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Description: The flag of Kenya features a black, red and white Maasai shield and white crossed spears on black, red and green horizontal stripes, broken up by a narrower band of white between each.

History: The flag was adopted when Kenya gained full independence in December 1963. Its design is based on the flag of the Kenya African National Union, the dominant political party that led the fight for independence from British colonial rule. Prior to independence, the Kenyan flag was a traditional blue ensign with the Union Jack in the upper left corner and a red lion standing on its hind legs.

Interpretation: The black, red, and green symbolise the black majority, the blood spilled in the struggle for freedom and Kenya's agriculture and natural resources. On independence, white bands symbolising unity and peace were added. The shield and spears symbolise the defence of freedom by the pastoralist Maasai, who had repelled Arab traders and European missionaries alike.

Further reading: Complete Flags of the World (Darling Kindersley, 9.99 [pounds sterling])

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Author:Amodeo, Christian
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:6KENY
Date:Aug 1, 2005
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