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Dawlat al Qatar, State of Qatar

Last modified: 2003-03-15 by ivan sache
Keywords: qatar | asia | serration | zig-zag | diamonds: 10 (red) |
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[Qatar]by Zeljko Heimer

Flag adopted 9 July 1971, coat ot arms adopted in 1978.
Proportion: 11:28 (very often 2:3 or 3:5)
Description: Maroon flag with a white stripe at host limited by a serration (i.e. a zigzag)
Use: on land, national, civil and war flag, at sea, national, civil and war ensign.

Colour approximate specifications (as given in Album des Pavillons [pay00]):

  • Maroon: Pantone 222 c / CMYK (%) C 0 - M 100 - Y 15 - K 60

On this page:

See also:

Qatar and Bahrain flags

Despite the near-villification of this flag over its individualistic approach to proportions (11:28, a reflection of a "do your own thing" view of national policy?), there is a fascinating story here.
At first glance, the Qatar flag seems remarkably similar to the flag of Bahrain. Both have the distinctive serrated margin between the white band at the hoist and the "red" fly. The proportions set them apart (Bahrain 3:5) and the colors differ, with Bahrain being a standard "British" red (they, after all, had a strong and "involved" British adviser throughout the 1930s) and Qatar the distinctive "maroon." This similarity reflects an intertwined history.
To make a long and involved story very short, the histories of the two states have overlapped and occasionally collided since the 18th century. The distinctive Qatari flag emerged in the 1930s (official adoption of the maroon color came about 1949).
Bahrain's flag as we know it now was formally adopted in 1932 and the Qatari differences in size and color (said to be what becomes of red as it fades in the Gulf sun - a fanciful tale) seem to be largely an effort to make the Qatar flag DIFFERENT from the Bahrani banner.

Ed Haynes, 29 January 1996

History of the flag

  • The first flag of Qatar was plain red. It has been used until ca. 1860.
  • ca. 1860 a narrow serrated white stripe was added at hoist (some sources claim the stripe was not serrated)
  • ca. 1916 was in use a white flag with a red square in center and yellow (some sources say red) crescent in canton. It seems this flag was short-lived and soon replaced by the previous flag .
  • ca. 1932 the vertical serrated stripe was changed to a wavy stripe (white 1/5, ratio 1:2) and the red was then changed to dark or violet (Crampton reports the undulated stripe as light yellow, probably because the original white color faded to light yellow because the use and the sun)
  • ca. 1936 the violet field was changed to maroon with 9 and 1/2 serrated points and 10 diamonds in the serration. The name of the state was written in white on ther flag. Ratio was 11:30.
  • In 1949 the shade was slightly modified and the serration reached 1/3 of the flag. The diamonds were suppressed.
  • In 1971 (independence) the current flag was adopted, practically identical but with ratio 11:28.

Jaume Ollé, 14 April 2000

Flag of c. 1936

[Qatar flag, c. 1936]by Ivan Sache

According to Evans' Observer's Book of Flags (1959) [eva59], "the National Flag of Qatar is maroon, with a broad white stripe along the hoist. The stripe is serrated and may bear small maroon diamonds between the serrations; the name of the State appears in white on the maroon field."

Jarig Bakker, 6 April 2000

Source for the image is Flaggenbuch [neu92], which shows the flag with the hoist at veiwer's right and a red field. Flaggenbuch uses more or less (i.e. each page has the same shade of red, but shades slightly differ among pages probably due to printing or facsimiling process) the same red shade for all of the Arabic States flag (Bahrain, Qatar, Yemen, Trucial States).

Ivan Sache, 2 May 2001