The flag of Jamaica was adopted on August 6, 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).
The present design emerged from those sent in by the public in a national competition. It was originally designed with horizontal stripes, but this was considered too similar to the Tanganyikan flag, and so the saltire was substituted. It hints at the Scottish and Irish roots of much of the population, while black, green, and gold are Pan-African colors, representing the country's black majority population.
An earlier interpretation of the colors was, "hardships there are but the land is green and the sun shineth": gold recalls the shining sun, black reflects hardships, and green represents the land. It was changed to black representing the strength and creativity of the people which has allowed them to overcome the odds, yellow for the golden sunshine and green for the lush vegetation of the island. The flag is blazonedPer 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. The National Flag Code (a set of rules that owners of a flag should follow) was instituted by the government.