This is a story of the National Flag of the State of Qatar. This Flag is white pierced with nine serrated points penetrating to the light Maroon portion. The origin of the colour of this Flag dates back to the Bronze Age of 3rd millennium BC. Archeologists found that the prehistoric settlers established a factory on Jezirat bin Ghannam (an island at the Bay of Al Khor) to produce purple red dyes from species of sea snails. This dye was imported by other countries to use for ceremonial and ritual garments for the royals including emperors, kings and high ranking citizens. The Maroon colour comes from the dye drying under the hot desert sun. Before 1851, each Qatari tribe had its own Flag. They used to fly them during fights, festivals and celebrations. In 1851, in an effort to unite all Qatari tribes under one banner, Sheikh Jasim bin Thani, the founder of Modern Qatar, adopted a single Flag to face Amir Faisal bin Turki, who arrived at Mesaimeer, a place situated to the west of Doha. Since then Qatar had been using this purple-red Flag. In 1916 the Anglo-Qatari Protection Treaty was concluded bringing Qatar under British Trucial system of administration, as 9th Member. Other members of the Trucial administration (now the United Arab Emirates), were Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras al-Khaimah, Ajman, Umm al-Qawain, Fujairah and later Bahrain. In line with the terms of the Treaty of 1916, the British Admiralty prescribed a distinctive Flag for Qatar in April 1932. This Flag was very similar to the Flag of Bahrain except the portion “which is red in the Bahrain Flag is more nearly Violet [Purple] in the case of Qatar.” While Bahrain's Flag had eight zigzag points, the Qatari Flag had nine. This prescribed purple colour Flag was not acceptable to Sheikh Abdullah bin Jasim Al Thani, Ruler of Qatar (1913–1949). He adopted a Crimson Flag with a serrated white strip near the staff pierced with Crimson diamonds. The word “Qatar” in Arabic characters inscribed in white on Crimson. Sheikh Abdullah adopted this Crimson colour to avoid confusion with Bahrain's red Flag. The small crimson diamonds between each zigzag point was added to distinguish the strips. This Flag also possessed nine points and the total number of diamonds was also nine. Crimson or Maroon represents coagulated blood colour. Red turns into Crimson or Maroon when it becomes dry. In 1949, Sheikh Ali bin Abdullah Al Thani, Ruler of Qatar (1949–1960), changed the colour of the Flag and adopted Maroon. This colour was obtained by exposing the natural red dye. In 1960, the country's name and the diamonds were removed from the Flag; but the colour and the serration remained the same. From 1960 to December 2012, Qatar flew this Maroon Flag. The Maroon portion of the Flag carries the past history, culture and heritage of Qatar. For the same reasons as before, the Maroon colour was used to differentiate it from the Flag of Bahrain and the nine points remained. On the occasion of the celebration of Qatar's sixth National Day, 18th December 2012, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar (June 1995–June 2013), now the Father Amir, changed the colour of the Flag to the 1851 light Maroon instead of dark to maintain the continuation of the old heritage of Qatar. In this way, through history, Qatar now has a new National Flag. Its meaning is from ancient natural resources from Qatar and is directly linked to the Qatari Royal Family.


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