Last modified: 2006-02-18 by zeljko heimer
Keywords: cameroon | upc | crab | shrimp |
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image by Jaume Ollé, 2 March 1997
I asked some time ago about the flag of the UPC. Later I read that it is red with the "Camaron" in the center (proposed also as national flag). In Flaggenmitteilung (several issues) appears the exact design, taken by Philippe of the decoration in the wear of Michel Ndohm, member of Revolutionary Committee.
Jaume Ollé, 2 March 1997
UPC proposed the flag as national in 1957, but was rejected. UPC adopted this flag in their struggle started 1956. The UPC struggle ended de facto 1962, but many years after the movement used the same flag (in exile)
Jaume Ollé, 7 March 1999
Just for the record: Cameroon/Camerun, as in the country name and also in the mountain of the same name after which the country was named, comes from the Portuguese word "Camarões" (which is also the current
Portuguese name for the country). However, this does not mean "crabs", as often reported, but "shrimps". And I'm quite sure that this was also so by the time this name was given to that mountain, back in the 16th century.
Antonio Martins-Tuvalkin, 5 March 1999
Smith (1976) explains that the name of the country comes from the
Portuguese camaroes (shrimps), because Portuguese explorers found
shrimps in a river there. Smith adds that the flag proposed by the
anti-colonialist organization (I guess it was UPC) was a red field
bearing a shrimp, and not a crab.
Ivan Sache, 13 February 2001
In 'DTV-Lexikon politischer Symbole', 1970, Arnold Rabbow [rab70] writes:
'Originally it should have been canting with the name of the country
symbolized on it by way of the crab (Krabbe) after the Portuguese word
'camarão', from which the name of Cameroon was derived. Western
observers remarked that the crab might evoke world-ridicule, after which
the model of the tricolore, after the French example, was chosen.'
Whether crab or shrimp - I think that Rabbow has a point there.
Jarig Bakker, 13 February 2000
Interesting that Simth says so: Even if it is correct, most non-Portuguese
sources (not only vexillological books, but also encyclopaedias etc.)
usually say wrongly that "camarões" means "crabs" instead of "shrimps".
The name was given firstly to a coastal river, then to a nearby high mountain, currently Cameroon Mt. When the German colony was created in the current boundaries (more or less), it was given the name Cameroon -- which is as logical as calling France "République du Mont Blanc"...
The question is if the above error was old and widespread enough to have influenced the 1960'ies flag proposals. It might very well have been a crab. OTOH, if Smith says shrimp I'm sure he used harder evidence than just the (correct but usually disregarded) etymology of "Cameroon"...
Antonio Martins, 15 February 2000