (a reference to Lyon, Soustelle's birthplace), and Argent a cross of Lorraine Or (proclaiming his adherence to Free France), on a chief Azure seven stars (representing the rank of Governor-General) supported by a crescent (symbol of Algeria) and flanked by the initials J and S, all Or.

Source: Vexillinfo [vxf] #62.

Jaume Ollé, 24 December 2001, translated from Spanish by Joe McMillan

Erroneous flag report (1958): Coastal Zone and Sahara

[Erronoues flag of Algerian Sahara]by Jaume Ollé

After five years of war, on 16 September 1959, French President De Gaulle offered Algeria the right of self-determination. The President proposed that the Saharan regions would remain French and the rest of the country would be integrated into France or form a Federation.

The idea of holding onto the Sahara (where France was carrying out nuclear tests) with a scarce population and where sustaining a war against France would be difficult, was not new. In 1958 a chart of the flags of the world showed one distinctive flag for the coastal zone and another for the Sahara. That of the coast was the flag of the FLN, but for the Sahara there was a green flag with a red crescent moon.

Jaume Ollé, 24 December 2001, translated from Spanish by Joe McMillan