Togo was a German Protectorate from 1884. It was given its name in a treaty of that year between the explorer Gustav Nachtigal, operating in the name of the German Emperor, and Chief Mlapa III. [1] The name is derived from the settlement of Togo at the Bay of Togo. In August 1914 the protectorate was occupied by the British and the French and was divided between them as Mandatory Territories by the League of Nations in 1920. The British part, which was added to Goldcoast Colony, remained by referendum to the independent state of Ghana, the successor of the Goldcoast. The French part was granted limited autonomy in 1957 and independence on 27 April 1960 with the name of République Togolaise.  


German Protectorate



Arms of Togo Protectorate, 1914 [2]



Just before the outbreak of WWI, at the initiative of Wilhelm Solf, secretary of State for the Colonies, Germany made designs for arms for all of its colonies. The one for Togo should be, according to Solf, an oil palm between two snakes, the shield supported by a Hausa and a negro, “but more civilized then the ones for East Africa and Cameroon”.

In the end the arms, drawn by the Royal Court and Heraldic Painter Max Block, became:


Arms: Argent, a palmtree on a base Vert, between two snakes upright Sable. And a chief Or, an eagle Sable, billed and clawed Gules, with an escutchon quarterly Argent and Sable on its breast.

Crown: The German Imperial Crown.


On 14 July 1914, two weeks before the beginning of the war, the arms were approved by the Emperor but they never reached their destination. [3]

The flag of the Protectorate should have been of the German tricolore (black-white-red) with the arms, without chief and crown, on the white stripe. This flag also could never be used.


French Rule

1920- 1960


After 1920 the smblems of France were valid in the French part of Togo: The head of Marianne, a personification of the (free) French people (and the sovereign of France), and the French Tricolore. For the French territories a bundle of three palm-leaves was used.





In 1948 the palm-leaves were replaced by the head of a gazelle (Gazella leptoceros - Bovidæ), surrounded by a garland of maize and millet, valid for all of French West Africa.



A flag for Autonmous Togo was adopted in 1955. It was green with two yellow stars placed per bend sinister and the french tricolore in a canton in chief. The stars are for the (developed) South and the (underdeveloped) North still having an uneasy relationship.


République Togolaise

1960- present



The national flag was adopted by law Nr. 60-11 of 23 April 1960 and was hoisted for the first time on the day of Independence. It is of five horizontal green and yellow stripes and had a red canton cxharged with a white five-pointed star. The panafrican colors are esplained as follows:

Green symbolizes hope and agriculture, yellow the mining and the belief in material, moral and spiritual progress. Red is the color of charity, fidelity and humanity and white symbolizes purity. The star is the star of Freedom. It was introduced in Italy by Napoleon  and was also adopted in many American Republics. In the Second French Republic it was on the crown of Liberty, better known as Marianne.



In the beginning a coat of arms was used of the colors of the flag, place on an accolade-shield. By law Nr. 62-10 of 14 Marcht 1962  art. 1 a new coat of arms was adopted consisting of a yellow shield inscribed with the cypher RT (République Togolaise). Two lions looking outwards , each arms with a bow-and-arrow served as supporters. Behind the shield are two poles with national flags and a scroll with the travail liberté patrie (Work, Liberty, Fatherland) This achievement was placed on a white oval in the middle of a green shield.


The meaning of the achievement is:

The two yound lions symbolize the courage of the Togolese people, they are holding bow and arrow, the traditional arms as a symbol of the love of liberty, rooting in tradition. The erected lions looking outwards symbolize the vigilance of the Togolese people to guard its independence.  [4]

In 1979 arms and motto were changed . The shield was replaced by a sun radiant and the motto by union paix solidarité (Union, Peace, Solidarity). The white oval and the green shield were omitted. [5]


Æ See illustration in the head of this essay.


Armed Forces


Togolese armed forces emblem and cap badge


The Togolese Army has a banner of three stripes green, yellow and green and a red mast end charged with a white star, hanging from a sword per pale. In base is the inscription ARMÉE DE TERRE.


The Togolese Navy has an anchor per pale charged with a steering wheel enclosing the picture of a togolese sailing ship.


The Togolese Air Force has a cogwheel enclosing a five-pointed star, crested with a rising eagle to the sinister, surrounded by a garland of laurel and two scrolls inscribed with ARMÉE DE L’AIR and a motto.


No pictures of these emblems to serve the purpose are (yet) available.







The Gendarmerie Nationale was created on 17 September 1942 and was a part of the French West African Gendarmerie (AOF). It was reorganized on 3 August 1956 for the future Autonomous Togo and on 22 August 1961 for the Republic of Togo.

The arms of the Gendarmerie  are:


Arms: Azure, a Konkomba Helmet Or.

Crest: Ostrich feathers.


The Konkomba helmet is a horned helmet typical for Togo and resembles a Dogon helmet. It was depicted on a series of stamps issued 1957.

No additional information about the Konkomba helmet is available.

The exterior ornaments of the badge were drawn in 1948 by the French heraldist Robert Louis and are common for all divisions of the French Gendarmerie and its colonial offsprings.



Togo Police buckle

Showing the arms of 1962.



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© Hubert de Vries 02.12.2006 Updated 2011-09-17; 2013-03-19.




[1] A contemporay king is Ge Tonyo, Foli Bebe XIV, king of the Gen. (Lainé, D.: African Kings. Berkeley/Toronto 2000, p. 102). The emblem of this king is two swords in saltire charged with a lion’s head guardant.

[2] Picture from:

[3] Karaschewski, Jörg M.: Die Wappen und Flaggen der deutschen Kolonien. Wolfenbüttel, 2011. Also: Pama, C.: Lions and Virgins 1965, p. 112. Helped by O. Neubecker, Pama found an article about the arms of the German colonies in Afrika-Nachrichten, 1933.

[4]  Hesmer, K.-H.: Flaggen, Wappen Daten. Gütersloh, 1975, p. 212.

[5]  Herzog, H.-U. & G. Hannes: Lexicon Flaggen und Wappen. Leipzig, 1990, p. 240. It is emphasized that the lions are ochre-coloured.