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Zimbabwe: Historical flags

Last modified: 2022-10-22 by bruce berry
Keywords: rhodesia | southern rhodesia | zimbabwe |
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See also:

Overview of the Flags of Southern Rhodesia / Rhodesia / Zimbabwe-Rhodesia / Zimbabwe

The historical flags flown over Zimbabwe are given in the pages listed below:

1890 - 1923                British South African Company (BSAC) flag
1923 - 1968                British Union flag (alongside various colonial flags)
1923 - 1953                Southern Rhodesia dark blue ensign (two variants - with and without white disc in fly)
1953 - 1963                Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland ensign (alongside British Union Flag)
1964 - 1968                Southern Rhodesian light blue ensign (alongside British Union Flag)
1968 - 1979                Rhodesian flag
Jun - Dec1979             Zimbabwe Rhodesia flag (de facto until Dec 1979; de jure until Apr 1980)
Dec 1979 - Apr 1980  British Union flag (de facto although Zimbabwe Rhodesia flag in common use)
18 Apr 1980 to date    Zimbabwe flag
Stuart Notholt, 16 Mar 1996

Dual flag arrangement

I wonder how many other countries have as an official policy the flying of two flags (state flags don't count, neither does a supra-national flag)?

This practice was followed in the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. After the dissolution of the federation, Rhodesia continued the practice with the Union Jack and the light blue Rhodesian flag, but ceased doing so with the adoption of the new green and white national flag on 11 November 1968.
Devereaux Cannon, 10 January 1998

The only oddity about this situation was that it continued so late, since in the early days all British dominions flew the Union Jack (as the primary flag) and the local flag, often side by side. (I use the word “dominion” here in the pre-First World War sense, meaning a possession of the British Crown, as opposed to a self-governing member of the Empire, which was the definition that came into use in the 1920s, and more particularly in the 1930s following the Statute of Westminster, which made the Dominions [capital D] independent states.) See for instance South Africa 1910-1928.
Mike Oettle, 22 May 2002

The impression I have is that it was done, to a greater or lesser extent, only in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, (Southern) Rhodesia and the Union of South Africa.
David Prothero, 23 May 2002

In the Rhodesian case, one of the reasons as to why this came into being was due to the confusion in the 1930s over what was considered to be the Southern Rhodesia flag. When the Admiralty granted permission for a Southern Rhodesian dark blue ensign in 1937, this was specifically stated as being for use OUTSIDE the country only while the Union Jack remained the official flag of the colony and thus flew within the country. With the advent of the Federation in 1953, it must be remembered that the UK Government was an official participating entity in the Federal government structure (along with the Governments of Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia, Nyasaland and the Federal Government - a unique, if somewhat clumsy, 5 administration arrangement), hence the Union Jack remained an "official" flag along with the Federal flag. Following the dissolution of the Federation at the end of 1963, the participating territories reverted back to their individual "colonial" status and Southern Rhodesia continued with the dual flag arrangement until after UDI in 1965. This "rebellion against the crown" saw the adoption of a new flag on 11 November 1968 and the dropping of the Union Jack as an official flag of the country.
Bruce Berry, 23 May 2002

Fancy Rhodesian flag

  sent by Olivier Touzeau, 15 Oct 2002

From a series of Cigarette Silks Iron-on Transfers, the subject of which is: Nation Animals & Flags, a fanciful flag of Rhodesia is given.
Olivier Touzeau, 15 Oct 2002

The flag shown for Rhodesia is interesting. It is likely to be a fantasy, like many of the others, but perhaps Bruce Berry could give us some indication. It's unlikely that the British South Africa Company would have used a plain red flag with a roundel in the centre, but the arms in the roundel do resemble (vaguely) those of the BSA Co. However, the BSAC's chief flag was a Union Jack defaced with its arms.
Mike Oettle, 15 Oct 2002