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Liberia, 1827-1847

Last modified: 2015-07-28 by rob raeside
Keywords: stripes: 11 | cross: couped (white) | cross: latin (white) |
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Old flag of Liberia image by Dave Martucci, 21 April 1997
See also:

About the flag

I have part of a Resolution of the Board of the American Colonization Society of 9 April 1827 (although there is no indication as to whom it is addressed), which states that:

As a flag is requested for our colony at Liberia, and as it is proper to make the flag as nearly like the Flag of the United States, being dependent thereon, yet sufficiently distinct to designate it as the Flag of the African Colony, resolved that the Flag of the United States be adopted, omitting the stars and substituting therefore a white cross in the center of the azure field.
Christopher Southworth, 24 Mar 2005

Latin cross reported

Flag w/ Latin cross image by António Martins, 31 Aug 2008

I read a book at my library written by an American missionary who visited Liberia shortly after its declaration of independence. He describes this flag, which bears a Christian cross (bottom arm of double length).
Steve Kramer, 02 May 1996


Role of the cross flag in the independence of Liberia

Two contradictory accounts of an encounter with a British ship envolving a Liberian ship hoisting the cross flag may refer to two different actual events:
António Martins, 31 Aug 2008

Flag saluted by British ship?…

I read a book at my library written by an American missionary who visited Liberia shortly after its declaration of independence — but it describes a British vessel as the first to salute it. In fact, the first salute was refused by the Liberians because it occurred on the Sabbath, so the whole scene was replayed by the British captain on Monday. Flag salutes were a big deal in those days; it was tantamount to recognition by a foreign nation.
Steve Kramer, 02 May 1996

or flag arrested by British ship?…

One of Smith’s books describes the flag from 1827, based on US flag, but with a white cross instead of the stars. The proclamation of independence arose out of an incident in 1845 when the British captured a Liberian ship flying that flag, considered illegal by the British.
Željko Heimer, 01 May 1996

Smith [smi80] says:

Liberia had had a flag since 1827. Understandably, the American flag constituted the basic design except that a white cross substituteed for the stars. In 1845 a Liberian ship flying that flag was seized by British authorities for lack of a recognized ensign; to give this flag international standing the decision was made to proclaim Liberian independence.
The flag was altered by reducing the number of stripes to 11 and replacing the cross with a single white star 26 July 1847.
Dave Martucci, 21 Apr 1997

The original (1827) flag of Liberia had a white cross on a blue canton. I presume this was changed to the current single star when Liberia became independent in 1845. Liberia may be the only country in the world to have gained independence because of its national flag. British warships operating against the slave trade in West Africa didn’t recognize the Liberian flag and so in order to legitimize it (the flag) the territory was declared independent.
Stuart A. Notholt, 20 Sep 1996


 
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