Flag of Martinique
Martinique, an overseas territorial collectivity of France located in the Caribbean, has no flag with official status other than the French national flag. The local council (Collectivité territoriale de Martinique) has adopted a flag in 2019 to be used in international events to represent Martinique sports teams, cultural associations, and other bodies.
In 2018, the Collectivité territoriale de Martinique launched a competition to create a flag to be used to represent Martinique at international sporting and/or cultural events.
The anthem Lorizon and the flag Ipséité were chosen by the president of the Martinique Executive Council, Alfred Marie-Jeanne. They were officially presented on May 10, 2019.
The flag bears in its center an Aliger gigas, commonly called Lambi: it is an emblematic shell of the Antilles whose conch is used as a traditional musical instrument. Around it, 34 Amerindian stars symbolize the 34 municipalities of Martinique and eight segments evoke eight of the different languages spoken after colonization of the island by Europeans: French, Creole, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Chinese and Arabic. Blue refers to the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, while green recalls steep hills and the nature of the territory.
The "snake flag" (drapeau aux serpents) features a white cross on a blue field with a white snake in each quarter. These are fer-de-lance vipers (Bothrops lanceolatus, French: trigonocéphale) native to Martinique. It was used by the French military on their buildings and/or uniforms. Members of the National Gendarmerie bore the coat-of-arms version of the flag until October 2018.
This symbol dates from an edict issued 4 August 1766, specifying that vessels of the French colony of Martinique and Saint Lucia should fly a version of the French ensign, which at the time was a white cross on a blue field, with L-shaped (for Lucia) snakes in each quarter of the cross. The same design is used for the lesser coat of arms. Usage is controversial, because of its historical origin: upon adoption, the "snake flag" fluttered on ships engaged in triangular trade—and thus the Atlantic slave trade.
The snake flag is locally considered as an insult and not available for sale or trade locally. It is mainly, erroneously used as a courtesy ensign by yachtmen, who should hoist the Tricolore civil ensign instead, as this unofficial flag has no value. Often presented internationally as the Flag of Martinique, or the local flag of Martinique, it is strongly rejected by locals and its use is very discouraged. Deputy Jean-Philippe Nilor demanded its withdrawal from public use, drawing the comparison, “if the swastika representative of Nazism refers to the holocaust, this blue flag with its white cross and its 4 snakes is representative of slavery and the slave trade”.
On 1 August 2016, a consultation for the design for a logo was proposed. The consultation was open to all people of age living in Martinique. There were 647 eligible proposals, but the one by Stévy Desbonnes, a 22-year-old graphic artist, was selected. At the end of 2016, a new flag for the Territorial Collectivity of Martinique was created which consisted of the new logo on a white background.
Flag of Martinican Independence Movement
- "Constitution du 4 octobre 1958" [Constitution of 4 October 1958]. www.legifrance.gouv.fr. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
- "Martinique now has a territorial hymn and flag". www.oecs.org. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
- "The flags and hymns submitted to the vote of Martinicans have been unveiled". La 1ere. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
- "The Martininos fly to the Gold Cup". La 1ere. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
- "By order of the President, the gendarmerie in Martinique will no longer wear the emblem with the 4 snakes!". Makacla. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
- "The deputy Nilor wants the withdrawal of the emblem with 4 snakes which symbolizes Martinique". La 1ere. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
- "Martinique (Territorial Collectivity, France)". Flags Of The World (FOTW). Retrieved 12 October 2020.
- "Image here". Archived from the original on 2017-02-06. Retrieved 2016-05-28.
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