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Colonial flags of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Last modified: 2012-04-13 by antónio martins
Keywords: saint vincent and the grenadines | pax et justitia | motto | colonial | badge | ensign | cotton |
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Colonial flag

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Afloat

Colonial flag of Saint Vincent and the
Grenadines
image by António Martins and Jaume Ollé, 24 Oct 1999

On 27. October 1975 the British blue ensign with the circular badge of the islands became the official state flag and national flag on land and at sea (until then the Union Jack had been the state flag).
Ralf Stelter, 22 Oct 1998

The badge, as a flag defacement, was approved in 1877.
David Prothero, 10 Feb 2010

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Ashore

Colonial flag of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
image by António Martins and Jaume Ollé, 24 Oct 1999

The flag has the proportions of 3:5 on land and 1:2 at sea. On land this flag was the “unofficial” National flag, to be used for decorative and distiguishing purposes (the official state flag was the Union Jack). The blue ensign on land is not as unusual as one might expect.
Ralf Stelter, 25 Jul 1999

On 1969 27th October, St Vincent became an Associated State. Proposed flag not adopted. Continued to use Blue Ensign with UJ canton and 1877 badge.
David Prothero, 04 Aug 1999

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Colonial badge

Badge of SVG click to enlarge
by Jaume Ollé, 16 Jun 2002

The badge, as a flag defacement, was approved in 1877, but it was based upon the pictorial panel in the public seal which dated from before 1839 — when it appeared in an anaglyptograph of Seals of the Colonies of the British Empire.
David Prothero, 10 Feb 2010

According to Rudi Longueville’s Badges of the British Commonwealth [lgv], this badge was in use from 1907 to 1979 along with a variant that had a slightly higher skyline and a larger central “block” with what might be “clasped hands” instead of the “eye”. From 1889 to 1907, the badge was the same as this variant, but with no symbol on the central block, no clothes on the figure to the left, and no lettering. A variant of this had "St.VINCENT" written circumferentially below the block.
David Prothero, 28 Jul 1997

The arms of Saint Vincent with similar escene were granted 29 November 1912 and probably then the old badge was adopted officially. Before 1900 (show in plates after 1889) was used a similar badge, but with the words "Saint Vincent" in place of the motto. The flag with badge (only minor variations) was in use near 1900-1979. Later was not abolished but I don’t know oficial use.
Jaume Ollé, 10 May 97

This post 1912 coat of arms was essentially the 1877 circular badge based on the Seal of the Colony, inserted into an elaborate frame with a scroll below and a cotton plant crest.
David Prothero, 04 Aug 1999

In the W. Smith’s small book there is a image of the flag used (officially) from 1975, but similar variations were used since late 19th cent.: British blue duster with circular shield from coat of arms: light blue, on brown ground two women in classical cloths, right (heraldical) standing and holding a palm branch, and left kneeling before the yellow altar between them. Underneath the motto: Pax et justitia.
Željko Heimer, 29 Jan 1996

It would seem that the pre-1907 form of the badge (and indeed any pre-1979 form) varied in too many details (clothing, colors, flames, emblem on the “altar”, and writing). I’m even inclined to say that essencially there was only one pre-1979 badge, which, as usual, suffered many different renderings throughout the times, varying widely in both BR20 illustration, actual manufactoring pratice and depiction in secondary sources.
António Martins, 20 Mar 2006

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1877-1907

1877 badge
image by David Prothero, 20 Mar 2006

The first badge of St Vincent was submitted to the Admiralty in 1877 [ADM 116/185] and illustrated in Arms & Badges of the Several Colonies of Great Britain [hms81].
David Prothero, 20 Mar 2006

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1907-1979

1907 badge
image by David Prothero, 20 Mar 2006

In 1906, during the preparation of a new Admiralty Flag Book it was noted that «Badge differs from seal in absence of motto Pax et Justica, absence of clasped hands on altar, absence of plate in hand of figure bending over flame, drapery different. Make badge more like seal.» (Source: ADM 116/1063D, in National Archives). The revised badge appeared in the 1907 Drawings of the Flags in Use at the Present Time by Various Nations [hms07].
David Prothero, 20 Mar 2006

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Flag proposal of 1967

Colonial flag of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
image by Roberto Breschi and António Martins, 20 Mar 2006

After the project of statehood (1 June 1967) a flag green, yellow, blue horizontal with lozengle white borderd blue in the centre (and a flower in the white) was proposed but never adopted.
Jaume Ollé, 10 May 97

The flag with horizontal stripes was never used, it only was a proposal that some very fast writers took over into their flag books!
Ralf Stelter, 22 Oct 1998

«St Vincent became an Associate State on 27 October 1969. A flag in the colours of green, yellow and blue with a white diamond in the centre, bordered in blue and charged with a sprig of leaves, was granted in 1967 but was never brought into use. Instead St Vincent retained the British Blue Ensign with the circular flag badge in the fly. (…) when St Vincent achieved independence on 27 October 1979, a completely new flag was adopted, although the colours of green, yellow and blue and the sprig of breadfruit were present in the design prepared for the Associate State in 1967. (…) the breadfruit [was] first established in St Vincent to provide a cheap foodstuff for the slave population (…)»
Santiago Dotor, 24 Nov 1999, quoting [c2b81]

Why these three Caribbean flag, all from of 1967, are so similar?

  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: green - yellow - blue horizontal with lozengle white bordered blue in the centre (and a flower in the white)
  • St. Christopher - Nevis - Anguilla: blue - yellow - green vertical black palm tree on the yellow area
  • Grenada: blue - yellow - green horizontal with oval white borderd red in the centre (and an upside down flower in the white)
António Martins, 02 Aug 1999 and 08 Jul 2006

Anticipating that St Vincent would become an Associated State the College of Arms designed a new flag; green over yellow over blue with a central badge of berries and leaves. They seem to have been trying to create a family of flags for islands of the former West Indian Federation.
David Prothero, 04 Aug 1999

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Reported erroneous flag of 1969

The statehood took form in 1969 (27 October) and the post stamps show a flag blue with shield in the center, but this was never adopted.
Jaume Ollé, 10 May 1997


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