The Jamaican flag consists of a pair of green triangles placed at the top and bottom and two black triangles at fly and hoist sides. A cross of gold stripes running from all four corners of the flag and intersecting at the center separates the four triangular blocks. The flag has a proportion of 1:2 and is also called the Cross. Jamaica adopted the flag officially on August 6, 1962, the day the country officially attained its independence from the West Indies, a British-protectorate federation.

The gold colors on the Jamaican flag symbolize the sun that shines on the Jamaican people. It also symbolizes the abundant natural resources and wealth the country enjoys. The black color originally represented hardship and the people of Jamaica. It was not until 1996 when the symbolism was changed to signify the strength and creativity of the people of Jamaica. The green color depicts hope and agricultural resources in the land.

The design of the Jamaican Flag was as a result of an agreement by a bipartisan committee from the Jamaican House of Representatives. The present design emerged from a select group of citizens who represented the rest of the country in a national competition. Originally, the design consisted only of horizontal stripes of green, gold and black at the top center and bottom respectively. However, the flag had a close resemblance to the flag of Tanganyika, leading to its redesign with the yellow gold cross and four triangles.

Prior to the Cross, Jamaica had a total of 12 pre-independence flags. The initial flag, used from October 13, 1510 to April 9, 1655 was white in color with the Cross of Burgundy and was only in use during the Spanish colonization. A 1606 version of the union flag then succeeded from April 10, 1655 to December 30, 1801. Next in line was the British Union Flag used from December 31, 1801 to August 24, 1875. From August 25, 1875 to May 31, 1906, a British Blue Emblem marred with the coat of arms of colonial Jamaica inside a white sphere was adopted. This flag’s design was altered three times until August 6, 1962, when Cross was officially hoisted as the flag of independent Jamaica. The flag of the governor of Jamaica was also in use from 1875 – 1962, the year of Jamaica attained its independence.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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