Flag of Benin
|Design||A horizontal bicolor of yellow and red with a green vertical band at the hoist. |
Under French colonial rule over Dahomey, French authorities forbade the colony from having its own regional flag. This was because they were worried that this could increase nationalistic sentiment and lead to calls for independence. However, with the rise of the decolonization movement in Africa, the French were obliged to grant limited autonomy to Dahomey as a self-governing republic within the French Community. This was granted on December 4, 1958, and a search for a national flag began soon after.
The new flag was chosen on November 16, 1959, and remained unchanged when Dahomey became independent less than a year later on August 1, 1960. In 1972, a coup d'état took place in the country, with the new government aligning itself with Marxist–Leninist ideals. In order to symbolize the revolutionary change, the regime renamed the country to Benin and instituted a new flag three years later. This featured a green field charged with a five-pointed red star in the top-left canton.
However, the regime's flag was never adopted by law, making it only the de facto flag of Benin.
The green flag remained in place until 1990, when economic problems and the weakening of the Soviet Union's power due to the Revolutions of 1989 culminated in the collapse of the People's Republic of Benin. The socialist regime was replaced and the original flag from 1959 was reinstated on August 1, 1990. 
Nationally, the yellow and green allude to the northern savannas and palm groves located in the south of the country, while the red symbolizes the blood shed by those who fought for Dahomey. 
According to the Benin's national anthem: the green represents hope and revival, the red symbolizes the courage of ancestors, and the yellow represents the country's wealth. The colors are traditional Pan-African colors.