Rwanda is best known to most people for its genocide of 1994 in which up to a million people were killed. As part of the country’s rebuilding process a new flag and national anthem were adopted in 2001 and the old one, featured here, with all its negative associations was gotten rid of. Though the flag was finally lowered in the shadow of great tragedy, it was originally raised as part of Rwanda’s triumphant independence (albeit following a great deal of bloodshed). In common with most of Africa, the area of what is now Rwanda was home to its own civilisation and society long before European intervention, but at the Berlin Conference of 1884 the area was declared Ruanda-Urundi and part of German East Africa and remained so before being taken over by Belgium (who later introduced identity cards that further entrenched the distinctions between the different tribes that would eventually result in civil war and genocide) during the First World War. In 1959 the bloody Rwandan Revolution took place before independence was declared in 1962. The flag adopted made use of the so-called Pan-African Colours most closely associated at the time with Ethiopia (popular because other than a brief period of Fascist Italian oppression, Ethiopia had managed to resist European colonialisation). Whereas Ethiopia’s flag is a horizontal tricolour, the Rwandan is vertical, an orientation that has connotations of the revolutionary French flag (as well as that of Belgium). Originally the flag was not charged with the letter “R”, but Guinea had adopted an identical flag in 1958, and Mali chose the same colours in the reverse order, thus it was considered necessary to differentiate the flag of Rwanda by adding a further detail. There are differing explanations for the choice of colours. For some they represent peace, the nation’s hope for future development, and the people. For others: red – the shedding of blood and the suffering during the people’s liberation; yellow – rest and peace of a free people; green – hope and trust. As well as being the country’s initial, the “R” is said to represent Rwanda, born through Revolution, confirmed by Referendum (though this may just be an example of vexillological post-rationalisation). The precise form of the “R” has also been debated as it seems as though there were no official guidelines as to what the letter should like. Thus, it is just as common to see a sans serif “R” as it is to see one with serifs.