Flag of Montserrat

The flag of Montserrat consists of a Blue Ensign defaced with the British overseas territory's coat of arms. Adopted in 1960 to supplement the Union Jack after the dissolution of the British Leeward Islands the year before, it has been the flag of Montserrat since the territory was granted self-government that year. The design of the present flag entailed enlarging the coat of arms and outlining it with a white trim. Montserrat's flag is similar to the flags of eight other British Overseas Territories, which are also Blue Ensigns with their respective coats of arms.

Montserrat
Flag of Montserrat.svg
UseCivil and state flag, state ensign
Proportion1:2
Adopted1960
DesignA British blue ensign with the coat of arms in the fly side

HistoryEdit

Montserrat was first spotted by Christopher Columbus in November 1493 during his second voyage to the West Indies, and was named after the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey in Spain. It was later colonised by the Kingdom of England in 1632, when Thomas Warner – the first governor of Saint Christopher – sent Irish Catholics from his island to Montserrat. Other Irish settlers from the Colony of Virginia consequently relocated to the territory. Sovereignty over the island changed hands between the British and the French for the duration of the 17th and 18th centuries. This continued until 1783, when the Peace of Paris saw France permanently relinquish Montserrat to the United Kingdom.[1][2]

Montserrat became part of the British Leeward Islands federation in 1871.[1][2] The island was granted its own shield on 10 April 1909. It was consequently utilised on the Blue Ensign after the federation was dissolved on 1 July 1956.[1][3] This was adopted as a proxy national flag in 1960, after authorisation was granted by the Admiralty.[4] Montserratians ratified the territory's constitution that same year,[5] and the island became a distinct crown colony in 1962.[6] The flag was later redesigned in 1999, with the size of the shield increased, and the white disc removed and replaced with a white outline.[7] To coincide with the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II in 2012, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office started flying the flags of overseas territories over its Main Building in Whitehall to commemorate a "significant day in each of their respective histories".[8][9] The date chosen for Montserrat was 17 March,[10] a public holiday on the island honouring both Saint Patrick's Day and an unsuccessful slave uprising there on that day in 1768.[11] The territory's flag was also hoisted at New Palace Yard in the Palace of Westminster on 17 March 2021, as part of an effort by Lindsay Hoyle – the Speaker of the House of Commons at the time – to observe the ceremonial days of overseas territories.[12]

DesignEdit

SymbolismEdit

The colours and symbols of the flag carry cultural, political, and regional meanings. The woman donning a green dress portrays Erin, the national personification of Ireland.[13][11] The Celtic harp she is grasping is another representation of that nation.[14] Both these symbols pay tribute to the Irish settlers who moved to Montserrat from 1632 onwards.[1][15] The inaugural census conducted in the British Leeward Islands in 1678 found that 70% of the island's inhabitants who were Caucasian claimed Irish ancestry, representing the highest concentration of Irish residents in the federation.[11] The cross alludes to the Christian heritage of the island,[15][A] while the woman's hold of it signifies the Montserratians' love of Christ.[17]

SimilaritiesEdit

The Blue Ensign is also employed on the flags of eight of the thirteen other British Overseas Territories, with their coats of arms in the fly being the only distinguishing feature between them. These are, specifically, the flags of Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, the Falkland Islands, the Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.[18]

VariantsEdit

The standard of the territory's governor features the Union Jack defaced with the territorial coat of arms at the centre.[7]

Variant flag of Montserrat
Variant flag Usage
  Standard of the Governor of Montserrat

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ The World Factbook estimates that 67.1% of Montserratians were Protestant and 11.6% were Roman Catholic in 2001.[16]

ReferencesEdit

Specific

  1. ^ a b c d Pattullo, Polly (10 September 2020). "Montserrat – History". Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Montserrat profile – Timeline". BBC News. BBC. 22 November 2019. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  3. ^ Barraclough, E.M.C.; Crampton, William G. (1978). Flags of the World (3 ed.). Frederick Warne & Co. p. 54. ISBN 9780723220152. The shield dates back to at least 1909 but was only brought into use on the Blue Ensign when the Windward Islands colony was dissolved in 1960.
  4. ^ "Chapter 91 – Standards, Flags and Colours" (PDF). Royal Navy. April 2017. p. 91B-2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 April 2021. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
  5. ^ Olson, James Stuart (1991). Historical Dictionary of European Imperialism. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 410. ISBN 9780313262579.
  6. ^ "Islands of the Commonwealth Caribbean: A Regional Study". Belarus and Moldova: Country Studies. Federal Research Division, Library of Congress: 495. 1989. ISSN 1057-5294.
  7. ^ a b "Montserrat". Flags of the World. Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  8. ^ "Overseas Territories flags flown over Foreign Office". Government of the United Kingdom. 10 September 2012. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
  9. ^ "Foreign Office flies Gibraltar flag on Rock's Day; last June 14 it was the Falklands' flag". MercoPress. 10 September 2012. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
  10. ^ "Foreign Office flies Gibraltar flag on Rock's Day; last June 14 it was the Falklands' flag" (PDF). WhatDoTheyKnow. mySociety. 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on 19 February 2022. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
  11. ^ a b c McAtackney, Laura; Ryzewski, Krysta (17 March 2016). "Ever wondered why Montserrat have a day off for St Patrick's Day too?". TheJournal.ie. Archived from the original on 10 June 2021. Retrieved 12 February 2022.
  12. ^ "Speaker raises first flag to the British Overseas Territories". Parliament of the United Kingdom. 17 March 2021. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
  13. ^ "Montserrat – Details". The World Factbook. CIA. 1 February 2022. Retrieved 12 February 2022.
  14. ^ "About Us". Government of Montserrat. Archived from the original on 22 May 2021. Retrieved 12 February 2022.
  15. ^ a b Kindersley Ltd. 2009, p. 130.
  16. ^ "Montserrat – People and Society". The World Factbook. CIA. 1 February 2022. Retrieved 12 February 2022.
  17. ^ "Flags of Caricom – Montserrat". Caribbean Court of Justice. Archived from the original on 11 July 2020. Retrieved 12 February 2022.
  18. ^ Kindersley Ltd. 2009, pp. 129–130.

Bibliography