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Caribbean Flags

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Flags of the Caribbean

There are as many different Caribbean flags as there are Caribbean nations, but many of those flags share common design elements. Those similarities are only to be expected because the Caribbean nations share a common environment and many aspects of their national histories. 

Colonial History of Caribbean Flags

Almost every Caribbean flag can trace its history back to the colonial period. Several European nations colonized the islands of the Caribbean, and each nation had its own policies concerning colonial flags. The most influential of those policies was that of the British Empire.

The flags used by British colonies all followed the same pattern. They had solid blue fields with the colonial coat of arms in the fly and the Union Jack in the canton. Colonies that did not have their own coat of arms used the flag of the British Empire instead of a colonial flag, but the vast majority of colonies flew flags on their own by the end of the 19th century. A few of these colonial flags are still in use in the British overseas territories in the Caribbean.

Other nations, such as France and Spain , also had colonies in the Caribbean. Their flags were less influential in the development of the modern Caribbean flags because their empires were smaller and their colonies generally gained independence much earlier than those of the British Empire. The nations that grew out of their colonies adopted flags that show the influence of their precursors, but that influence is relatively minor compared to that of the British flag in most cases.

Modern-day Caribbean Flags

Almost every modern Caribbean flag was adopted after a colony declared independence from a European power. Some of those nations included references to their previous flags when they adopted their new designs, but others tried to distance themselves from their colonial past.

Most of the Caribbean flags for sale belong to nations that were once part of the British Empire, and those flags tend to include elements of their colonial flags in the modern design. Many display the coat of arms that they used in the British Empire, which established a clear link to their past. Many of the former colonies of France and Spain made a point of using designs that emphasized their native cultures instead of their colonial heritage, and a few of the British colonies did so as well.

Not every one of the Caribbean flags for sale fits neatly into one category or the other. Each nation is unique in spite of their shared history, and their diverse flags reflect that uniqueness.