Flag of Jamaica

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Flag of Jamaica.svg
NamesThe Cross, Black, green, and gold
UseCivil and state flag, civil and state ensign [1]
Adopted6 August 1962
DesignA gold diagonal cross divides the field into four triangles of green (top and bottom) and black (hoist side and fly side)
Naval Ensign of Jamaica.svg
Variant flag of Jamaica
UseNaval ensign
DesignA White Ensign with the national flag in the canton
The first proposed design for the Jamaican flag
Another proposal for the Jamaican flag

The flag of Jamaica was adopted on 6 August 1962, the original Jamaican Independence Day, the country having gained independence from the British-protected Federation of the West Indies. The flag consists of a gold saltire, which divides the flag into four sections: two of them green (top and bottom) and two black (hoist and fly).[2] It is the only current national flag in the world that does not feature any of the colours red, white, or blue.[citation needed]

Design and symbolism[edit]

The present design emerged from those sent in by the public in a national competition.[citation needed] It was originally designed with horizontal stripes, but this was considered too similar to the flag of Tanganyika (as it was in 1962, only the yellow stripes are thinner), and so the saltire was substituted.[citation needed]

An earlier interpretation of the colours was, "hardships there are but the land is green and the sun shineth" as stated in the government Ministry Paper 28 - National Flag dated 22 May 1962. Gold recalls the shining sun, black reflects hardships, and green represents the land. It was changed in 1996 to black representing the strength and creativity of the people which has allowed them to overcome the odds, gold for the wealth of the country and the golden sunshine, and green for the lush vegetation of the island. The change was made on the recommendation of The Committee to Examine National Symbols and National Observances appointed by the then Prime Minister the Hon P. J. Patterson and chaired by the Hon. Prof. Milton "Rex" Nettleford.[citation needed] The flag is blazoned: Per saltire vert and sable, a saltire Or.


Standard etiquette applies in Jamaica to use of the national flag, primarily ensuring it is always the primary flag flown and is in good condition.[citation needed] The National Flag Code (a set of rules that owners of a flag should follow) was instituted by the government.

Jamaica's state ensign is a Blue Ensign with the Jamaican national flag in the canton; it is normally only used by the Jamaican Government. Jamaica's naval ensign is a White Ensign with a Saint George's Cross and the Jamaican national flag in the canton, although due to the island's lack of a navy, it is normally only used by the Jamaican Coast Guard. It mimics the naval ensigns of other Commonwealth countries such as Bahamas, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Historical flags[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Whitney., Smith (1980). Flags and arms across the world. Smith, Whitney. New York: McGraw-Hill. p. 111. ISBN 9780070590946. OCLC 4957064.
  2. ^ Jamaican Flag on JIS site

External links[edit]