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Early Emblems



French Rule





Air Force






Present Algeria comprises the roman provinces Caesatiensis, Sitifensis and Numidia, in Roman times provinces of the Diocese of Africa. Later this territory was called Barbaria, so called after the Berbers which formed the major part of the population.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire Africa was captured by the Vandals who settled in Caesarea, west of Algier and in the territory around Tizi-Ouzou.

After a short period of Byzantine rule when Africa and the present day Algerian coast were the Exarchate of Carthago, all North Africa was captured by the Umayyads.

After the Arab conquest began in 637, the area was known as Al-Maghrib al-Awsat, or the Middle West. The Berbers accepted Islam but preserved their own traditional political and social institutions, in effect absorbing the invaders. Arabs from the east attacked in the 11th century. These newcomers, unlike their predecessors, were nomadic pastoralists rather than farmers; they destroyed many of the towns and farms and reinforced a more pastoral type of economy. Almoravids from Morocco also took possession of part of the region in the 11th century, and they were succeeded by Almohads a century later. Although these and other dynasties and individuals united the territory and united it with Morocco and Spain, local rulers retained considerable autonomy. Meanwhile, seafaring and piracy became important.

After the fall of the Almohad Empire in 1269 the Zirid Dynasty of Tlemcen became the main ruler in today’s Algeria sometimes under the suzerainty of Fez or Tunis. A short period of independence came to an end when Spain conquered Mers el Kebir and Oran in 1509, and Algiers and Bougie in 1510 and the  Ziyanid sultan in Tlemçen was forced to accept a spanish protectorate (of Charles I (V)). As a counteract the Algerians asked the aid of 'Aruj, known as Barbarossa, a Turkish pirate. He expelled the Spaniards from some of their coastal footholds, made himself sultan, and conquered additional territory. The area of Barbarossa’s control was extended by his brother, Khayr ad-Din, also called Barbarossa, who placed his territory under the suzerainty of the Ottoman sultan in Constantinople. Until 1587, Algiers was governed by beylerbeys; from 1587 to 1659, by pashas, who were appointed for three-year terms; and after 1659, by aghas and finally by deys (28 deys in all, 14 of whom were assassinated). Other parts of what is now called Algeria were ruled either by Turkish officials or by local chieftains. Spain held a small area around Oran until 1708 and controlled it again from 1732 to 1791.

Algiers became increasingly independent of Istanbul and, joining with other states of the Barbary Coast, thrived on piracy. At this time, it had diplomatic and trade relations with many European countries, including France. But with the defeat (though not suppression) of the Barbary pirates by US and European fleets during 1815–16, and with the growing European interest in acquiring overseas colonies, Algiers was seen as a possible addition to either the British or the French empire. In 1830, the French took over the principal ports; they gradually subjugated the Berbers, annexed the northern regions, and set up a system of fortified posts. Thereafter, sporadic revolts broke out, notably the guerrilla war from 1830 to 1847, led by the legendary hero, Abd al-Qadir, and the Kabyle rebellion in 1871. Other sections, however, remained independent of France until the first decade of the 20th century.

Al-Jazair, as it was called in Arabic, became, in French, Algérie, a name that France applied to the territory for the first time in 1839. In 1848, northern Algeria was proclaimed an integral part of France and was organized into three provinces. In 1957, all Muslims became French subjects, but about 9 million Muslims and 500,000 Europeans voted on separate electoral rolls for a joint assembly. Unsuccessful in obtaining further reforms and faring poorly in several apparently rigged elections, the moderate Muslim nationalist group led by Ferhat Abbas was greatly weakened. A resulting war in Algeria toppled several French governments before causing the demise of the Fourth Republic in May 1958. Gen. Charles de Gaulle was then brought to power by French rightists and military groups in Algeria. To their surprise, however, he pursued a policy of preparing for Algerian independence. He offered self-determination to Algeria in September 1958. Referendums in France and Algeria on 8 April and 1 July 1962 approved a settlement, and independence was formally proclaimed on 3 July.




Early Emblems


Starting in the Later Roman Era the insignia of rank of the Ducis et praesidis provintiae Mauretanie consisted of a Book of Mandates and a codicil. On the Book of Mandates is written the abbreviation of  Floreas Inter Allectos Comites Ordinis Primi (Mayst thou prosper amongst the chosen counts of the first rank). The codicil are early letters of credence.[1]


Also we know some shields of roman auxiliary troops from the Notitia Dignitatum on fol. 179v n° 2: Constantanij; fol. 182r n° 4: Constantini; fol. 204r, n° 19 Con­stantici, n°  20 Constantiniarij. And auxilliary troops from Mauretania on fol 204v n°  14: Maurosismiaci.


Shortly afterwards Caesarea became a part of the Vandal Kingdom (439-533) and of the Exarchate of Africa (533-697). As these states were ruled by Christians, the Christian symbols of authority, the square cross, the latin cross and the XP-cypher were in use for the administrative, the religious and armed authority.

This changed in the Muslim era when these symbols of authority were abandoned. The sun disc of Roman times was replaced by an eight or sixteen-pointed figure, the state remained to be symbolized by a crescent. The square cross was replaced by a tulip, the latin cross by the muslim profession of faith and the XP-cypher by a sword, a thunderbolt (fleur de lys) or a hexagram. The badges of rank seem to have been adopted from roman examples and we meet lions, griffins and eagles in Umayyad heraldry. No information however could be gathered from the Idrissid and Zirid eras in the Maghrib (788-1070).

The color of the Umayyads (and the Fatimids) was white. Artin writes:

“..vers le VIIe siecle lorsque Mouawieh se declara Khalife a Damas, il adopta le drapeau blanc, qui etait certaine-ment deja son drapeau lorsqu'il n'etait que gouverneur de la Syrie.

Cette couleur blanche devint des lors la couleur de l’empire et des Omayyades.

Apres la chute de cette dynastie en Orient, l’etendard blanc passa en Espagne avec Abdul Rahman (756-788) qui fonda la branche des Khalifes Ommayades d’Espagne, au 8ème siecle; et la couleur blanche resta la couleur de l’empire en Espagne et dans tout le nord de l’Afrique, jusqu’a l’expulsion complete des Arabes de l'Espagne, au 15ème siecle.”  [2]


In the Almohad era however, the heraldic colors used in war were like elsewhere black, white, red, blue and yellow.




Agadir is the oldest part of the city of Tlemcen. It is known from Roman times when it was called Pomaria. In the Muslim Era the city played an important role. According to Ibn Khaldoun Tlemcen was founded by the Beni-Ifren, the most powerful tribe of the Zenata Berbers. It became  the capital of Central Maghreb and the cultural centre of the Zenata Berbers.

At the end of the 9th century Tilimsan was a big city, famous for its remparts and palaces. Its strategic position caused a long struggle between Fez and Tunis. In 1080 the city was captured by the Almoravids. Yusuf ben Tashufin (1071-1106), wanting to make the city one of his strongholds, encamped an army there and the Almoravid general Mezdeli founded an army base called Tagraret or Taghart which in fact means ‘army base’. The conquests of  ‘Abd al-Mu’min (1094-1163), a former lieutenant of the Almoravid caliph, who by 1147 had taken Oran, Tlemcen, Fez, Aghmat, Tangier, Seville, and Marrakesh, marked the end of the Almoravid empire. He was the founder of the Almohad Empire which came to an end in 1269. Of this Empire Tlemcen was a vassal state which soon enjoyed great autonomy.

The fate of Tlemcen changed when in the 13th century it gave its name to an independent kingdom founded by the leader of the Zenata Berbers of the Abd-el-Ued. Other dynasties succeeded but the region around Oran kept its name of Kingdom of Tlemcen until the 16th century.






Senior Line


Yahmorasen ben Zeyyan


Abu Said Othman


Abu Zeyyan


Abu Hamoun-Musa


Abu Taschfin I



Junior Line


Othman Ibn Jerrar (regent)


Abu Zeid Othman


Abu Thabit


Abu Hamma Musa


Abu Taschfin


Son of Abu Taschfin


7 brothers and a cousin of  Taschfin


Abu Malik Abd el-Wahed el Mota-wakkel al Allah



Abu Malik Abd el-Wahed el Motawakkel al Allah


Line Abu Hammu Musa


Abu abd Allah el-Motawakkel al-Allah


Abu Taschfin III


Abu Abd Allah Mohammed eth-Thabiti



Abu Abd Allah Mohammed eth-Thabiti


Abu Abd Allah Mohammed



Abu Zeiyan Ahmed


Abu Hammu III


Abu Zeiyan Ahmed


Captured by Algiers 1553

The Almohad Era


Le Roy darrabe


gaquart roi


Two coats of arms from the Almohad Era may have been of the king of Tlemcen and his general. Probably they were recorded at the 8th crusade of Louis the Saint which ended in Tunis (1267-1270).  

In 1269 the Almohad empire fell.


The arms are documented by Wijnbergen roll, the first Azure, three lions passant guardant Or, with the legend Le Roy darrabe  [3]

The second Argent, a lion rampant Azure within a bordure Gules strewn with besants (Or), with the legend le de gaquart roi [4]


In these rulers we may recognize the king of the Berbers (= roi de Barbares), then Yahmorasen ben Zeyyan (1248-’83) and the military governor of  Tlemcen (Tragraret).[5]

The first arms correspond with the rank of the roman consul (sultan), the second with the rank of  dux (emir).


Later these arms were documented by Alonso de Torres and Ducange but they also had a problem with the exact attribution of these arms.


In 1478 Alonso de Torres writes: El rrey de Garbars (Gabares). Trae de azul con tres lyupardos lyonados y los lyupardos son negros.[6]


In 1680 Ducange writes:

Le Roy de Grahars, (al. Gorbas,) d'azur à trois lyons passans. Apud Matth. Villaneum lib.1. cap. 50.51. lib. 8. cap. 99. Regem regni del Garbo observo, quod Tunisensi vicinam facit: ubi etiam docet illud ipsum esse quod Bellemarinae & Trameseni: Buenen Re del Garbo, il qual volgarmente è detto il Reame della Bellamarina e di Tremiss. [7]


In 1509 the Livro do Armeiro-Mor gives:

Arms: Azure, three lions passant guardant Or.

Crest: On a helmet to the dexter, lambrequined of the colours, a royal crown. [8]




After the fall of the Almohad empire the classical heraldic system seems to have been abandoned.This is particularly visible after the fall of Jerusalem and the reign of Al-Nasir Muhammad I (1299-1309) in Egypt when figurative badges of rank ‘old style’ disappeared almost completely in the islamic world. It was the time that the Muslim world cut itself off from the West.

Information of these badges of rank is rare but instead we are provided with information about the flags of the world known by Catalan tradesmen, by the portolans or sea charts they used.

Also there is a geographic treatise, the ‘Book of Knowledge’ which gives us information about the flags of the nations in the 14th century.[9]


At first the Kings of Tlemcen adopted the colour white for their color, their symbol of state, the crescent plqaced on their white flags. Such a flag is documented for the senior line of the Abd al Wadids by Marino Sanudo in 1321 and by Pietro Vesconte in about 1325.


The Barbary coast by Pietro Vesconte, 1325ca


Flag of Tlemcen


Annexation by Fez.


After the annexation by Fez the flag of the Junior Line became a blue crescetn on a white cloth. This is documented by the portolans of Angelino Dulcerta and his successors until the middle of the 15th century. [10]  The book of Knowledge writes:

“Know that in this Tremeçen they killed the king of the west named Beacob. The king of Tremeçen has for his device a flag, white with a blue moon.” [11]



The flag did not change when Abd-el Aziz II of  Tunisia (1394-1434) became the accepted suzerain of Tlemcen. In fact the flag of Tunisia was also white with a blue (or black) crescent, its points to the sinister instead of upwards.


Independence and Protectorate


After independence from Tunisia was gained in 1488 the flag was changed in all red. This can be seen on an anonymous portolan from about 1492.



This flag was the model for a coat of arms European style when Tlemcen became a Spanish Protectorate in 1520. A crowned shield, all red, can be seen on the reverse of a silver medal of Albrecht Dürer cut for the coronation of Charles I (V) in 1520. It is also on the Triptych of Malines (about 1540) on which Charles calls himself Roy de (....) Tramessant.



The arms of Tramessant between the arms of Granada and Biscaya a on the Triptych of Malines, about 1540.


These arms are described by Ducange who remarks:


“Le Roy de Tramesson, (al. Tramesoin,) tout de gueules. Meminit Regni de Tremecen, vel de Tramessen, seu de Tramisen, Froissartes 1. vol. cap. 230. 245. 2. vol. cap. 81.4. vol. cap. 23 ut & Matth. Villa­neus lib. 1. cap. 14. Oronvilla cap. 71. Leo African. lib. 4. à quo descri­bitur, Thevetus lib. 1. cap. 8. Gramyus lib. 7. & alii à Davito laudati in Africa p. 168 à quo in Algeriensi Regno esse dicitur.”  [Froissart: French Historian (ca. 1333-1400)]


This suggests that the origin of the red flag is much older than 1488. It may have been the ensign of war, the flag with the crescent being the flag of state.


The flag of all Spanish possessions in Northern Africa in the meantime, was quarterly of Aragon and Castile (the colours reversed)


The Maghrib on a map of Jacobo Russo, 1550.

(British Library)





A former part of the Vandal kingdom, the region around Ceasarea (Cherchell) appeared in the 14th century  on the map of Angelino Dulcerta (1339). Near the city is a pole with two white streamers.

The author of the Book of Knowledge writes a few years later:

 “I went from Bugia to Arguer, thence to Brischan a city on the sea coast. [12] The King of it has a white flag with a sign like this:





A few years later a white flag with a yellow hexagram appears at Brischan [13]:



From Maximilian’s Triumphal Arch.



Such a flag was also on sea charts in the later 14th and in the 15th century. After Tlemcen had gained its independence in 1488, the flag with the hexagram disappeared.

The hexagram is a general symbol of armed authority. A white flag with a hexagram can be considered to be the white ensign of, in this case, the navy.

Other 14th-16th century flags with a hexagram are known from Sinope and Attalia in Asia Minor, from Misrata in Libya and from Fez.

            After the capture of Algiers and Bougie by Spain in 1510 a coat of arms was adopted for the region.

It was engraved on the Triumphal Arch of Maxilimilian of Austria by Albrecht Dürer (1517) and was also on the medal for the occasion of the coronation of Charles I (V) (1520). In a later manuscript (1675) it is described as:


“Islas y Tierra Firme: partido en dos en el superior, leopardo de oro y en punta un elefante de plata.” (The Isles and the Mainland, parted per fess in chief a lion passant Or and in base an elephant Argent).


In this blason the lion is for the Isles (Algiers) and the elephant for the mainland. The colour of the field is unknown.


Somewhat later these arms are represented in an armorial made by Vigil Raber from Southern Tirol. [14] The arms are now called of “Gibraltar and the Canaries”, and are Azure, a lion passant in chief an an elephant passant in base Argent


These arms had as short an existence as the spanish possession of Algiers


The Ottoman Era



In 1516 the region of Algiers was captured by the Ottoman Khair ad-Din Abu Yusuf Aruj Barbaras who became pasha of Algiers. After an insurrection by the Kabyles he returned in 1529 and was the first beylerbey of the Eyâlet Cezayir-i Garb founded 1519.


Extremely limited areas were firmly controlled by the Turks in North Africa. The expeditions to Tuggurt, Wargla , Ghadames and the Fezzan were very rare, and during the intervals these oases enjoyed their usual independence. Fez was occupied by the Ottomans in 1554 and 1578, both times to seat one of two rival candidates on the throne; Abu Marwan (1576-’78) aknowledged the Sultan’s suzerainty on the sedond occasion, but he recovered his independence as soon as his allies left, and the river Muluia marks the normal frontier of Turkish power in the west.

Ölj Ali Pasha (1562-1577) was the last of the great Beylerbeyis who combined the rule of Cezayir with the office of Kaptan-Pasha and on his death the three provinces not only became formally separate from each other, but they enjoyed a degree of autonomy which progressed towards virtual independence of the Porte by the middle of the 17th century.


The emblem of a turkish eyâlet was a crescent in the same way as a crescent had been the symbol of state of kingdoms before.

The head of state could bear such a crescent on his ceremonial dress with an additional symbol for his office. This can be seen on the portrait of the famous Khair ad-Din Abu Ysuf Aruj who wears a dress strewn with crescents with triangular jewels between their horns. Barbarossa has a trident in his hand which, maybe, was the emblem of his rank as a kaptan pasha (chief commander of the Ottoman

Navy). Kaptan-Pasha’s held the rank of vizier and in that quality they had the right to bear a standard of three tugh’s (horse-tails). A trident in itself is a version of a thunderbolt and a symbol of the (naval) armed forces in general.

A shield is ascribed to Barbarossa on a 18th century tapestry representing the Battle of Tunis in 1535. It is red with a four-pointed compass rose between six-pointed stars and a crescent in base. Because the tapestry was made about two hundred years after the battle took place these arms may be an invention of the weaver. [15]

Some other martial symbols are on his banner preserved in Istanbul. This banner has nothing to do with Algeria but is his banner of command of the Ottoman Navy. It is green, which is the colour of the chief commander, and shows the sword of Islam  between four crescents enclosing formula from the Quran. Between the points of the sword is a hexagram and above the hilt a Hand of Fatima. At the mast-end is a verse from the Quran.


Banner of Khair ad-Din Abu Yusuf Aruj


Algerian war ensign and merhant flag, about 1700.


Muhammad II Bektash

Dey, 04.1706-03.1710


Crescent and tulip

As in the head of a ratification act by the Kingdom of Algiers, 1708.

ARA Den Haag. I  Staten Generaal 12597.66.


Flags of Algeria,

on a flag chart, about 1750


The one on the left is the Ottoman merchant flag. The one on the right  is the blue war-ensign showing an arm swinging a sword. The arms swinging a sword is the emblem of a connétable, the official charged with the care of the armed forces. It was also used, for example, by Dutch admirals.


The German Heraldist Von Hefner made a real achievement out of this flag an surrounded it by a lion’s skin upheld by two tugh’s. [16]



Dey 1818-1830


Husseyn Dey succeeded Ali V ben Ahmed as Ottoman provincial ruler, or dey, of Algiers in March 1818. In order to reassure the Europeans he enacted some liberal measures such as freeing hostages and ensuring freedom of religion for the Jews.

After an unimportant incident the French took te opportunity to invade Algiers in June 1830.  After a three-week campaign against the Ottoman forces. Hussein Dey agreed to surrender. His seal, symbol of his authority in Algeria, was confiscated on 30 July 1830 by Marshal De Bourmont, chief commander of the French army. It was rendered by President Jacques Chirac (1995-2007) when officially visiting Algeria on 2 March 2003.


Sael of Hussein Dey


The seal of an oval shape is made of cornaline and is inscribed with four lines from the Quran Surah 11, Hud, verse 87:


My salvation only comes from God

O lord, favour the affairs undertaken by Ali

I trust myself to him and I repent to him

O my people


French Suzerainty

1830 - 1842


In 1830 the French took a small conflict as a pretext to intervene and capture Algiers. Afterwards a French protectorate was installed which slowly came to control all the region.



In the time of the French “Monarchy de Juillet” (1830-1848) the achievement of France showed the Tables of the Constitution, surrounde by the ribbon and star of the Légion d’ Honneur, crowned and placed on standards and flags in saltire.


Abd-el-Kader, Emir of Mascara,



Resistance to French policies was conducted by Abd el Kader, Amir al-Muminin, also styled Sultan al-Muminin of Mascara, who started a jihad on 11 November 1839. On 23 December 1847 Abd el Kader had to surrender to the French and Algeria became a French colony.


Seal of Abd el Kader

Hexagram and inscription dated 1249 H (1833 AD)


A national flag of Mascara had been adopted on 25 of November 1832. It consisted of three breadth’s green, white and green, the white charged with a golden ‘Hand of Fatima’ surrounded by the motto ‘Thank God, Victory is near’.



The ensign of war of Abd el Kader was white.



The ‘Hand of Fatima’ is a symbol of prosperity but also, and in the first place, the symbol of the five pillars of Islam: Shahada (confession), Salat prayer, Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca), Ramadan (fast) and Zakat (giving of alms).

Fatima was a daughter of Muhammad and the Fatimids, rulers of Egypt (910-1171), are named after her.

An open hand was the emblem of many Roman standards. Such standards were also used by the Arabs on their campaigns and the ‘Hand of Fatima’ in Islamic iconography has its origin in these campaigns. The present symbolism of the ‘Hand of Fatima’ is a religious interpretation of a martial emblem.



French Algeria Military Province

1842 - 1881


The French possions in North Africa became a military province of France in February 1842. It was administrated by a Governor General. Shortly afterwards an achievement for this province appeared.

It consisted of a shield charged with a hexagram within a bordure, crowned with a royal crown and supported by two lions. A trophy of flags and cannon commemorates the capture of Algiers.

Achievement of Algeria

From: A. Vuillemin: Carte de L’Algérie. Paris, 1846. (76 x 51 cm).


The official status of this achievement is unknown. Probably it disappeared after Algeria was divided into districts (départements) on 9 December 1848, shortly after the crushing of the Abd el Kader rebellion. The districts were a continuation of the former beyliks and were named after their capitals, seats of their administrative centres (préfectures) : Oran, Alger and Constantine.

Afterwards, in any case after the proclamation of the Second Empire (1852), official documents were sealed with the emblem of  France.

Seal on a document of 1862


Coats of arms for the capitals of the préfectures were adopted in 1861 for Algiers, at the end of the 19th century for Constantine and at the beginning of the 20th century for Oran. They certainly were not used by the préfectures themselves.


Napoleon Eugène


Roi d’Algérie 1856-1870


To the great indignation of the French colonists Napoleon III was of the opnion that “Algeria is not a real colony but and Arab kingdom... I am the Emperor of the Arabs and Emepror of the French as well”.

In accordance with this opinion he appointed his son Napoléon Eugène, born in 1856, King of Algeria.

The achievement of Eugène was the same as that of the son of Napoléon I, François Charles, Roman King (1811-’14), lacking the sceptre and the main de justice of the achievement of Napoléon I. Apparently Napoléon III had the intention to make the title of King of Algeria the title of the crown prince (following the examples of the Prince of Wales in the United Kingdom and Prince of Asturias in Spain).

Achievement of Napoléon Eugène,  King of Algeria (1856-1870) [17]


When he was proclaimed Napoleon IV in 1874, his arms were augmented with the sceptre and main de justice like in the arms of the Empire.




French Algeria, Civil Province

1881 -1962



Seal of Governor General Pierre Bordes (1927-’30)

Crescent encricling eight-pointed star and inscriptions

(Source gallica.bnf.fr / Bibliothèque nationale de France)

The legend reads:

‘He who searches for the support of God of whom he is the servant: Pierre Bordes, Governor General of Algeria. May God protect him.’


The accompanying explanation reads:

‘Official seal serving for authenticating official documents appointing native high officials, Caids, Aghas, Bachaghas etc.. Every G.G. has his own seal.’


French Governors General of Algeria of which there have been 49, served from 1834-1956.


After WW II, to meet the political unrest in the province, led by the Front National de Libération, set up 1 November 1954, the Algerian General Government created the Groupes Mobiles de Police Rurale on 24 January 1955. These were divisions of the Army and were commanded by Companies’ Officers only responsible to the French Army Staff and the Minister. On 18 March 1958 the name of the units was changed into Groupes Mobiles de Sécurité.

These units played an important role in the ensuing Algerian war for Independence.



After General de Gaulle had come to power in 1958, independence was granted after a referendum on  1 January 1962.




République Algérienne



The arms of the republic had the same colours as the flag hoisted for the first time on 3 July 1962. It is parted per pale Vert and Argent charged with a crescent and five-pointed star Gules. In chief the arab letters dzjim are added for the inistials of the republic Djumhuriyah Djazairiyah (Republic of Algeria)

The colours are explained as follows:


  • Green is the colour of Islam and of the fatherland
  • White symbolizes the national tradition and the purity of its moral and body of thought
  • Red symbolizes revolution and socialism
  • The crescent and star means happiness [18]


The arms are in the French tradition, the charge of the arms being the colours of the flag.


République Algérienne Democratique et Populaire




When the republic was made a people’’s republic in 1963 an emblem soviet style was adopted. It is:


Emblem: A crescent and five-pointed star Gules

Crest: A “Hand of Fatima” rising from two olive branches, between two national flags per chevron and three ears of wheat in base between two wine-leaves, all proper.

Garland: Branches of laurel and olive proper and a scroll in base Or.



This emblem was also the charge of the Seal of State with the legend république algerienne democratique et populaire. [19]



After the adoption of a new constitution in 1976 the emblem on the seal was changed. It shows a a sun radiant rising over a mountain range, charged with a golden hand, the three middle fingers united, the exterior fingers ending in a dove’s beak holding branches of olive between:

On the dexter: a palm-leaf, the roofs and chimneys of a work and an oil-derrick, and leaves of olive below.

On the sinister: Leaves of oak and three ears of wheat and a ballot-box below.

And a crescent and five-pointed star in base.

The legend reads: république algerienne democratique et populaire.


This was changed somewhat later into its translation in arab: Al Djumhuriyah al Djazairiyah al Dimuqratiyah al Shabiyah.


A coloured version of this seal appeared in the first decennium of the 21st century.



From the beginning of the 21st century the seal is placed within an ornamental border. This achievement is called ‘armoires’ on the site of the governement of Algeria. It can be found in embassies and it was printed on a stamp issued at the occasion of the presidential elections in 2009.






ð see illustration in the head of this essay.


Armed Forces





From 1830 until independence in 1962 the Armée de l’Afrique was encamped in Algeria. This consisted of several divisions: The Zouaves, the Algerian Fuseliers, the African Hunters, the Light Infantry Batallions, the Saharan Mehari Companies, the Moroccan and Tunisian Fuseliers, and the Foreign Legion. All these army divisions had their own insignia.


The present arms of the Algerian People’s Army consist of a mountain range representing the Atlas, charged with a crescent and two rifles, surrounded by a garland of olive and an ear of grain.





In pre-colonial times the war-ensign was red, charged with a turbaned head and after 1683 blue with an arm swinging a sword.


The present emblem of the Algerian Navy consists of two anchors in saltire enclosed by a crescent and surrounded by the legend ALGERIAN NAVY in english and arab.


The navy ensign consists of the national flag with two red anchors in saltire at the mast top. A modern version shows the anchors white and inclining towards each other.


Air Force

Algerian Air Force Emblem


Algerian Air Force Roundel




Police badge 1930-‘39/1945-‘54

Police badge 1944

Police badge 1954-‘62


Present Police sleeve patch


See also: http://www.polinsignia.com/argelia.htm



Back to Main Page


 © Hubert de Vries 2011-07-30; Updated 2015-01-23




[1] Notitia Dignitatum fol 215v

[2] Contribution a l’étude du blason en Orient, 1902 p. 30.

[3] Adam-Even, Paul & Léon Jéquier: Un Armorial français du XIIIe siècle, l'armorial Wijnbergen. In: Archives Heraldiques Suisses., 1953 pp. 55-77. N°1288

[4] Ibid n°1283

[5] Other possibilies like the King of Algarve or the King of Arabia (i.e. of the (roman) province of Arabia) are rejected

[6] Riquer, Martin de Heraldica Castellana en Tiempos de los Reyes Catholicos. Barcelona, 1986. N° 463

[7] Ducange, Car. Du Fresne: Historia Byzantina.  dupl. comment. illustrata prior: familias ac stemmata Imperat. Constantinop. &c. Paris, 1680.                

[8] Instituto dos Archivos Nacionais

[9] Book of the Knowledge of all the kingdoms, lands, and lordships that are in the world. (ca 1350) Works issued by the Hakluyt Society. 2nd series N° XXIX. 1912.

[10] For example Gabriel Vallseca (abou 1440) and Gabriel Bertran (1456)

[11] Book of Knowledge p. 25. This Beacob is identified as Abu Yakob Yusuf of Marinid Fez  (1268-1307) who was murdered by a slave.

[12] Ibid. Arguer = Algiers. Brischan = 19th century Bresk, a few kilometres west of Cherchell, abandoned nowadays.

[13] On a Catalan Atlas, 1375 ca

[14] Weimar, Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek, Fol. 220, f.3r

[15] Tunis war. 1535. Fabric designed in 1740 for tapestries, by order of Philip V. Seville, Reales Alcázares. Author: Anonymous. Location: Reales Alcazares, Seville, Spain.

[16] From: Hefner, O. von: Die Wappen der ausserdeutschen Souveraine und Staaten. (1857). Nürnberg, 1870. 

[17] Von Hefner, Taf. 138, 2Taf. 10. & p. 5. A modern rendering of this achievement can be found on internet.

[18] In a more general sense green is the colour of the supreme commander, white of religious authority, red the colour of armed authority and the crescent and star the symbol of the (military) head of state

[19] Herzog, Hans-Ulrich & Fritz Wolf: Flaggen und Wappen. Leipzig, 1966.

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