Historical flags of the British Empire and the overseas territories

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Flags were used to represent various territories, colonies and dominions across the Empire
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The Historical flags of the British Empire and the overseas territories refers to the various flags that were used across the various Dominions, Crown Colonies, Protectorates, territories which made up the British Empire and current Overseas territories. Early flags that were used across the Empire (In particular the then Thirteen Colonies which would later become the United States of America) tended to variations of the Red and Blue Enisgns of Great Britiain with no colonial badges or coat of arms attached to them. [1]In the first half of the 19th Century the first colonies started to aquire their own colony badges but it was not until the 1860s when legislation was passed by the UK Parliament that the colonies were encouraged to apply for their own emblems.

Contents

Historical Flags of the British Empire and the overseas territories[edit]

Aden[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the Colony of Aden.svg 1937–1963 Aden A blue ensign defaced with an Arab ship inside a disc

Kedah[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Kedah.svg 1912–1950 Kedah Protectorate Colony of Kedah Red Coat of arms

British America[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Colonial-Red-Ensign.svg Until 1801 (Canada)
Until 1776 (US, de facto)
Until 1783 (US, de jure)
British America, part of which is now Canada and the United States A red ensign with the first version of the Union Jack in the upper left hand corner (formed as a square.) Also known as the Queen Ann Flag.

Antigua and Barbuda[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Colonial ensigns of Antigua and Barbuda (1956-1962).svg 1956–1962 Antigua and Barbuda A blue ensign defaced with the colonial coat of arms of Antigua on a white disc
Colonial ensigns of Antigua and Barbuda (1962-1967).svg 1962–1967 Antigua and Barbuda A blue ensign defaced with the colonial coat of arms of Antigua

Anguilla[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Anguilla (1967-1969).svg 1967–1969 Anguilla The 1967–1969 independence flag and is still widely seen and used on the island as an unofficial flag to this day.

Australia[edit]

* Note: Australia formally became a independent country from the United Kingdom under the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942 which formally adopted the Statute of Westminster 1931 and backdated the adoption to 3 September 1939.

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Australia (1901–1903).svg 1901–1903 Australia The original 1901 Federal Flag Design Competition winner. A British Blue Ensign defaced with the Commonwealth Star (with 6 points) in the lower hoist quarter and the five stars of the Southern Cross in the fly half (each star had a varying number of points: 9, 8, 7, 6 and 5).
Civil Ensign of Australia (1901–1903).svg 1901–1903 Australia (Civil Ensign) A British Red Ensign defaced with the Commonwealth Star (with 6 points) in the lower hoist quarter and the five stars of the Southern Cross in the fly half (each star had a varying number of points: 9, 8, 7, and 6).
Flag of Australia (1903–1908).svg 1903–1908 Australia A Blue Ensign defaced with the Commonwealth Star (with 6 points) in the lower hoist quarter and the five stars of the Southern Cross in the fly half (all stars had seven points, except the smallest star only had 5 points) as approved by King Edward VII.
Civil Ensign of Australia (1903–1908).svg 1903-1908 Australia (Civil Ensign) A Red Ensign defaced with the Commonwealth Star (with 6 points) in the lower hoist quarter and the five stars of the Southern Cross in the fly half (all stars had seven points).
Flag of Australia (converted).svg 1908–1939 Australia A Blue Ensign defaced with the seven-point Commonwealth Star in the lower hoist quarter and the five stars of the Southern Cross in the fly half. Still currently used as the national flag of Australia.
Civil Ensign of Australia.svg 1908-1939 Australia (Civil Ensign) Based on the British Civil Air Ensign, with the addition of the Southern Cross and Commonwealth Star in white. Still currently used as the civil ensign of Australia.

Australian States[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of New South Wales.svg 1901–1939 State of New South Wales A St George's Cross with four gold stars and a lion in the fly of a British blue ensign. Still used as the state flag.
Flag of Queensland.svg 1901–1939 State of Queensland A light blue Maltese cross with a crown on a white background in the fly of a British blue ensign. Still currently used as the state flag.
Flag of South Australia.svg 1904–1939 State of South Australia A piping shrike on a gold background in the fly of a British blue ensign. Still currently used as the state flag.
Flag of Tasmania.svg 1901–1939 Sate of Tasmania A red lion on a white background in the fly of a British blue ensign. Still currently used as the state flag.
Flag of Victoria (Australia).svg 1901–1939 Sate of Victoria The Southern Cross surmounted by a crown in the fly of a British blue ensign. Still currently used as the state flag.
Flag of Western Australia (1870–1953).svg 1901–1939 Sate of Western Australia A black swan on a gold background in the fly of a British blue ensign.

Bahama Islands[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the Bahamas (1869–1904).svg 1869–1904 Bahama Islands A Blue Ensign with the Badge of the Bahama islands.
Flag of the Bahamas (1904–1923).svg 1904–1923 Bahama Islands A Blue Ensign with the Badge of the Bahama Islands.
Flag of the Bahamas (1923–1953).svg 1923–1953 Bahama Islands A Blue Ensign with the Badge of the Bahama Islands.
Flag of the Bahamas (1953–1964).svg 1953–1964 Bahama Islands A Blue Ensign with the Badge of the Bahama Islands.
Ensign of the Bahamas (1953–1964).svg 1953–1964 Bahama Islands (Civil Ensign) A British Red Ensign with the Badge of the Bahama Islands. Note: change in the design of the crown within the badge.
Flag of the Bahamas (1964–1973).svg 1964–1973 Bahama Islands A Blue Ensign defaced with the Badge of the Bahama Islands.
Ensign of the Bahamas (1964–1973).svg 1964-1973 Bahama Islands (Civil Ensign) A British Red Ensign with the Badge of the Bahama Islands. Note: change in the design of the crown within the badge.

Bahrain[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Bahrain (1932–1972).svg 1932–1972 Bahrain Protectorate A white band on the left, separated from a red area on the right by twenty-eight triangles that serve as a serrated line.

British Central Africa Protectorate[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of British Central Africa Protectorate.svg 1893–1907 British Central Africa Protectorate A Blue Ensign with an emblem of the British Central Africa Protectorate

Barbados[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Barbados (1870–1966).svg 1870–1966 Barbados A Blue Ensign with an emblem of Barbados.
Ensign of Barbados (1870–1966).svg 1870–1966 Barbados (Civil Ensign) A Red Ensign with an emblem of Barbados.

Basutoland[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Unofficial Basutoland Ensign.svg 1951–1966 Basutoland A Blue Ensign with an emblem of Basutoland

Bermuda[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Bermuda (1910–1999).svg 1910–1999 Bermuda A Red Ensign with the coat of arms of Bermuda.
Government Ensign of Bermuda 1910-1999.svg 1910–1999 Bermuda (Government Ensign) A Blue Ensign with the coat of arms of Bermuda.

British Columbia Colony[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the Colony of British Columbia.svg 1866-1871 British Columbia Colony A blue ensign defaced with the Seal of the Colony, all inside a white disc.

British Cameroon[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
British Cameroon Flag.svg 1922–1961 British Cameroons A blue ensign defaced with the words 'British Cameroon' surrounding bananas, all inside a white disc

British Guiana[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of British Guiana (1875–1906).svg 1875–1906 British Guiana A blue ensign defaced with a sailing ship.
Flag of British Guiana (1906–1919).svg 1906–1919 British Guiana A blue ensign defaced with a sailing ship.
Flag of British Guiana (1919–1955).svg 1919–1954 British Guiana A blue ensign defaced with a sailing ship and the motto inside an oval.
Flag of British Guiana (1955-1966).svg 1955–1966 British Guiana A blue ensign defaced with a triangular badage with sailing ship and the motto inside an oval.

British Honduras[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of British Honduras (1870-1919).svg 1870–1919 British Honduras A blue ensign defaced with the coat of arms of British Honduras inside a white disc.
Flag of British Honduras (1919-1981).svg 1919–1981 British Honduras A blue ensign defaced with the coat of arms of British Honduras.

British New Hebrides[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the British New Hebrides (1906–1952).svg 1906–1952 British New Hebrides A blue ensign defaced with the coat of arms of British New Hebrides.
Flag of the British New Hebrides (1952–1980).svg 1952–1980 British New Hebrides A blue ensign defaced with the coat of arms of British New Hebrides.

British Solomon Islands[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the Solomon Islands (1906–1947).svg 1906–1947 British Solomon Islands A Blue Ensign defaced with the name of the protectorate's and the Tudor Crown.
Flag of the Solomon Islands (1947–1956).svg 1947–1956 British Solomon Islands A Blue Ensign charged with a shield depicting a black-and-white sea turtle.
Flag of the Solomon Islands (1956–1966).svg 1956–1966 British Solomon Islands A Blue Ensign charged with a shield divided quarterly – depicting a lion, an eagle, a turtle, a frigate bird, and weapons from the region – on a white disk.
Flag of the Solomon Islands (1966–1977).svg 1966–1977 British Solomon Islands Identical to the previous version, save for the removal of the white disk.

British West Africa[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the British West Africa Settlements (1870-1888).svg 1866–1888 British West Africa A blue ensign defaced with an elephant with the words “West Africa Settlements” under the feet of the elephant all inside a disc.

British Windward Islands[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the British Windward Islands (1886-1903).svg 1886–1903 British Windward Islands A blue ensign defaced with the arms of the British Windward Islands inside a disc
Flag of the British Windward Islands (1903-1953).svg 1903–1958 British Windward Islands A blue ensign defaced with the arms of the British Windward Islands inside a disc
Flag of the British Windward Islands (1953-1960).svg 1953–1960 British Windward Islands A blue ensign defaced with the arms of the British Windward Islands inside a disc

Burma[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of British Burma (1939–1941, 1945–1948).svg 1937–1948 Burma A blue ensign defaced with a peafowl inside a disc

Brunei[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Brunei 1906-1959.svg 1906–1959 Brunei A yellow field cut by black and white diagonal stripes

Canada[edit]

*Note: Canada formally became a independent country from the United Kingdom under the Statute of Westminster in 1931 but continued to use variants the Canadian Red Ensign as the national flag until 1965.

Flag Date Use Description
Canadian Red Ensign (1868–1921).svg 1868–1921 Canada A red ensign defaced with the coat of arms of the Dominion of Canada
Canadian Blue Ensign (1868–1921).svg 1868–1921 Canada (Government Ensign) A blue ensign defaced with the coat of arms of the Dominion of Canada
Canadian Red Ensign 1873.svg 1873–1921 Canada A red ensign defaced with the coat of arms of the Dominion of Canada
Canadian Red Ensign (1905–1922).svg 1905–1922 Canada A version of the Canadian red ensign defaced with the coat of arms of the Dominion of Canada that was used from 1905 until 1922.
Canadian Blue Ensign 1905-1922.svg 1905–1922 Canada (Government Ensign) A version of the Canadian blue ensign defaced with the coat of arms of the Dominion of Canada that was used from 1905 until 1922.
Canadian Red Ensign (1921–1957).svg 1921–1957 Canada A red ensign defaced with the coat of arms of the Dominion of Canada
Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957 (with disc).svg 1921–1957 Canada A red ensign defaced with the coat of arms of the Dominion of Canada within a white disk.
Canadian Blue Ensign (1921–1957).svg 1921–1957 Canada (Government Ensign) A blue ensign defaced with the coat of arms of the Dominion of Canada
Canadian Red Ensign (1957–1965).svg 1957–1965 Canada A red ensign defaced with the coat of arms of the Dominion of Canada
Canadian Blue Ensign (1957–1965).svg 1957–1965 Canada (Government Ensign) A blue ensign defaced with the coat of arms of the Dominion of Canada

Cayman Islands[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the Cayman Islands (pre-1999).svg 1958–1999 Cayman Islands A blue ensign defaced with the coat of arms of the Cayman Islands within a white disk.
Civil Ensign of the Cayman Islands (pre-1999).svg 1958–1999 Cayman Islands (Civil Ensign) A red ensign defaced with the coat of arms of the Cayman Islands within a white disk.

Cape Colony[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the Cape Colony (1876–1910).svg 1795–1910 Cape Colony A blue ensign defaced with the shield-of-arms of Cape Colony

British Ceylon[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Ceylon (1875–1948).svg 1815–1948 Ceylon A blue ensign defaced with the Coat of Arms of Ceylon

Cyprus[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Cyprus (1881–1922).svg 1881–1922 Cyprus A blue ensign defaced with the letters, "CHC" inside a white disk.
Flag of Cyprus (1922–1960).svg 1922–1960 Cyprus A blue ensign defaced with two red lions

Dominica[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Dominica (1955–1965).svg 1955–1965 Dominica A Blue Ensign with an emblem of Dominica
Flag of Dominica (1961-1978).svg 1965–1978 Dominica A Blue Ensign with an emblem of Dominica

East Africa Protectorate[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of British East Africa.svg 1895-1920 East Africa Protectorate A blue ensign defaced with a red rampant lion

Falkland Islands[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the Falkland Islands (1876–1925).svg 1876–1925 Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands Dependencies
A blue ensign defaced with the seal of the Falkland Islands.
Flag of the Falkland Islands (1925–1948).svg 1925–1982 Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands Dependencies
A blue ensign defaced with the Colonial Badge of the Falkland Islands.
Flag of the Falkland Islands (1948-1999).svg 1948–1982,
1982–1999
Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands Dependencies
(1948–1982) (1982–1985)
A blue ensign defaced with the Coat of Arms of the Falkland Islands on a white disc.
Civil Ensign of the Falkland Islands (1948-1999).svg 1948–1982,
1982–1999
Falkland Islands (Civil Ensign)
The 1948-1999 Civil Ensign was a Red ensign defaced with the Coat of Arms of the Falkland Islands on a white disc.

Federated Malay States[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the Federated Malay States (1895 - 1946).svg 1895-1946 Federated Malay States The flag was striped horizontally with an overall 1:2 to ratio with white stripe at the top, red, yellow and black at the bottom. In the centre was a white oblong, with a horizontal major axis, and a Malayan tiger (Malay: Harimau Malaya) leaping, face to the left
Flag of the Federated Malay States (Civil Ensign).svg 1895-1946 Federated Malay States (Civil Ensign) The flag was striped horizontally with an overall 1:2 to ratio with white stripe at the top, red, yellow and black at the bottom with the Union Jack in the top left hand corner.

Fiji[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Fiji (1877–1883).svg 1877–1883 Fiji A blue British ensign with a white disc in the fly containing a badge of foliage and crossed war-clubs with a superimposed shield bearing a mermaid looking at herself in a hand mirror. The badge is based on what was then the seal of the Supreme Court of Fiji.
Flag of Fiji (1883–1908).svg 1883–1908 Fiji A blue British ensign with a white disc in the fly displaying a crown surmounted by a lion with the word "FIJI" beneath it.
Flag of Fiji (1908-1924).svg 1908–1924 Fiji A Blue Ensign with the Fiji Coat of Arms centred on the outer half of the flag.
Flag of Fiji (1924-1970).svg 1924–1970 Fiji A Blue Ensign with the Fiji Coat of Arms centred on the outer half of the flag.

The Gambia[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of The Gambia (1889-1965).svg 1889–1965 Gambia Colony and Protectorate A blue ensign defaced with an elephant and the letters G. under the feet of the elephant all inside a disc

Gibraltar[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Government Ensign of Gibraltar (1875-1921).svg 1875–1921 Gibraltar (Government Ensign) A blue ensign defaced with the badge of Gibraltar on a white disc
Government Ensign of Gibraltar (1921-1939).svg 1921–1939 Gibraltar (Government Ensign) A blue ensign defaced with the badge of Gibraltar.
Government Ensign of Gibraltar (1939-1999).svg 1939–1999 Gibraltar (Government Ensign) A blue ensign defaced with the badge of Gibraltar.

Grenada[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Grenada (1903–1967).svg 1903–1967 Grenada A blue ensign defaced with the badge of Grenada on a disc.
Flag of Grenada (1967–1974).svg 1967–1974 Grenada Three equal horizontal stripes blue, yellow and green from top to bottom and a branch of a pomegranate inside a white oval in the middle.

Gilbert and Ellie Islands[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Gilbert and Ellice Islands.svg 1932–1976 Gillbert and Ellice Islands A blue ensign defaced with the Coat of Arms of Gilbert and Ellice Islands

Gold Coast[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the Gold Coast.svg 1821–1957 Gold Coast A blue ensign defaced with an elephant and the letters GC under the feet of the elephant all inside a disc

Heligoland[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of British Heligoland.svg 1807–1890 Heligoland The flag of Heligoland with The Union Jack

Hong Kong[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Hong Kong (1871–1876).svg 1870–1876 Homg Kong A blue ensign defaced with the letters HK and a royal crown in a white disc
Flag of Hong Kong (1876–1955).svg 1876–1941,
1945–1955
Hong Kong A blue ensign defaced with the Colonial Badge of Hong Kong
Flag of Hong Kong (1955–1959).svg 1955–1959 Hong Kong A blue ensign defaced with the Colonial Badge of Hong Kong
Flag of Hong Kong (1959–1997).svg 1959–1997 Hong Kong A blue ensign defaced with the Coat of Arms of Hong Kong in a white disc

British India[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
British Raj Red Ensign.svg 1858–1947 Indian Empire A red ensign defaced with the shield of the Order of the Star of India
Flag of Imperial India.svg 1858–1947 Indian Empire (Blue Ensign) A Blue ensign with the Star of India, used as the naval flag

Ionian Islands[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the United States of the Ionian Islands.svg 1815–1864 Ionian Islands A blue ensign defaced with the shield of the symbol of Mark the Evangelist (symbol of the Republic of Venice)

Jamaica[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Jamaica (1875-1906).svg 1875–1906 Jamaica A British Blue Ensign defaced with the Coat of arms of Colonial Jamaica within a white circle
Flag of Jamaica (1906-1957).svg 1906–1957 Jamaica A British Blue Ensign defaced with the Coat of arms of Colonial Jamaica within a white circle
Flag of Jamaica (1957-1962).svg 1957–1962 Jamaica A British Blue Ensign defaced with the Coat of arms of Colonial Jamaica within a white circle
Flag of Jamaica (1962).svg 1962 Jamaica A British Blue Ensign defaced with the Coat of arms of Colonial Jamaica within a white circle

Kenya[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of British East Africa.svg 1920–1963 Kenya A blue ensign defaced with a red rampant lion

Kuwait[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Kuwait (1915-1956).svg 1915–1956 Kuwait Protectorate

Labuan[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the British Colony of Labuan (1912-1946).svg 1912–1946 Labuan A blue ensign defaced with a ship.

Malacca[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Malacca (1946-1957).svg 1946–1957 Malacca A blue ensign defaced with A Famosa motif.

Maldives[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Old National Flag of the Maldives.svg 1903–1953 Maldives Protectorate

Malta[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
19th Century Flag of Malta.svg 19th century Malta A red ensign defaced with a white St George's cross, but no badge
Flag of Malta (1875–1898).svg 1875–1898 Malta A blue ensign defaced with the Coat of arms of Malta in a white disc
Flag of Malta (1898–1923).svg 1898–1923 Malta A blue ensign defaced with the Coat of arms of Malta in a white disc
Flag of Malta (1923–1943).svg 1923–1943 Malta A blue ensign defaced with the Coat of arms of Malta
Flag of Malta (1943–1964).svg 1943–1964 Malta A blue ensign defaced with the Coat of arms of Malta in a white disc

Mauritius[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Mauritius 1906.png 1906–1923 Mauritius A Blue Ensign defaced with the Coat of arms of Mauritius in a white disc
Flag of Mauritius 1923.svg 1923–1968 Mauritius A Blue Ensign defaced with the Coat of arms of Mauritius

New South Wales Colony[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of New South Wales (1867).svg 1867–1870 New South Wales Colony A Blue Ensign defaced with the letters "NSW"
Flag of New South Wales (1870–1876).svg 1870–1876 New South Wales Colony A Blue Ensign with gold stars; 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 points with the "Governor's Badge" located in the fly. The badge was the Southern Cross and an imperial crown situated above the Southern Cross.
Flag of New South Wales.svg 1876–1901 New South Wales Colony A Blue Ensign with a badge located in the fly. The badge, based on the coat of arms, is a white disc with the cross of St George, a golden lion passant guardant in the centre of the cross and an eight-pointed gold star on each arm of the cross. This flag is still currently used as the state flag.

Iraq[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Iraq (1921–1959).svg 1924–1959 Mesopotamia Flag of the Kingdom of Iraq

Mosquito Coast[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the Mosquito Coast 1834-1860.svg 1834–1860 Mosquito Coast Union jack, prominent over the top quarter closest to the flag mast. The field of the flag is composed of ten horizontal stripes in blue and white alternatively.

Muscat and Oman[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Muscat.svg 1820–1970 Muscat and Oman

Natal Colony[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the Natal Colony (1875–1910).svg 1843–1910 Natal A Blue Ensign defaced with the shield-of-arms of the colony of Natal

Newfoundland[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Newfoundland 1862-1870.svg 1862–1870 Newfoundland A White flag bearing the red cross of St George with a yellow crown at the centre.
Dominion of Newfoundland Blue Ensign, 1870–1904.svg 1870–1904 Newfoundland A blue ensign defaced with a seal of the crown and underwritten is "Terra Nova"
Dominion of Newfoundland Red Ensign.svg 1907–1931 (used as Civil Ensign until 1965) Newfoundland A red ensign defaced with the Great Seal of Newfoundland and between 1907 and 1931 was the de facto national flag of Newfoundland. Used as a civil ensign until 1965
Dominion of Newfoundland Blue Ensign.svg 1907–1931 Newfoundland (Civil and Naval flag) A Blue ensign defaced with the Great Seal of Newfoundland, primarily civil and naval use
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg 1931–1949 (Province flag until 1980) Newfoundland The Union Jack was used in Newfoundland as the national flag from 1931 until confederation with Canada in 1949 and was then used as the province flag until 1980.

New Zealand[edit]

* Note: New Zealand formally became a independent country from the United Kingdom in 1947 under the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1947 which formally adopted the Statute of Westminster 1931.

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg 1840–1867 New Zealand Adopted following the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840.
Flag of New Zealand Government Ships 1867.svg 1867-1869 New Zealand A Blue Ensign defaced with the red letters “NZ” written into the bottom lower right hand corner. This flag was used on New Zealand Government ships.
Flag of New Zealand.svg 1902-1947 (official, in use from 1869) New Zealand A Blue Ensign with the Southern Cross of four white-edged red five-pointed stars centred on the outer half of the flag. This flag is still currently used as the National flag of New Zealand.
Civil Ensign of New Zealand.svg 1869-1947 New Zealand (Civil Flag) A Red Ensign with the Southern Cross of four white-edged red five-pointed stars centred on the outer half of the flag. This flag is still currently used as the Civil Ensign of New Zealand.

British Colonial Nigeria[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Nigeria (1914–1952).svg 1800–1960 Nigeria A blue ensign defaced with the shield-of-arms of the colonial Nigeria
Flag of the Southern Nigeria Protectorate.svg 1900–1914 Southern Nigeria Protectorate A Blue Ensign defaced with the shield-of-arms of the Southern Nigeria Protectorate in a green disc.

North Borneo[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of North Borneo.svg 1882–1948 North Borneo A blue ensign defaced with the badge of North Borneo Chartered Company.
Flag of North Borneo (Civil Ensign).svg 1882-1948 North Borneo (Civil Enisgn) A red ensign defaced with the badge of North Borneo Chartered Company.
Flag of North Borneo (1948-1963).svg 1948–1963 North Borneo A blue ensign defaced with the new badge of Crown Colony of North Borneo.

Northern Rhodesia[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Northern Rhodesia (1939–1964).svg 1939–1953,
1963–1964
Northern Rhodesia A blue ensign defaced with the shield-of-arms of Northern Rhodesia

Nyasaland[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Nyasaland (1919–1964).svg 1907–1953,
1963–1964
Nyasaland A blue ensign defaced with the shield-of-arms of Nyasaland

Orange River Colony[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Orange River Colony.svg 1900–1910 Orange River Colony A blue ensign defaced with a springbok antelope in a disc

Palestine[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Palestine-Mandate-Ensign-1927-1948.svg 1927–1948 British Mandate of Palestine A red ensign defaced with the word Palestine inside a white disc, for use by ships registered in the territory. The Union Jack was used as the general land flag of the mandate.

Territory of Papua[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the Territory of Papua.svg 1906–1949 Territory of Papua A blue ensign defaced with a crown and the word Papua underneath inside a white disc

New Guinea[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the British New Guinea from 1884-1888.svg 1884–1888 British New Guinea A blue British ensign with a white disc in the fly featuring the Tudor Crown over the initials "N.G.".
Flag of the British New Guinea from 1888 - 1906.svg 1888–1906 British New Guinea A blue British ensign with a white disc in the fly featuring the Tudor Crown over the initials "B.N.G.".
Flag of the Territory of New Guinea.svg 1919–1975 Territory of New Guinea A blue ensign defaced with a crown and the syllables T.N.G underneath inside a white disc.

Penang[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Penang (1946-1949).svg 1946–1949 Penang A blue ensign defaced with the pre-1985 lesser arms of Penang.


Qatar[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Qatar (1936-1949).svg 1936–1949 Qater Protectorate A nine-pointed serrated edge, diamonds and the word "Qatar".

Queensland Colony[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
QueenslandSeparationFlag.svg 1859 Queensland Colony On 10 December 1859, "a light blue flag with a red St George's Cross and union in the corner" (now known as the Queensland Separation Flag) was flown in Brisbane to mark Queensland's separation from New South Wales.
Flag of Queensland (1870–1876).svg 1870–1876 Queensland Colony A blue ensign defaced but no Badge present. In its place was a profile of Queen Victoria on a blue disc surrounded by a white annulus on which the word "Queensland" was inscribed in gold.[2].
Flag of Queensland.svg 1876–1901 Queensland Colony British Blue Ensign defaced with the state badge on a white disc in the fly. The badge is a light blue Maltese Cross with an imperial crown in the centre of the cross. This flag is still currently used as the state flag of Queensland.
Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla.svg 1958–1983 Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla A blue ensign defaced with the emblem of Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla

Saint Helena and Dependencies[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Saint Helena (1874-1984).svg 1874–1984 Saint Helena and Dependencies A blue ensign defaced with the triangular coat of arms of Saint Helena.

Saint Lucia[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Saint Lucia (1875-1939).png 1875–1939 Saint Lucia A blue ensign defaced with the Coat of arms of Saint Lucia
Flag of Saint Lucia (1939–1967).svg 1939–1967 Saint Lucia A blue ensign defaced with the Coat of arms of Saint Lucia

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (1907-1979).svg 1907–1979 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines A blue ensign defaced with the Coat of arms of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Seychelles[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Seychelles 1903-1961.gif 1903–1961 Seychelles A Blue Ensign defaced with a palm tree and a tortoise aside encircled
Flag of Seychelles 1961-1976.gif 1961–1976 Seychelles A Blue Ensign defaced with the legend "Seychelles" on top a palm tree and a tortoise below encircled

Sierra Leone[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Sierra Leone (1889-1914).svg 1889–1914 Sierra Leone A Blue Ensign defaced with an elephant and the initials S.L. encircled.
Flag of Sierra Leone 1916-1961.gif 1916–1961 Sierra Leone A Blue Ensign defaced with the Coat of arms of Sierra Leone inside a white disc.

British Somaliland[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of British Somaliland (1903–1950).svg 1903–1950 British Somaliland A Blue Ensign defaced with a Kudu inside a white disk.
Flag of British Somaliland (1950–1952).svg 1950–1960 British Somaliland A blue ensign defaced with the shield of arms of the British Somaliland

South Australia Colony[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
South Australia 1870-1876.svg 1870–1876 South Australia Colony A blue ensign defaced with a black disc in the fly containing the Southern Cross and the two pointers (Alpha and Beta Centauri).
Flag of South Australia (1876–1904).svg 1876–1901 South Australia Colony A blue ensign defaced with a badge design of an artistic rendition of the arrival of Britannia (a woman in flowing garb and holding a shield, representing the new settlers) meeting an Aboriginal sitting with a spear on a rocky shoreline.

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (1992-1999).svg 1992–1999 South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands A Blue Ensign defaced with the Coat of arms of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands inside a white disc.

South Africa[edit]

* Note: South Africa formally became a independent country from the United Kingdom in 1931 after formally adopting the Statute of Westminster.

Flag Date Use Description
Red Ensign of South Africa (1910–1912).svg 1910–1912 Union of South Africa A red ensign defaced with the shield-of-arms of the Union of South Africa inside a white disc. This South Africa Red Ensign was South Africa's de facto national flag between 1910 and 1928 and was flown at times from Government buildings despite it only being officially used between 1910 and 1912.
Blue Ensign of South Africa (1910–1912).svg 1910–1912 Union of South Africa A blue ensign defaced with the shield-of-arms of the Union of South Africa The Blue Ensign was flown over the Union’s offices abroad between 1910 and 1928.
Red Ensign of South Africa (1912–1951).svg 1912-1928 Union of South Africa The design of the Red Ensign was modified slightly in 1912 when the shield was placed on a white disc so as to make it more distinguishable. The Red Ensign continued to be used as the flag of the South African merchant marine until 1951.[3]
Blue Ensign of South Africa (1912–1928).svg 1912-1928 Union of South Africa The Blue Ensign from 1912 to 1928.
Flag of South Africa (1928–1994).svg 1928–1961 Union of South Africa Variation of the flag of the Dutch East India Company at the Cape (without the VOC logo in the centre) from 1652 until 1795, with three smaller flags centred in the white stripe. The smaller flags were the Union Jack towards the hoist, the Orange Free State Vierkleur hanging vertically and the Transvaal Vierkleur towards the fly. This flag continued to be used by the Republic of South Africa until 1994.

Rhodesia[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Southern Rhodesia (1924–1964).svg 1923–1953 Southern Rhodesia A blue ensign defaced with the shield-of-arms of Southern Rhodesia
Flag of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (1953–1963).svg 1953–1963 Rhodesia and Nyasaland A blue ensign defaced with the shield-of-arms of Rhodesia and Nyasaland
Flag of Rhodesia (1964–1968).svg 1964–1968 Flag of Rhodesia A light blue ensign defaced with the shield-of-arms of Southern Rhodesia

Sarawak[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the Kingdom of Sarawak (1870).svg 1870–1946 Flag of the Sarawak Protectorate A cross, half black and half red, on yellow based on shield-of-arms of Sarawak.
Flag of the Crown Colony of Sarawak (1946).svg 1946–1963 Sarawak A blue ensign defaced with the shield-of-arms of Sarawak.

British Straits Settlements[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the British Straits Settlements (1868).svg 1868-1874 British Straits Settlements A blue ensign defaced with a golden crown at the bottom right hand corner.
Flag of the British Straits Settlements (1874-1925).svg 1874–1925 British Straits Settlements A blue ensign defaced with a white disc containing three gold crown; separated with a red inverted pall, which looks like an inverted Y.
Flag of the British Straits Settlements (1925-1942).svg 1925–1942 British Straits Settlements A blue ensign containing three gold crown; separated with a red inverted pall, which looks like an inverted Y.

Singapore[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Singapore (1946–1952).svg 1946–1952 Singapore A blue ensign defaced with a white disc containing a crown within a red inverted pall, which looks like an inverted Y.
Flag of Singapore (1952–1959).svg 1952–1959 Singapore A blue ensign defaced with a white disc containing a crown within a red inverted pall, which looks like an inverted Y.

Egypt[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan.svg 1922–1956 Anglo-Egyptian Sudan The Flag of the Kingdom of Egypt and the Union Jack aside.

Tanganyika[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Tanganyika (1919-1961).svg 1919–1961 Tanganyika A red ensign defaced with the head of a giraffe in a white disc


Tasmania Colony[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
1875 flag of Tasmania.svg 1875 Tasmania Colony A white cross on a blue field, in the canton was the Union Flag, and in the fly was five five-pointed stars of the Southern Cross.
Flag of Tasmania.svg 1875–1901 Tasmania Colony A defaced blue ensign with the state badge located in the fly. The badge is a white disk with a red lion passant in the centre of the disk. Still currently used as the state flag of Tasmania.

Jordan[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Jordan.svg 1921–1946 Transjordan (British Mandate of Jordan) Flag of the Emirate of Transjordan

Transvaal Colony[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the Transvaal Colony (1904–1910).svg 1900–1910 Transvaal A blue ensign defaced with a disc showing a lion lying on an African plain with palm trees.[4]

Trinidad and Tobago[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Trinidad and Tobago (1889–1958).svg 1889–1958 Trinidad & Tobago A blue ensign defaced with a circular badge depicting a ship arriving in front of a mountain.
Ensign of Trinidad and Tobago 1889-1958.svg 1889–1958 Trinidad & Tobago (Civil Ensign) A red ensign defaced with a circular badge depicting a ship arriving in front of a mountain.
Flag of Trinidad and Tobago (1958–1962).svg 1958–1962 Trinidad & Tobago A blue ensign defaced with a triangular badge depicting a ship arriving in front of a mountain.
Ensign of Trinidad and Tobago 1958-1962.svg 1958–1962 Trinidad & Tobago (Civil Ensign) A red ensign ensign defaced with a triangular badge depicting a ship arriving in front of a mountain.

Tuvalu[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Tuvalu (1976–1978).svg 1976–1978 Tuvalu A blue ensign defaced with a circular badge with a hut and the motto of Tuvalu

Turks and Caicos Islands[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the Turks and Caicos Islands (1968-1999).svg 1968–1999 Turks and Caicos Islands A blue ensign defaced with the coat of arms of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Trucial States[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the Trucial States.svg 1820–1971 Trucial States Flag of the Trucial States

Uganda[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the Uganda Protectorate.svg 1914–1962 Uganda A blue ensign defaced with a grey crowned crane inside a disc

Victoria Colony[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Victorian blue ensign.svg 1870–1877 Victoria Colony A defaced British Blue Ensign with the Southern Cross located in the fly. The stars of the Southern Cross were white and had 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 points with only the leftmost and rightmost stars having one point pointing to the top of the flag.
Flag of Victoria (1877).svg 1877 Victoria Colony A defaced British Blue Ensign with the stars of the southern cross from then on having 5, 6, 7, 7 and 8 points in a white disk.
Flag of Victoria (1877-1901).svg 1877–1901 Victoria Colony A defaced British Blue Ensign with the stars of the southern cross from then on having 5, 6, 7, 7 and 8 points.

Weihaiwei[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
British Weihaiwei flag.svg 1903–1930 Weihaiwei A Blue Ensign defaced with two birds by a pond inside a disc.

Western Australia Colony[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Western Australia (1870–1953).svg 1870–1901 Western Australia Colony A Blue Ensign defaced with a swan in a yellow disc. The flag was still used as the state flag until 1953.

Western Samoa[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of New Zealand.svg 1914-1920 Western Samoa The flag of New Zealand was used during the control of NZ-forces.
Flag of the Samoa Trust Territory.svg 1922–1962 Western Samoa A Blue Ensign defaced with three palm trees encircled.
Ensign of the Samoa Trust Territory.svg 1922–1962 Western Samoa (Civil Ensign) A Red Ensign defaced with three palm trees encircled. Used at sea.

West Indies Federation[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the West Indies Federation (1958–1962).svg 1958–1962 West Indies Federation It has four equally-spaced narrow white stripes with a large orange-gold disc over the middle two lines in the centre of the flag, undulating horizontally across a blue field

Zanzibar[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Zanzibar Under British Rule.svg 1896–1963 Zanzibar A red flag used during the British protectorate.

Historical Governor's flags[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the Governor of Antigua and Barbuda (1967–1981).svg 1967–1981 Flag used by the British Governor of Antigua and Barbuda A Union Jack defaced with the Coat of arms of Antigua and Barbuda.
Flag of the Governor of Hong Kong (1959–1997).svg 1845–1959 Flag flown on Government House, Hong Kong and the Governor's official car during British rule A Union Jack defaced with the then Colonial Badge of Hong Kong
Flag of the Governor of Hong Kong (1959–1997).svg 1959–1997 Flag flown on Government House, Hong Kong and the Governor's official car during British rule A Union Jack defaced with the then Coat of arms of Hong Kong
Flag of the Governor-General of India (1885–1947).svg 1855–1947 Flag used by the British Governors-General, Governors, Lieutenant Governors, Chief Commissioners and other British officers in India A Union Jack defaced with the Star of India surmounted by the Tudor Crown.
Flag of the Governor of Ceylon (1875–1948).svg 1875–1948 Flag used by the British Governor of Ceylon A Union Jack defaced with the Coat of arms of Ceylon.
Flag of the Governor of Jamaica (1875-1906).svg 1875–1906 Flag of the Governor of Jamaica A Union Jack defaced with the Badge of Colonial Jamaica
Flag of the Governor of Jamaica (1906-1957).svg 1906–1957 Flag of the Governor of Jamaica A Union Jack defaced with the Badge of Colonial Jamaica
Flag of the Governor of Jamaica (1957-1962).svg 1957–1962 Flag of the Governor of Jamaica A Union Jack defaced with the Badge of Colonial Jamaica
Flag of the Governor of Jamaica (1962).svg 1962 Flag of the Governor of Jamaica A Union Jack defaced with the Badge of Colonial Jamaica
Flag of the Governor of Northern Ireland (1922–1973).svg Until 1973 Personal flag of the Governor of Northern Ireland A Union Jack defaced with the Coat of arms of Northern Ireland
Flag of the Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia.svg 1929 on Personal flag of the Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia A Union Jack defaced with the shield of the Arms of Her Majesty in Right of Nova Scotia surrounded by a circle of 18 green maple leaves.
Flag of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.svg 1921–1922 Flag of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland A Union Flag defaced with an Irish Harp
Flag of the Governor of Mauritius (1906–1968).svg 1906–1968 Flag of the Governor of Mauritius A Union Jack defaced with the Badge of Colonial Mauritus
Flag of the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario (1959–1965).svg 1959–1965 Flag of the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario The Canadian Red Ensign defaced by a disk bearing the shield of the Arms of Ontario surrounded by a chain of green maple leaves.
Seychelles Governor's flag 1903-1961.gif 1903–1961 Flag of the Governor of Seychelles A Union Jack defaced with the Badge of Colonial Seychelles
Seychelles Governor's flag 1961-1976.gif 1961–1976 Flag of the Governor of Seychelles A Union Jack defaced with the Badge of Colonial Seychelles
Flag of the Governor-General of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan.svg 1922–1956 Flag of the Governor-General of the Sudan A Union Flag defaced with a white disk surrounded by a wreath of laurel. As no badge or coat of arms existed for Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, the disk instead contained the words "GOVERNOR GENERAL OF THE SUDAN..
Flag of the Governor-General of South Africa (1931–1952).svg 1931–1953 Flag of the Governor-General of the Union of South Africa A blue flag with a Crown and a lion on top of the Tudor Crown with the name of the Union of South Africa in English on top and in Afrikaans on bottom.
Flag of the Governor-General of South Africa (1952–1961).svg 1953–1961 Flag of the Governor-General of the Union of South Africa Similar to the previous flag, but with St. Edward's Crown instead of the Tudor Crown.
British Resident of Zanzibar flag (1955-1963).svg 1955–1963 Flag of the British Resident of Zanzibar A Union Jack defaced with Coat of arms of British Resident of Zanzibar

Others[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
British East India Company flag.svg 1600–1858 Flag of the English/British East India Company Numerous white and red stripes with the St George's Cross in the canton, the number of stripes was not determined.
Flag of the British East India Company (1707).svg 1707–1800 Flag of the British East India Company Numerous white and red stripes with the Union Jack of Great Britain in the canton. Accepted to be one of the inspirations for the Grand Union Flag that eventually evolved into the Flag of the United States.
Flag of the British East India Company (1801).svg 1801–1858 Flag of the British East India Company Numerous white and red stripes with the Union Jack of the United Kingdom in the canton.
Hudson's Bay Company Flag (pre-1801).svg pre – 1801 Flag of the Hudson's Bay Company The pre-1801 Red Ensign defaced with the initials of the company.
Hudson's Bay Company Flag.svg c. 1801 – ? Flag of the Hudson's Bay Company A Red Ensign defaced with the initials of the company.
Flag of the North West Company Pre-1801.svg pre – 1801 Flag of the North West Company The pre-1801 Red Ensign defaced with the initials of the company.
Flag of the North West Company Post-1801.svg c. 1801 – ? Flag of the North West Company A Red Ensign defaced with the initials of the company.
Flag of BSAC edit.svg 1889–1961 Flag of the British South Africa Company A Union Jack with the logo of the British South Africa Company in the middle.
BSAC Blue ensign.svg 1889–1961 Ensign of the British South Africa Company A Blue Ensign defaced with the Symbol of the British South Africa Company
Flag of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.svg 1801–1922 Flag of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland The Union Jack defaced with the Coat of Arms of Ireland.
Green Ensign (1701).svg Circa 1701 – post 1800 Green Ensign An unofficial merchant navy flag consisting of a green field with an earlier version of the golden harp and the Flag of England in the canton, no record of its actual use.
Green Ensign.svg Post 1800 – c. 1922 Green Ensign An unofficial merchant navy flag consisting of green field with golden harp and the Union Jack in the canton, no record of its actual use.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Flags of the British Empire and Commonwealth". Historical Flags of Our Ancestors. Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  2. ^ Ausflag (1995) 'Queensland', http://www.ausflag.com.au/flags/qld.html, [9 March 2004]
  3. ^ Merchant Shipping Act 1951 (South Africa); South Africa Government Gazette No 6085 dated 25 July 1958.
  4. ^ The flag is the colonial flag which replaced the "Vierkleur" of the South African Republic (horizontally red, white and blue with a vertical green stripe at the hoist).