The official flag of the Cook Islands is known as the Cook Islands Ensign. It features the traditional flag of the United Kingdom (also known as the Union Jack) in its upper hoist corner. This feature is set against a solid blue background. On the right side of the flag is a ring made up of fifteen white stars. The Cook Islands adopted this flag on August 4, 1979.

The prominent use of the Union Jack on the official flag of the Cook Islands is a clear reference to its historic ties with the United Kingdom as well as the Commonwealth of Nations. The use of blue represents the Pacific Ocean and the peacefulness of the country’s inhabitants. The fifteen stars symbolize the fifteen islands that make up the Cook Islands; Aitutaki, Atiu, Mauke, Manuae, Manihiki, Mitiaro, Suwarrow, Tongareva, Rakahanga, Pukapuka, Nassau, Palmerston, Takutea, Rarotonga, and Mangaia.

After acquiring its political autonomy on January 24, 1974, the Cook Islands adopted its own flag. This design was changed and a new official version adopted in 1979. The change is thought to have been the result of a change in local government leadership. The current flag representing the Cook Islands has a design very similar to that of the neighboring country of New Zealand.

During the period of 1858 through to 1888, the Cook Islands flew the flag of the Kingdom of Rarotonga which was a simple design featuring horizontal bands of red and white with three blue stars in the center. This was changed in 1888 with a design that included the Union Jack and the stars being moved to the side. From 1893 to June 11, 1901 the Cook Islands Federation’s flag eliminated the stars but added a depiction of a palm tree set in the center of the Union Jack. From mid-1901 until March 24, 1902 the Union Jack was used. In 1902 this design was replaced by a design very similar to the present one but featuring only four red stars. From 1973 till 1979 the official flag was green with a circle composed of fifteen yellow stars.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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