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Afghanistan ca.1901-1919

Last modified: 2013-11-09 by ian macdonald
Keywords: mosque (white) | mihrab (white) | minbar (white) | pulpit (white) | wreath (white) | flags: 2 (white) | firearm: rifle (white) | firearm: cannon (white) | swords: 2 (crossed) |
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[Afghanistan ca.1901-1919] image by Jaume Ollé

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Whitney Smith writes in the last release of Ar Banniel:

(...) The less common in basic colours of flags is black (21% of national flags.) In bicolour flags, the white-black combination is very infrequent, although several flags are made of white and black and other colours. The reasons about it might be dark look, negative symbolical associations, or other factors. (...) The black Afghan flags were inspired by the black banners used by the Abassid dynasty (750-1258), which seems to have been covered with golden (and not white) inscriptions.

Ivan Sache, 2 August 1999

According to Baert 2001, black became the national colour of Afghanistan under Emir Abdul Rahman (1880-1901). Abdul Rahman's son, Emir Hibullah Khan (1901-1919) was able to preserve the neutrality of Afghanistan during the First World War, in spite of pressure exerted by Germany and Turkey.

The flag was a state and war flag rather than a real national flag. It was used only on the Royal palace and by the Army and Customs Service. The flag showed the royal arms in white on the middle of a black field. The royal arms showed a mihrab, a prayer niche always turned towards Mecca, and a minbar, a movable pulpit with steps, both elements being placed inside a mosque. The mihrab and minbar symbolized the pre-eminence of Islam in the culture and government of the country. The weapons (rifles, swords and cannons) shown on the coat-of-arms symbolized the importance of the Army for the country. The image in Baert 2001 is similar to the one above.

Ivan Sache, 12 April 2002