The flag of Mozambique is, perhaps most well known, for being the only flag in the world with a modern firearm depicted in its design, namely an AK-47 with a bayonet attached.
Whilst you may not regularly think about Mozambique, hidden away in the south-east of Africa, just north of South Africa, on the coast of the Indian Ocean, it has a long and complicated history, much of which depicted within the flag design.
The flag of Mozambique is a classic tricolour design consisting of green, yellow and black.
Each horizontal bar is separated from the others by a thin white bar. On the hoist-side of the flag is a red triangle, similar to that on the flags of Palestine and Jordan.
Upon the red triangle is found an AK-47 crossing a hoe above a book. All of which is atop a yellow star.
The green represents the natural landscape of Mozambique and the rich environment of the country.
Black represents Africa. A colour commonly found in flags on the African continent.
Yellow represents the country’s minerals and resources.
Red represents the struggle for independence from Portugal which founded the nation as a colony in the 1400s, relinquishing control after a bloody civil war in 1974.
The white bars represent peace.
Each symbol on the crest represents a different national value;
The hoe is symbolic of agriculture; the AK-47 represents the importance of defence and vigilance. The book is emblematic of the importance of education. It is all emblazoned on a yellow star which is symbolic of communism, more specifically, Marxism.
Since 1498, Mozambique was a colony of the Portuguese empire; as a national flag, Mozambique flew the national flag of Portugal.
Formed during the 1960s, the Frente de Libertação de Moçambique, or Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) was a militia group whose main objective was to fight the imperialist occupation of the Portuguese.
The FRELIMO flag depicts a crossed hammer and hoe with a yellow star above it. All emblazoned on a red background. Elements of this flag were later included in the national flag.
For a brief time between 1974 and 1975, the flag was changed to a design extraordinarily similar to the modern flag. A green, black and yellow horizontal tricolour with white bars separating each colour with a red triangle on the hoist-side. However, the crest of the modern flag was missing from this iteration.
Following the formation of a socialist government in Mozambique under FRELIMO, the flag changed once again. This time, the green, red, yellow and black were depicted as sunbeams emanating from a crest in the canton.
This crest depicted an AK47, a hoe, a book and a communist/Marxist star, the same symbols as on the modern flag.
The crest was surrounded by a cog, a common symbol of the proletariat and Marxist political thought at the time.
For a month in 1983, a new intermediate design came about. This unique design saw the return of the tricolour design, but with the crest inside the red hoist-side triangle over a yellow star.
Soon after, the cog and red star would be removed, leaving the rifle, hoe and book emblazoned on a yellow star—the modern flag of Mozambique.