Flag of the Republic of Vietnam

Flag of the Republic of Vietnam

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The flag of South Vietnam was designed by Emperor Thành Thái
Thanh Thai
Emperor Thành Thái of the Vietnamese Nguyễn Dynasty was born Prince Nguyễn Phúc Bửu Lân, son of Emperor Duc Duc. He reigned for 18 years, from 1889 to 1907.-Biography:...

 in 1890 and was revived by Emperor Bảo Đại
Bảo Đài
Bảo Đài is a commune and village in Lục Nam District, Bac Giang Province, in northeastern Vietnam.-References:...

 in 1948. It was the flag of the former State of Vietnam
State of Vietnam
The State of Vietnam was a state that claimed authority over all of Vietnam during the First Indochina War, and replaced the Provisional Central Government of Vietnam . The provisional government was a brief transitional administration between colonial Cochinchina and an independent state...

 (the French-controlled areas in both Northern and Southern Vietnam) from 1949 to 1955 and later of the Republic of Vietnam
South Vietnam
South Vietnam was a state which governed southern Vietnam until 1975. It received international recognition in 1950 as the "State of Vietnam" and later as the "Republic of Vietnam" . Its capital was Saigon...

 (South Vietnam) from 1955 until April 30, 1975 when the south unconditionally surrendered
Unconditional surrender
Unconditional surrender is a surrender without conditions, in which no guarantees are given to the surrendering party. In modern times unconditional surrenders most often include guarantees provided by international law. Announcing that only unconditional surrender is acceptable puts psychological...

 to the north, to which it was officially joined in a unified Vietnam a year later. The flag consists of a yellow field and three horizontal red stripes and can be explained as either symbolising the unifying blood running through northern, central, and southern Vietnam, or as representing the symbol for "south" (as in, south from China and also 'nam' meaning south), in Daoist trigrams.

It is still used by many Vietnamese immigrants now living in other countries, mainly because the current Vietnamese flag
Flag of Vietnam
The flag of Vietnam, also known as the "red flag with yellow star" , was designed in 1940 and used during an uprising against French rule in Cochinchina that year. The flag was used by the Việt Minh, a communist-led organization created in 1941 to oppose Japanese occupation...

 is considered to be offensive to them. From February 2003 to August 2006, in the United States, 13 states, seven counties and 85 cities have adopted resolutions recognizing the yellow flag as the "Vietnamese Heritage and Freedom Flag".

Origins



Originally, the flag of the Emperor of Annam had a yellow background. During the reign of Emperor Gia Long
Gia Long
Emperor Gia Long , born Nguyễn Phúc Ánh , was an emperor of Vietnam...

 (1802–1820), the yellow flag was also used as the symbol of the Empire of Vietnam.

In 1890, the Emperor Thành Thái
Thanh Thai
Emperor Thành Thái of the Vietnamese Nguyễn Dynasty was born Prince Nguyễn Phúc Bửu Lân, son of Emperor Duc Duc. He reigned for 18 years, from 1889 to 1907.-Biography:...

 passed a decree, changing the flag with Chinese characters to a new flag. The yellow flag with three red stripes was created and used for the first time as the national flag (Đại Nam National Flag 1890-1920).
Some claim this flag (called The Yellow Flag for short) is the first true "national flag" of the Vietnamese people for it reflects the aspiration and hope of the people, not just the emperors, for independence and unification of the Viet nation.

In 1916-1925, after Emperors Thành Thái and Duy Tân were exiled to Africa and obeying the French, Emperor Khải Định issued a decree to change the national flag, the Yellow Flag, which signified the three unified regions (North, Central, and South) was replaced by a yellow flag with one red horizontal stripe. This yellow flag with one red stripe was also called the "Long Tinh" flag because it was transformed from the original Long Tinh flag of the Nguyễn Dynasty.

In 1945, during Trần Trọng Kim's government that is called the Empire of Vietnam
Empire of Vietnam
The Empire of Vietnam was a short-lived puppet state of Imperial Japan governing the whole of Vietnam between March 11 and August 23, 1945.-History:...

 by Japan, the two red bands were added to the middle broken red band to form the Quẻ Ly Flag. The Quẻ Ly Flag was the official flag of Vietnam at that time. Quẻ Ly is a divination trigram of "fabulous unicorn
Unicorn
The unicorn is a legendary animal from European folklore that resembles a white horse with a large, pointed, spiraling horn projecting from its forehead, and sometimes a goat's beard...

", sixth of the Bát Quái (the Eight Trigrams - (Ba gua) in I Ching
I Ching
The I Ching or "Yì Jīng" , also known as the Classic of Changes, Book of Changes and Zhouyi, is one of the oldest of the Chinese classic texts...

): Càn, Khâm, Cấn, Chấn, Tốn, Ly, Khôn, Đoài. This divination sign of fabulous unicorn represents the sun, fire, beam of light, and civilization. And more importantly, it also represents the direction of south, emphasizing that Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

, as the lands "passed the clouds" (see Yunnan
Yunnan
Yunnan is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the far southwest of the country spanning approximately and with a population of 45.7 million . The capital of the province is Kunming. The province borders Burma, Laos, and Vietnam.Yunnan is situated in a mountainous area, with...

) is southward from China.(See I Ching
I Ching
The I Ching or "Yì Jīng" , also known as the Classic of Changes, Book of Changes and Zhouyi, is one of the oldest of the Chinese classic texts...

). This flag was used only from June 1945 to August 1945, when Bảo Đại abdicated as emperor.

On 2 June 1948, the Chief of the Provisional Central Government of Vietnam, Brigadier General Nguyen Van Xuan
Nguyen Van Xuan
Nguyễn Văn Xuân was President of the Provisional Central Government of Vietnam from 1948 to 1949 during the end of French rule in Vietnam.-First Indochina War:...

, signed an ordinance to specify the characteristics of the Vietnamese National Flag as follows: "The national emblem is a flag of yellow background, the height of which is equal to two-thirds of its width. In the middle of the flag and along its entire width, there are three horizontal red bands. Each band has a height equal to one-fifteenth of the width. These three red bands are separated from one another by a space of the band's height." When the former Emperor Bảo Đại returned as chief of state in 1949, this design was adopted as the flag of the State of Vietnam
State of Vietnam
The State of Vietnam was a state that claimed authority over all of Vietnam during the First Indochina War, and replaced the Provisional Central Government of Vietnam . The provisional government was a brief transitional administration between colonial Cochinchina and an independent state...

.

The three red bands have the divination sign of Quẻ Càn (乾 qián), the first of the Eight Trigrams mentioned above. Quẻ Càn represents heaven. Based on the worldview of Vietnamese people, Quẻ Càn indicates the South Sky, the Vietnamese Nation, Vietnamese people, and the people's power. Another interpretation places the three red bands as symbols of the three regions of Vietnam: North, Central, and South.
The flag was used by the Republic of Vietnam (more commonly known as South Vietnam) for the duration of that state's existence (1955–1975). It was abolished on 30 April 1975, when the South unconditionally surrendered
Unconditional surrender
Unconditional surrender is a surrender without conditions, in which no guarantees are given to the surrendering party. In modern times unconditional surrenders most often include guarantees provided by international law. Announcing that only unconditional surrender is acceptable puts psychological...

 to the North.

Political significance



The flag of the former South Vietnam (also used under Emperor Thành Thái) remains highly controversial, particularly in the case of Vietnamese American
Vietnamese American
A Vietnamese American is an American of Vietnamese descent. They make up about half of all overseas Vietnamese and are the fourth-largest Asian American group....

s, Vietnamese Australian
Vietnamese Australian
A Vietnamese Australian is an Australian either born in Vietnam or is an Australian descendant of the former. Communities of Overseas Vietnamese are referred to as Việt Kiều or người Việt hải ngoại.-History in Australia:...

s, and other Vietnamese around the world who fled Vietnam after the war, who call it the "Vietnamese Heritage and Freedom Flag."

In Vietnam at present, the flag is prohibited by law from public display.

In the United States, virtually no Vietnamese Americans use the current flag of Vietnam
Flag of Vietnam
The flag of Vietnam, also known as the "red flag with yellow star" , was designed in 1940 and used during an uprising against French rule in Cochinchina that year. The flag was used by the Việt Minh, a communist-led organization created in 1941 to oppose Japanese occupation...

, which many of them consider offensive. Instead, they use the flag of South Vietnam as their symbol.
  • When a Vietnamese American video tape store owner displayed the current flag of Vietnam and a photo of Ho Chi Minh
    Ho Chi Minh
    Hồ Chí Minh , born Nguyễn Sinh Cung and also known as Nguyễn Ái Quốc, was a Vietnamese Marxist-Leninist revolutionary leader who was prime minister and president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam...

     in front of his store in Westminster, California
    Westminster, California
    -Government:In the state legislature Westminster is located in the 34th, Senate District, represented by Democrat Lou Correa and Republican Tom Harman respectively, and in the 67th and 68th Assembly District, represented by Republicans Jim Silva and Van Tran respectively...

    , in 1999, a month-long protest against it climaxed when 15,000 people held a candlelight vigil one night, sparking the Hitek Incident (Hitek was the name of the store).
  • A faux pas
    Faux pas
    A faux pas is a violation of accepted social norms . Faux pas vary widely from culture to culture, and what is considered good manners in one culture can be considered a faux pas in another...

     by the United States Postal Service
    United States Postal Service
    The United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for providing postal service in the United States...

     in using the current Vietnamese flag in a brochure to represent the Vietnamese American community that it serves caused outrage among Vietnamese Americans and resulted in an apology.
  • In 2004, many Vietnamese American students at the California State University, Fullerton
    California State University, Fullerton
    California State University, Fullerton is a public university located in Fullerton, California. It is the largest institution in the CSU System by enrollment, it offers long-distance education and adult-degree programs...

     threatened to walk out on their graduation ceremony when the university chose to use the current flag of Vietnam to represent its Vietnamese students. The Vietnamese American students demanded that the university use the former flag of South Vietnam instead. This resulted in the university scrapping all foreign flags for the ceremony.
  • In 2006, Vietnamese-American students at the University of Texas at Arlington
    University of Texas at Arlington
    The University of Texas at Arlington is a public research university located in Arlington, Texas, United States. The campus is situated southwest of downtown Arlington, and is located in the Dallas–Fort Worth metropolitan area. The university was founded in 1895 and served primarily a military...

     protested against the use of the Vietnamese flag in the Hall of Flags in Nedderman Hall
    Nedderman Hall
    Nedderman Hall is the name of one of the engineering buildings at the University of Texas at Arlington in the U.S. state of Texas that contains several academic departments, lecture halls, research labs, the offices of the Dean of the College of Engineering, and a Science and Engineering library...

     and the exclusion of the South Vietnamese flag at a cultural diversity show during International Week. After weeks of protests, the university decided to scrap all flags from the display.
  • Prior to President George W. Bush
    George W. Bush
    George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

    's visit to Vietnam in 2006, the White House website briefly displayed the flag of the Republic of Vietnam before replacing it with the current flag of Vietnam.
  • During World Youth Day 2008
    World Youth Day 2008
    The 23rd World Youth Day 2008 was a Catholic youth festival that started on 15 July and continued until 20 July 2008 in Sydney, Australia. It was the first World Youth Day held in Australia and the first World Youth Day in Oceania. This meeting was decided by Pope Benedict XVI, during the Cologne...

    , tensions flared between the 800 Vietnamese pilgrims who used the flag of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the 2300 Vietnamese Australians pilgrims who used the Republic of Vietnam flag.
  • In 2008, many protested against Nguoi Viet Daily News
    Nguoi Viet Daily News
    Nguoi Viet Daily News was the first and largest daily newspaper published in Vietnamese in the United States. The newspaper was started by Yen Ngoc Do in 1978. Its name derives from người Việt, meaning "Vietnamese people"....

    , a Vietnamese-language newspaper in Orange County, California
    Orange County, California
    Orange County is a county in the U.S. state of California. Its county seat is Santa Ana. As of the 2010 census, its population was 3,010,232, up from 2,846,293 at the 2000 census, making it the third most populous county in California, behind Los Angeles County and San Diego County...

    , for publishing a photograph of an art installation depicting a foot spa bearing the colors of the flag.
  • The lobbying efforts of Vietnamese Americans resulted in the state governments of Louisiana, California and Ohio to adopt it to symbolize Vietnamese Americans.

External links


A explanation of the flag by the Flags of the World
Flags of the World
Flags of the World is an Internet-based vexillological association and resource. Its principal project is the Internet's largest website devoted to vexillology, containing comprehensive information about all kinds of flags, and an associated mailing list...

 which is the website devoted to vexillology
Vexillology
Vexillology is the scholarly study of flags. The word is a synthesis of the Latin word vexillum, meaning 'flag', and the Greek suffix -logy, meaning 'study'. The vexillum was a particular type of flag used by Roman legions during the classical era; its name is a diminutive form of the word velum...

.