The Haitian flag has a storied history. It has undergone several changes since it was first unveiled in 1806. The flag of Haiti is a simple bicolor flag, made of a blue top and a red underneath horizontal bands. In the middle, it bears a white panel with the coat of arms. The coat of arms portrays a trophy of weapons atop of a green hill, with a royal palm with liberty cap at the top of the palmate. The flag in its current form was adopted on February 26, 1986.
What Do the Flag's Colors and Symbols Mean?
The blue color on the Haitian flag, which first emerged in 1803, signifies Haiti's black citizens. Red stood for the "gens de couleur", French for "people of color", which historically referred to those of mixed races. The Haitian flag has a coat of arms in the middle with a trophy of weapons atop a green hill symbolizing readiness to defend the freedom of the country. The royal palm surmounted with liberty cap symbolizes independence.
Who Designed the Flag?
According to Haitian legend, the first Haitian flag was created by the revolutionary leader Jean-Jacques Dessalines, who took the then French tri-colored flag and ripped out the middle white color. He then asked Catherine Flon, his god-daughter, to sew the remaining two blue and red bands together. The current flag design as we know it today was commissioned in 1985.
What Have Historical Versions of the Flag Looked Like?
After coming up with the blue and red flag, Dessalines later altered the colors to black and red to symbolize both death and freedom when he proclaimed himself as Emperor Jacques I in 1805. Following this, the republicans under Alexandre Petion, who ruled from 1807 to 1818, returned the colors to blue and red turning them horizontally and adding a newly adopted coat of arms. The Haitian flag was changed once more during the two-decade rule of the dictatorship of the Duvalier family, when Dessaelines' black and red design was adopted again with the addition the national coat of arms.
This page was last modified on March 14th, 2018