Flag of the Commonwealth of Nations

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This article is about the 20th/21st century entity's flag. For the flag of the English Commonwealth republic, see Flags of the Interregnum (British Isles).
Commonwealth of Nations
Flag of the Commonwealth of Nations.jpg
Proportion 1:2
Adopted March 25, 1976 (shown above); modified November 2013
Design A gold globe, surrounded by gold spears, on a blue field.

The flag of the Commonwealth of Nations is the official flag used by and representing the Commonwealth of Nations. Its current design dates to 2013, a modification of a design adopted in 1976.


The flag consists of the Commonwealth symbol in gold on a blue field. The symbol centres on a globe, representing the global nature of the Commonwealth and the breadth of its membership.

2013 redesign[edit]

It was designed so the globe was surrounded by 61 radiating, approximately quadrilateral, spears, which form a 'C' for 'Commonwealth'. The number of spears did not represent the number of member states (there have never been 61 members); instead, the large number represented the many ways in which the Commonwealth cooperates around the world.[1]

In 2013, the globe was tilted, and the number of spears reduced to 34. The colourings used in the flag were also slightly modified.[2]


The Commonwealth flag flies at the Parliament of Canada in Ottawa

The flag developed from car pennants produced for the first time at the 1973 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, held in Ottawa, Ontario. The initiative for its design is credited to two Canadians: the first Commonwealth Secretary-General, Arnold Smith; and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. It was officially adopted on March 26, 1976.[3]


The flag of the Commonwealth of Nations is flown at Marlborough House, London, the headquarters of the Commonwealth Secretariat, throughout the year, and for a limited period at other venues where Commonwealth meetings, events, or visits are taking place (for example, Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings). Ironically, the Canadian federal government does not stipulate that the flag be flown for Commonwealth Day, instead directing that the British Union Jack (officially called the Royal Union Flag) be flown at federal installations which have a second flagpole.[4]

Former Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon encourages the flying of the Commonwealth flag on Commonwealth Day, and the Office of the Secretary-General notes that "it is not the case that the Union Jack - or the flag of any other member country for that matter - is a substitute for the Commonwealth flag which represents the association of 53 members and their peoples."[5]

Elsewhere, the Commonwealth flag is flown at the Scottish Parliament Building in Edinburgh on Commonwealth Day, from the fourth flagpole in addition to the Union Flag, the Scottish saltire and the European Union flag which all fly daily.[6]


External links[edit]