Flag of South Sea Islands
National flag of the South Sea Islands
|Use||National flag and state ensign|
|Design||Eight horizontal stripes, alternating red, white, blue and green; in the canton, the flag of Nova England|
The Flag of the South Sea Islands, otherwise known as the Commonwealth Banner, is the national flag and state ensign of the South Sea Islands. First adopted in 1501 shortly after the establishment of the South Sea Islands as a nation, the flag consists of eight horizontal stripes alternating red, white, blue and green. The canton, otherwise known as the upper hoist quarter, contains the flag of Nova England.
The first flag of the South Sea Islands approximately two months after the establishment of Port Egmont on Trinity Island. National legend states that the Nova English ensign flown on the stern of SS.Endeavour was used as basis of the flag, with the horizontal stripes added to create the design that is used today.
The banner was adopted as the national flag of the South Sea Islands by a unanimous vote of the settlers at Port Egmont on November 12th 1501. The original flag can now be seen on display at the museum of Joseph Town.
The presence of the Nova English flag in the design is both an indication of the provenance of the early settlers, and also a sign of the continued close relationship that the South Sea Islands and Nova England enjoy today. The presence of a Christian cross in the flag design is also considered to be significant, pointing to Protestantse Kerk in de Zuidzee-eilanden as the state religion.
The sequence and colours of the horizontal stripes, in addition to being a reference to the Batavian heritage of some settlers, is also said to resemble the western sunset as observed from each of the two inhabited islands. The green land gives way to the blue ocean, the distant white icebergs and the redness of the dying sun filling the horizon.
Usage of the national flag is common across the South Sea Islands, with the banner flying from sunrise to sunset on all government, military and municipal buildings. Additionally, private citizens are encouraged to fly the flag from domestic dwellings as a sign of pride and identity.
The Commonwealth Banner is also used as a maritime ensign for civilian, military and merchant ships.