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Kuwait: History of the Flag

Last modified: 2013-12-01 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: crescent (white) | star (white) | shahada | text: arabic (white) | kuwait |
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N.B.: All images are presented in reversed form (hoist to the right of the observer) because the Arabic word "Kuwait" should be read this way. The main source is an article in the Flag Bulletin [tfb], as well as other vexillological bulletins or newsletters.
Jaume Ollé, 07 Jun 1997


?-1899

[Kuwait 1921-1961]
~4:9 / image by Eugene Ipavec, 16 Sep 2009

Before 1899, the flag is supposed to have been a plain red flag.
Jaume Ollé, 07 Jun 1997


1899-1909

[Flag of 1899-1909]
 image by Jaume Ollé


1909-1915

[Flag of 1909-1915]
 image by Jaume Ollé

Wilfred Nunn states in "Tigris gunboats" (London: Chatham, 2007, p. 33; originally published 1932) that on 6th Nov. 1914 he was in command of the British gunboat "Espiegle" in the Shatt-el-Arab, and fired a shot across the bows of a motor-boat flying the Turkish flag. It proved to be carrying messages from Britain's ally the Sheikh of Kuwait, who was using the same flag as Turkey. When this was pointed out to his messengers, the Kuwait flag was changed to one which had "white Arabic lettering on a red ground, and looks something like an amateur outline drawing of a duck."
Kenneth Fraser, 12 May 2009


1915-1956

[Flag of 1915-1956]
 image by Jaume Ollé

variant

[Flag of 1915-1956, variant]
 image by Jaume Ollé


1921-1961

[Kuwait 1921-1961]
~4:9 / image by Eugene Ipavec, 16 Sep 2009

I visited the Kuwait Marine Museum on Apr 18th 2009, took some flag photos and bought a book titled "Kuwait's Age of Sail," published in 1993 and showing some flag pictures, including the 1921-1961 national flag, which was red with the white word "Kuwait" and a vertical shahada.
Nozomi Kariyasu, 15 Aug 2009


1956-1961

[Kuwait, 1956-1961]
image by Eugene Ipavec, 12 Feb 2012
[Kuwait, 1956-1961]
image by Eugene Ipavec, 12 Feb 2012
 
 
[Kuwait, 1956-1961]
image by Eugene Ipavec, 12 Feb 2012
[Kuwait, 1956-1961]
image by Eugene Ipavec, 12 Feb 2012
 
 

According to Flags of the World [car61]:

"The National Flag of Kuwait has a scarlet field with a narrow white vertical stripe at the hoist - the scarlet edge adjoining this stripe being wavy. The word "KUWAIT" in Arabic, also in white, is superimposed along the horizontal center line of the field. There are four versions of this flag: two have rectangular fields and two triangular. One of each of these pairs is charged with the Arabic inscription "There is no god but God" in white, positioned along the aforesaid wavy edge. So far as can be ascertained, any of the four forms may be used - there being no official ruling in the matter. In point of fact, the triangular pattern without the inscription is used by most of the subjects. However, we venture to suggest that its opposite number, the rectangular one, would be more suitable for maritime usage."

Jarig Bakker, 04 May 2000

I seem to remember that the special four versions were strictly regulated for usage, depending not only on the flag use (civil/state) but also on the occasion (everyday/holiday/celebration).
Željko Heimer, 05 May 2000

Erroneous Depiction

[Kuwait, 1956-1961]
image by Alex Danes, 20 Jul 2009

The Dictionary of Modern Romanian Language, isssued by the Romanian Academy in 1958, depicts several (wrong?) flags, including an [Ed.: upside-down] flag of Kuwait between 1956-1961.
Alex Danes, 20 Jul 2009