British Honduras obtained a coat of arms on January 28, 1907, which formed the basis of the badge used on British ensigns. The coat of arms recalls the logging industry that first led to British settlement there. The figures, tools, and mahogany tree represent this industry. The national motto, Sub Umbra Floreo, meaning “I Flourish in the Shade”, is written in the lower part of the coat of arms.
The colours on the flag are respectively those of the country's national parties, the People's United Party (PUP) and United Democratic Party (Belize) (UDP). The UDP, established in 1973, had objected to the original blue and white design, those two colours being the PUP's representative colours.
The two red stripes at the top and bottom were added to the original design at independence. The coat of arms was granted in 1907. Red stripes were added to denote the colour of the opposition party. The 50 leaves recall 1950, the year PUP came to power.
From 1950 onward an unofficial national flag was in use. It was blue, with the coat of arms on a white disc in the centre (sometimes a blank white circle was used as the coat of arms was difficult to draw).
In 1981, Belize gained its independence and a competition was held to design a national flag for the country. The winning submission consisted of the unofficial national flag used by the People's United Party with a red border added to all four sides. This was changed to a red border on just the top and bottom before the design was officially adopted.