International flags are typically made of 1-3 colors with an emblem on their face. But are there any flags that are just plain green?
To date, there is only one international flag that is entirely green. The flag symbolizes the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, otherwise known as the Libyan state under Muammar Gaddafi.
What was the significance of green? Why didn’t Gaddafi include any emblems on the flag? Read on to find out!
What international flag is green?
The flag representing Libya’s authoritarian state under President Muammar Gaddafi is the only flag ever to be just plain green. The flag has no symbols on its face and was made in a 1:2 ratio. It was adopted by the country in 1977, 8 years after Gaddafi’s coup d’état.
Why was it green?
The flag of Libya Arab Jamahiriya was plain green to represent President Muammar Gaddafi’s political philosophy. Gaddafi did this representation in connection with his book, The Green Book. He used this book to spread his philosophy both within and outside Libya.
Gaddafi used the color green to describe his modern Islamic revolution, which he called “the green revolution.” He intended the plain green to symbolize the new life his political philosophy would bring to the people of Libya.
The flag was also green as a reference to Islam. Green is referenced frequently in the Quran to represent comfort and paradise. The dome on the tomb of Muhammad was also painted green.
The green on the flag also references the flags used by the Fatimid Caliphate. This dynasty was an Ismaili Shia caliphate that ruled Northern Africa from 909-1171. Most of their territory was in modern-day Libya towards the end of their dynasty.
Because green had so many different connections to Libya and Islam, it was the perfect choice for Gaddafi’s modern Islamic state flag. The fully green flag would stand out not only against historical Libyan flags but flags of other countries as well.
Why was it changed?
The rebels overthrew Gaddafi in 2011 after the rise of the Arab Spring. He was one of many Islamic dictators overthrown during this time. Towards the end of the Libyan civil war, there was an attempt to transition power to a temporary state called the National Transitional Council.
At this time, the International Criminal Court issued warrants for his arrest. He was trapped in a construction site in western Libya in October 2011. He was subsequently captured during the fight and killed.
After his death, the new government changed the Libyan national flag back to the flag the Kingdom of Libya used: a green, red, and black flag with the Islamic half-moon and star in the center.
The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya might look plain since it is just green. However, its simple design represents a sordid and complicated history. The country used it to symbolize the transition in power and the political ideology of the new country’s founder.
Its removal as Libya’s flag also symbolized a new era. Although the country has still had political upheaval after the removal of Gaddafi, there is peace in knowing the people can now make their own choices.