The official flag of Reunion is the French tricolor which is also used in France, Guadeloupe, and Martinique, to name a few. This flag features three equally sized vertical stripes of, left to right, blue, white, and red. Reunion also has an unofficial flag that consists of a blue field with a red triangle at the bottom. The flag also contains five yellow stripes emanating from the top of the red triangle. This flag was adopted in 2003 and remains an unofficial symbol of the small island nation.
The French tricolor has significant cultural, political, and historical connotations, especially in France. The unofficial flag also has important symbolic meaning with the red triangle symbolizing a volcano, the blue a symbol of the clear sky, and yellow for the rays of the sun. The colors also have a deeper spiritual meaning with yellow signifying clearheaded citizens, blue for the sweetness and compassion of the people, and red for the strength of the people who built and inhabit the country.
The French tricolor flag has roots as far back as King Louis XVI when his National Guard adopted this pattern on their military uniforms in 1789. Article two of the Constitution of France (1958) states the correct dimensions and use for this flag. The designer of the unofficial flag of Reunion was engineer Guy Pignolet, from CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales) in Sainte-Rose. The design was found through a contest held for 12 months and it closed on 31 January 2003.
Little is known about previous flags or symbols of the people of Reunion before colonization by the Portuguese in the early 16th century. The French eventually claimed the island as early as 1638 and large-scale settlement by the French East India Company occurred in the coming years. The flag of the French East India Company was eventually replaced with the French national flag in the mid-1800s and has remained the official national symbol since this time.
This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018
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