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Historical flags of Burundi

Last modified: 2023-07-03 by
Keywords: burundi | sabena | drum | sorghum | karyenda | error | star: 6 points (fimbriated) | stars: triangle | stars: 3 | star: 6 points |
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Flag in 1959-1961 ?

[Flag of Burundi in 1959-1959 ?]
from World Statesman located by Zane Whitehorn, 11 Nov 2002

At the World Statesmen website there is a historical Burundi flag pictured above. The flag (which can be found at is purple with what I presume is a wheatstalk behind a red shield. The shield has interlocking white semicircles. The status of the flag is unknown.
Zane Whitehorn, 11 Nove 2002

Flag in 1961-1962 ?

[Flag of Burundi in 1961-1962 ?]
by Jaume Ollé, 20 Jan 1997

First the flag was vertical: red, white, green, with golden emblem (a drum) in center. This flag was in use around 1961-62. Posted to me by Jorge Hurtado, head redactor of Banderas.
Jaume Ollé, 20 Jan 1997 and 05 Sep 1998

The true source of this flag is very unreliable: If I remember correctly, this flag was redesigned after a newspaper report which said that «in Burundi was hoisted a flag of red, white and green with a Royal drum in it». So this flag might be nothing more than a wrong reconstruction of the 1962 flag.
Ralf Stelter, 13 Jun 1999

Flag in 1962-1966

[Flag of Burundi in 1962-1966]
by Pascal Gross, 22 Aug 1998

From 1962, when Burundi achieved independence from Belgium, until 1966 the country flew a similar flag, but in the centre was a drum, called the Karyenda, a traditional emblem of the Mwami (king). There was also a sorghum plant, placed in front of the Karyenda.
Stuart Notholt, 12 Mar 1996

On 1 de July the flag was changed to similar current pattern. In the center the plant and the drum (now in red). This flag show in the post stamp issued in the independence day. The image above is one of several known variants.
Jaume Ollé, 05 Sep 1998

From 1962 until September 1966 the circle in the center of the flag bore the royal drum and a sorghum, and from September until November 1966 the sorghum alone.
Nozomi Kariyasu, 12 Jan 2000, quoting from Mucha's Encyclopedia, 1985

W. Smith, 1980 also suggests this possibility of the Burundian flag being based on the old Sabena flag, but he also says that there is no proof of that.
Zeljko Heimer, 02 Aug 1996

I’m not convinced that the design is similar enough to that of Burundi to have inspired the latter.
Vincent Morley, 03 Nov 1997

Red drum variation

[Flag of Burundi in 1962-1966]
by Pascal Gross, 22 Aug 1998

The king (Tutsi) appreciated similarity between the red drum and a hutu axe, and ordered change, seems that to more complex drum that show in several books.
Jaume Ollé, 05 Sep 1998

[Flag of Burundi in c. 1965]
Blas Delgado Ortiz, 7 April 2001, based on image scanned by Jarig Bakker, 9 October 2000, from the flagchart of 'De Gei"llustreerde Pers', Amsterdam, 1965

When the monarchy was overthrown in 1966, these symbols were abandoned.
Stuart Notholt, 12 Mar 1996

Relative position of plant and drum

Has these images been drawn based on a real image of the flag, or by its common description «a sorghum plant in front of a drum»? The drum/plant emblem on top of the shield appears in Burundi coins issued in 1962. Other Burundi coins, issued in 1965, show similarly the drum/plant emblem on top of the shield. It seems strange that there is such a great difference on how the drum/plant is portrayed in the coins with the one portrayed in the flags.
Dimitris Kiminas, 25 Sep 2000

Royal Flag, 1962-1966

[Royal Flag of Burundi in 1962-1966]
by Jaume Olle, 31 Jan 2003

A royal standart from the Burundi king (1962-1966) was published by Mc Meekin in Vexillinfo 109, that was the national flag with the arms in the central circle as in the attached image. There is also pictured the flag dated 1961-1962, red-white-green vertically divided, with a yellow drum in center

jaume Olle, 31 Jan 2003

Flag in 1966-1967

[Flag of Burundi in 1966-1970]
by Joán-Françčs Blanc, 10 Jan 2000

After 29 November 1966 the monarchy fell, and the drum was supressed (but not the plant).
Jaume Ollé, 05 Sep 1998

The period is a bit confuse. If I understad well, according the issue 10 of DGF-Nachrichten, the flag was used without drum neither plant for one or two days (27-28 November 1966).
Jaume Ollé, 05 Sep 1998

Wrong Flag in 1967

[Wrong Flag of Burundi in 1967] Wrong flag!
by Mark Sensen and António Martins, 15 Nov 1999

28 July 1967 the fimbriated stars were added to the flag. This flag is shown in a post stamp from 1967 (First anniversary of the republic), with stars arranged two in the upper part and one in the lower part.
Jaume Ollé, 05 Sep 1998

Burundis flag was never with two stars on top. The postage stamp is incorrect! It is not unheard in the stamp world, the stamp designer made a mistake.
Ralf Stelter, 09 Dec 2000

Flag in 1967-1982

[Flag of Burundi in 1967-1982] 2:3
by Mark Sensen and António Martins, 15 Nov 1999

The right arrangement of the stars (one over two) was shown on a post stamp of 1970 (4th anniversary of the Republic). [There are other sources confirming that such arrangement is in fact the one used since 1967, i.e. when the stars were introduced.]
The ratio of the flag was fixed on 27 September 1982 to ratio 3:5 when the official regulations were published. [Prior to that date de facto ratio was 2:3.]
Jaume Ollé, 05 Sep 1998

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