The flag of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) changed many times as a result of political changes in the country.
Prior to 1953, the then Southern Rhodesia followed British colonial practice, by using a Blue Ensign with the Union Flag in the canton and the shield from the colony's coat of arms in the fly.
In 1953, Southern Rhodesia federated with Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland as the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. The flag of that federation was used until 31 December 1963 when the federation was dissolved. Less than a year after the break-up of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland became independent as Zambia and Malawi. Southern Rhodesia became known simply as Rhodesia. In April 1964 Rhodesia adopted a light air force ensign with the shield from the coat of arms of Rhodesia in the fly. This was the first time the lighter shade of blue ensign was used by a British colony, although Fiji and Tuvalu both adopted the colour after independence.
Following the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) on 11 November 1965, the flag was retained, but three years later on the anniversary of UDI it was replaced by a green and white flag (similar to that of Nigeria) with the full coat of arms in the centre. On 2 March 1970, the country was declared a republic. Throughout this time, Britain refused to recognise Rhodesia's independence and maintained that the light-blue ensign was the official flag of the country.
In 1979, the country became known as Zimbabwe-Rhodesia and a new flag was adopted on 2 September that year featuring the pan-African colours of red, black, yellow and green, and the Zimbabwe Bird. However, under the terms of the Lancaster House Agreement, the country briefly returned to British rule under the Union Jack from 12 December 1979 although the new flag remained de facto in use. Thus it was the British Union Flag that was lowered during the ceremony on 18 April 1980 marking the country's attainment of independence as the Republic of Zimbabwe.