This page is part of © FOTW Flags Of The World website

Tunisia under French Administration

Last modified: 2003-07-18 by rob raeside
Keywords: tunisia | star (white) | crescent | sword |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors

[Tunisia] by Zeljko Heimer

See also:

Discussion about the Flag

DK Pocket Book reports "During the French Administration (1881-1957) it became a sea flag, with the French tricolor in the canton; this was removed when independence was achieved in 1956." Did this flag ever exist or are they getting mixed-up with Morocco?
Martin Grieve, 13 April 2003

This seems consistent with French custom in their overseas possessions, though it seems also that all these flags are very seldom well documented and that sometimes at least they are "wishful thinking" or are patterns very rarely used. I guess we should look forward to someone demystifying these "French ensigns".
Zeljko Heimer, 13 April 2003

This seems to be consistent with French administrative thinking: don't publicise it because it's nobody else's business. Books on railways are able to tell you when a particular class of locomotive was in use on a particular line - provided the colonial territory was British. But if the territory was French, you can discover that a particular class was in use in a certain territory in a given period, but they never say on what line, and if the territory covered more than one colony (like French West Africa) they don't even indicate which colony the locos were used in.
Mike Oettle, 15 April 2003

I have the Moroccan legislation, and I too would be interested if there is anything on Tunisia. As far as I was aware, there was never a tricolor on the Tunisian flag but this, of course, does not mean that there wasn't one.
Christopher Southworth, 14 April 2003

On this occasion, DK Pocket Book is not fully mistaken. The Flag Bulletin, no. 195, Sep.-Oct. 2000, is more or less devoted to Tunisian flags, and includes references in two articles to an *unofficial* and *short-lived* Tunisian flag with French canton. It also shows the flag on its cover.

Firstly, Smith (2000j), p. 187, says: "An unofficial modification of the Tunisian national flag, used for a few years, added the French Tricolor to the design as a canton (...) (37).

Footnote (37) says: Henri Hugon, "Les Emblèmes des beys de Tunis" (Paris: Leroux, 1913), p. 61.

Secondly, Smith (2000l), p. 197, says: "Tunisia, a French protectorate, retained its national flag on land and at sea. Nevertheless in the late 19th century or early 20th century an unofficial version of the flag was used with the tricolor canton. In 1925 a formal proposal was made to adopt that flag as official, but no action was taken. That flag, featured on the cover of this issue, does not appear to have been illustrated in any vexillological source."

However, the first article mentions Tunisian *ensigns* repeatedly, and only refers to this unofficial variant as a *flag* -- so I would understand that such a variant was never used as an ensign. Thus DK Pocket Book's statement regarding the Tunisian flag saying, "during the French Administration (1881-1957) it became a sea flag, with the French tricolore in the canton" is most probably wrong, and a mix-up with Morocco as I guessed in the first place.
Santiago Dotor, 16 April 2003