The official flag of the Marshall Islands consists of a blue background with two diagonal stripes; white and orange in color, radiating out from the lower hoist side portion of the flag up to the upper part of the flag’s opposite corner. Next to the rays on the upper hoist side is a large white star sporting twenty small and four large rays. This flag was adopted in 1979 after the Marshall Islands gained its independence.

Symbols of bodies of water are often a key element in the flags used by island nations. The official flag of the Marshall Islands references its location in the Pacific Ocean by way of its blue background. The pointed star symbolizes the Northern Hemisphere archipelago while the white and orange stripes rising from one side of the flag and shooting up in a diagonal line to the opposite corner is a reference to the equator. The white and orange colors not only represent courage and peace but also the Ratak and Ralik island chains. Ratak translates to “sunrise” while Ralik means “sunset”. Twenty of the rays on the white star serve to represent the electoral districts which make up the Marshall Islands while the four large rays symbolize the centers of Majuro, Jaluit, Wotje and Ebeye.

The official flag for the Marshall Islands was designed by Emlain Kabua who served as the country’s First Lady from 1979 to 1996. Kabua is the widow of former President Amata Kabua who was the Marshall Islands first President and served for five consecutive terms. The nation’s flag was picked from amongst various entries submitted during a contest that was commissioned in order pick an appropriate design to represent the Marshall Islands.

Because of its status as a former colony the Marshall Islands has historically been represented by several different international flags. While under German occupation from 1878 to 1894 the Marshall Islands flew a flag which featured black and white stripes along with a red stripe situated in the middle. The official flag of the United Nations was used by the Marshall Islands from 1947 to 1965. From 1965 to 1979 the nation’s flag consisted of a design featuring a light blue background with a center made up of a circle of white stars. This particular flag was the official design of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. Because it was a colony of the United States the American stars and stripes was also used by the Marshall Islands during various times in its history.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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