Suez, 1950s

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The flag of the Kingdom of Egypt was in use after the fall of the monarchy in 1953. Not until the proclamation of the United Arab Republic in 1958 was the Egyptian flag officially changed.

In 1955 the Danish shipbuilding company Burmeister & Wain together with Minerva Film made a movie about one of the company’s newbuildings and its maiden voyage from Copenhagen to the Far East. M/S Simba was a 145 m long and 10,300 tdw cargo ship owned by the East Asiatic Company (EAC) of Copenhagen, Denmark.

On its maiden voyage M/S Simba passed through the Suez Canal. For a few seconds in the film, the flag of Egypt is seen being hoisted on the ship’s foremast. This courtesy flag is the green national flag of Egypt with a white crescent and three white five-pointed stars. This is an example of the Egyptian kingdom’s flag in official use after the country became a republic in 1953.

The Egyptian Revolution of 1952 aimed to end the monarchy and secure Egypt’s independence of the British Empire. The new leadership of Muhammad Naguib and Gamal Abdel Nasser represented a staunch Arab Nationalism and worked to unite Arab states into one nation. The nationalization in 1956 of the Suez Canal led to the Suez Crisis and a short war with the United Kingdom, France and Israel.

The republican government of Egypt didn’t officially abolish the kingdom’s flag after the fall of the monarchy. It did, however, also make use of a revolutionary flag, the Flag of Arab Liberation, a red-white-black tricolour of three horizontal stripes. In the middle of this flag was the so-called Eagle of Saladin with a circular shield on its chest similar to the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Egypt: green, with a crescent and three stars.

In 1958 Egypt entered into union with Syria and established the United Arab Republic. It was short-lived and lasted only till 1961, but the union’s flag, adopted in 1958, proved to be more resilient. This new official flag of Egypt had three horizontal stripes of red, white and black with two green five-pointed stars in the middle white stripe. This flag remained the national flag of Egypt until 1971. Since 1980 it has been the flag of Syria.

The old green flag of Egypt has not been in use since the 1950s with the exception that it is still seen in connection with H.M. Fuad II, the former King of Egypt and the Sudan, and the Egyptian royal family.

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