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Historical Flags (Lebanon)

Last modified: 2005-03-05 by santiago dotor
Keywords: lebanon | historical | army of south lebanon | als | south lebanon |
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From the Lebanese Parliamentary Elections 2000 website [apparently now obsolete but partly mirrored in this webpage], adapted from Nehmé 1995:

The Lebanese Flag and Its Evolution Throughout History
(Adapted from Lebanese historian Joseph Nehme's book)

Lebanon has had several flags and banners, around which the Lebanese citizens had gathered through times of peace and war. The Lebanese flag has evolved according to the following historical steps:

  • The Mamelukes Flag: It consisted of a cloth embroidered with golden threads.
  • The Phoenician Flag: This flag was blue, symbolizing the sea, yet the red color was later added to it when the purple color was discovered.
  • The Rebels Flag during Prince Ibrahim's Era: It became a white cloth with a red carnation at the bottom right corner.
  • The Rebels Flag: It consisted of a cross and a sword, both white, on a red cloth.
  • The Shehabian Flag: Consisted of a blue cloth with a white crescent.
  • The Lamaïte Flag: It consisted of a white cloth with a drawing of a Lion.
  • The Abi Kand Flag: Consisted of two vertical and equal bands, one yellow and one blue.
  • The Tannoukhian Flag: Consisted of 5 colors divided vertically in equal bands of white, blue, yellow, red and green.
  • The National Maaniïtes Flag: The Kaïssy Party Flag.
  • The Maaniïtes Flag at the end of the Maaniïtes Emirate: End of the 17th century.
  • The Ottoman Flag: Consisted of a red cloth with a white crescent and white star in the center, and remained as such until their departure in 1918.
  • The Jumblatian Flag: It consisted of a red flag with a green frame; a sword and a dark green hand in the middle.
  • The Lebanese Cedar: Following the fall of the Ottoman Empire, it consisted of a white cloth with a green cedar in the center.
  • The Lebanese flag during the French Mandate: It was similar to the Blue, White and Red French Flag with a green Cedar in the middle, and was designed by the president of the Lebanese Nahda (renaissance) Movement, the late Naoum Mukarzel.
  • The National Flag: White and Red with a cedar in the center. The Cedar consists of two thirds of the size of the white band.
  • The Independence Flag: As drawn by the MPs [members of parliament] using pencils during the parliamentary session.

Santiago Dotor, 26 September 2000

The above list is not chronological. The eighth flag is the Tanukh flag, supposed to date from the 4th century AD. The Shihab Flag ca. 1697-1842 is four positions before the Maanid Flag which it replaced etc. Moreover I believe they are not successive (pseudo-)national flags of Lebanon, but flags of different lordships with territorial possessions in nowadays Lebanon, several of which co-existed in time. A different question is how old are some flags supposed to be —Tanukh flag, Phoenician flag— and how reliable their existence is!

Santiago Dotor, 8 May 2003

Army of South Lebanon 1980-2000

When Israel established a safety zone in South Lebanon, a so-called Army of South Lebanon (ALS — Armee du Liban Sud in French) was constituted by pro-Israeli Lebanese. Israel is currently withdrawing from this area, and ALS will probably be disbanded. The question is of course, what flag was used by ALS? Since it was not supposed to be either an official Lebanese or Israeli force, I guess it could not have used either the national Lebanese or Israeli flag.

Ivan Sache, 23 May 2000

Many years ago (about 1980?) I saw a photo or maybe a TV spot with Mr. Haddad, the founder of the Free Lebanon and probably also of the ALS, in front of the Lebanese national flag.

Jan Zrzavy, 23 May 2000

The ALS see itself as a Lebanese force and therefore uses the Lebanese national flag. Major Saed Khadad was indeed the founder of the ALS, and after he passed away he was replaced by General Antoin[e] Lakhed.

Anonymous, 24 May 2000