The flag of the British Indian Ocean Territory is very similar to those of other overseas British dependencies. The Union Jack is a prominent symbol in the upper-left hand corner like many other colonies, former colonies, and dependencies such as this territory. The palm tree and crown are considered the symbols of the British Indian Ocean Territory. The flag was officially adopted on 8 November 1990 but given it is not possible for civilians to visit this area, use and prevalence of the flag is unknown. What is known is that the flag flies for sure alongside an American flag at Diego Garcia which is a joint U.S-U.K military facility.
As the territory is an Overseas British Dependency, the flag consists of a Union Jack as the main focal point. The wavy blue lines on the flag represent the waters of the Indian Ocean, where the islands are located. The flag also features a palm tree rising above St Edward's Crown. This crown is one of the oldest Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom and is usually at the forefront of coronations for new royalty. The current version was made for the coronation of Charles II in 1661. Additionally, this symbol is used in many other flags, coats of arms, monograms, and stamps in former and current British territories.
The original designer of the flag is unknown, but what is known is that Queen Elizabeth granted the flag in 1990 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the islands. The flag only has a semi-official status. However, it is used by the Commissioner of the British Indian Ocean Territory who is based at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London.
After being evicted by the British, the former residents of the islands, the Chagossians, now live mostly in Mauritius and the United Kingdom as refugees. The previous flag of the area consisted of a large orange section at the top, followed by a thinner black line as well as a blue section along the bottom trim. People of his descent still use this symbol as a way to identify where their ancestors were from and to remind others of their forced exile from the area.
This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018
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