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France: Colonial flags

Last modified: 2002-01-18 by
Keywords: french colonies | communaute | french community of states | canton: france | governor general | governor |
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Colonial governor-general (gouverneur-général)

[Flag of French Colonial gouverneurs-généraux]by Pierre Gay

"The flag of the French governors of Colonies consists of a blue field with a canton of white and red in the quarter next to the flag staff, a blue stripe as wide as the red and the white stripe separating the canton from the staff. This flag is flown below the national ensign." This would presumable be the flag flying over the vast tracts of Africa owned by the French.

Josh Fruhlinger 15 February 1996

Flaggenbuch [neu92] gives us a slightly different French colonial governors' flag in 1939: blue square with square French ensign (blue 30%, white 33%, red 37%) in canton. In my humble opinion, this seems more realistic: today's flag of the Secretary of State for the Overseas has derived from the former French colonial governors' flag, and is of 1:1 ratio.

Pierre Gay, 30 September 1999


Colonial governor (gouverneur)

[Flag of French Colonial gouverneurs]by Pierre Gay

"The flag of French Indo-China and of the Lieutenant-Governor of Senegal is a duplicate of the flag of the French governors of Colonies, except that it is swallow-tailed." No explanation of the reason for the difference.

Josh Fruhlinger 15 February 1996

Actually, this flag was for all Governors of particular French Colonies. As Senegal was a federated colony inside the French West Africa (which itself was ruled by a Governor General), it was administred by a Governor, just like French Sudan, Guinea, or any other colony in French West Africa. The same goes for Indochina, ruled by a Governor General, with Tonkin, for example, administred by a Governor.

Pierre Gay 30 September 1999


Community of French States (Communauté)

[Flag of the Communauté]by Mark Sensen

Pedersen [ped70] mentions a square French tricolour with the words "LIBERTÉ ÉGALITÉ FRATERNITÉ"one above each other in gold vertically touching each three stripes. Such a flag might have existed. It is conformed with the text of the constitution of 1946 which says that the national emblem is the tricolour blue, white, red in equal vertical stripes, and does not explicitly forbid other signs on the flag. Here it is the French official motto, which is also in the constitution. The constitution of 1958 has quite similar articles.

Pascal Vagnat, 14 June 1998

Barraclough [bcr81] gives some more details and an image. The flag (or 'Standard' as the image is labelled) is square and has a gold fringe. It also has a special finial in the form of a wreath containing two clasped hands. But the idea of the Community itself does not seem to have taken root, and in consequence the banner has fallen from use. Originally several copies were made, of which one remained in Paris whilst the others were sent to the capitals of the member countries.

Mark Sensen, 14 June 1998

The Community was officially abolished only in 1995 in the French Constitution, when it had already been obsolete for quite a long time. The Community had since given way to the Francophonie organisation, established in 1970 and gathering 52 members and observer states, very much more successful because it was not as "Empire-oriented" nor as neo-colonial.

Pierre Gay, 6 May 1999

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