The origin of red and black
as coming from the ancient Egyptians must be false history
that has its beginnings in the ancient Egyptian perception
of their country.
The red represents the desert and the
black is that land which was tilled. It was so-named because
the yearly flooding of the Nile brings in deposits of the
rich black silt on the land. Therefore the nation was called Kemet.
The real beginnings of the use of those colors primarily by
the ancients is mostly guess work. It is almost like
declaring that green was Hittite color or blue a Greek
color. Even though they may have used those colors, is pure
Since Egypt was ruled by thee Pharaohs over 2500
years, it is quite probable that some of them made
use of the colors red and black.
But it is quite
easily seen that these hues are from more
Nonetheless, the flag was always though of in
relation with Arab nationalism, even if the dynasty
of the Hashemite was not.
With the beginning of the
next phase of Arab nationalism, just after the
Second World War, the government was dominated by
parties of pan-Arabic leanings like the Ba'ath party
and such who set up republics.
Although this era of
nationalism put an end to the Hashemite king of Iraq, many
of those who governed it employed a red-white-black banner
taken from the very first Arab revolt. Egypt used a
red-white-black flag during this time, though not the same
as the one today. The piece of information that this flag
design is almost the same as that of the flags by Syria,
Iraq, Yemen, Libya gives a lie to the idea that these colors
are originally Egyptian.
Whitney Smith's “Flags Through the Ages and Across the
World” claims that the symbol placed at the center of the
Egyptian flag is the mythical eagle of Saladin. The figure
was based on the eagle seen on a wall in Cairo.
The first Ayubid
Sultan was Saladin or Salah al-Din Yusuf who lived
from 1138 to 1193. He ruled over Hejaz, Egypt,
Mesopotamia, and Syria. In 1187 he took control of
Jerusalem from the Latins and signed a peace treaty
with them in 1192. Nevertheless, the appearance of
the Saladin eagle on Arabian flags is quite recent.
A few flags found in Cairo have the emblem as white
gold, or red, white, black. Some have it in light,
white, dark gold hatching. Still, some white with
two vertical lines in gold to separate the three
Although the two
inscription of the former coat of arms Al-Jumhuriya and
Jumhuriyat Misr Al-Arabiya both mean "Arab Republic of
Egypt", they are not the same politically. In the first
inscription, the Republic is Arabic first and then Egyptian.
In the newer inscription it is Egyptian first and then
The Egyptian flag is not merely a mirror image on the other
side. If you look closely, you will see that the inscription
beneath the eagle and shield can be read the right way on
both sides of the flag.