In 1848 when the first flag of Germany was adopted, the feudal states were still in the process of trying to unite. Equal widths of black, red and gold were established even though the union never occurred.
The three colors, black, red and gold, were on the German uniforms that the soldiers wore during the Napoleonic wars. In 1871, the states were united and the official colors were replaced with black, white, and red.
After the defeat in World War I in 1919, the black, red, and gold colors on the flag returned. Nazi government came to power in 1933 and they made their party flag, the Hakenkreuz, the national flag. Germany was split following its defeat in the World War II and the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) restored the old black, red, and gold flag on May 23, 1949.
The two Germanys were reunited in 1990 and Unified Germany continued using the black,red and gold flag of the West Germany.
The black is a symbol of determination. The red symbolizes hardiness, bravery, strength and valor. The yellow is a symbol of generosity. These colors are derived from the similar colours of the Imperial coat of arms of the Holy Roman Empire.