The national flag of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas comprises of a black triangle on the hoist side of the flag with three horizontal bands. The topmost band is aquamarine, the middle band is yellow, and the bottom one is also aquamarine. The flag was adopted in 1973, replacing the British Blue Ensign. The current flag has been the national flag ever since the Bahamas gained independence in 1973. The current flag’s design incorporated the elements of several submissions presented during a national contest for a new flag.

The design and colors featured on the national flag of the Bahamas carry regional, political, and cultural meanings. The gold or yellow color on the flag symbolizes the shining sun together with other major natural resources that are found on land. The aquamarine color embodies the water that surrounds the country. The black color on the triangle epitomizes the “force”, “strength” and “vigor” of the Bahamian people while the triangle itself symbolizes their “determination and enterprising nature” that is used to cultivate the copious natural resources found on the land and in the sea.

The Commonwealth of the Bahamas became the United Kingdom’s crown colony within its colonial empire in the year 1717. Under British rule, the country used the British Blue Ensign as a flag. The emblem featured a scene portraying two small pirate ships being chased by a larger British ship out at the high seas. The emblem was encircled by the words "Expulsis piratis restituta commercia" a motto that translates to “Pirates expelled, commerce restored”. Even though the emblem was designed sometime in 1850, it was not officially approved until 1964.

In 1964, the region was granted internal autonomy. Following the 1972 elections, the Bahama Islands began negotiations on independence. Soon after, a search for the territory’s national flag ensued and a contest was held to determine the new design. However, instead of picking out the winning design, they decided that the new flag would be a combination of elements from several other submissions. The flag was first hoisted on July 10, 1973, at midnight the same day that the country gained its independence. Upon independence, the new country changed its name to “the Bahamas” from “the Bahama Islands”.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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