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Mali Flag

The first flag of Mali was adopted on 4 April 1959, when French Sudan and Senegal formed the Mali Federation. This federation became independent on 20 June 1960. The 'kanaga' symbol was used on the first Mali flag, until it was abolished on 1 March 1961. It is a black human-like image and was removed because of pressure from Muslims who do not approve of making images of the human shape.

Senegal seceded on 22 August 1960, and replaced the kanaga by a green star. Mali continued to use the tricolour with the kanaga, but abolished the black kanaga on 1 March 1961, and has used the plain tricolour in pan-African colours since then. The green represents nature, the yellow represents purity, and mineral resources, and the red represents bravery and blood shed in the struggle for independence.

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