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Jamaica - Colonial Flags

Last modified: 2011-03-25 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: jamaica |
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Overview

Jamaica did not have an official defaced Red Ensign.  That is not to say that there were no unofficial Red Ensigns, but there can be no precise date for them. Furthermore, the badge is similar to those that appeared on the Blue Ensign and the governor’s Union Flag between 1957 and 1962, but has had the helm and mantling removed and the colours simplified. One particular error is the absence of the outline of the shield between the supporters.
Jamaica’s first badge, 1875, was an oval shield bearing St George’s cross with five gold pineapples, one in the centre of the cross and one in the middle of each arm.  A very small helm above the shield was surmounted by a (probably green) crocodile on a red and white torse.
In 1906 this was replaced by a badge similar to the badge in the image except that; it had a shield (conventional shape), the scroll was in two separate curves with less elaborate flourishes, the crocodile was green with a stubby tail, the supporters had blue clothing around their hips.
From 1957 until independence in 1962 the badge was the present coat of arms. This differed from the previous badge in that, a helm and mantle were inserted between the top of the shield and the torse of the crocodile crest, the colour of the clothing of the supporters was changed from blue, to green and brown, the crocodile became a little more elegant with a longer curving tail.
At some point the motto on the scroll was changed from  "indus uterque serviet uni" to "out of many, one people", but I do not know whether this happened in 1957 and appeared on the badge and arms, or in 1962 and has appeared only on the actual arms.
David Prothero, 2 August 2001

If I have understood rightly, the red ensign was never approved, but as we have seen in York (and probably there are enough proves elsewhere) it was sometimes used "unofficially", probably more often towards the period when
the independence was iminent.
I don't know about square jack. This is rather misterious topic for me, about which most sources (that I have consulted, which is certainly far from enough) are rather silent. If I have understood rightly the Flaggenbuch, this blue jacks would be in theory existing for any blue ensign approved. However, I guess that we may safely ignore this theorethic possibility and bother with them only where there are reports of the real existing flags of this type.
Željko Heimer, 27 Febuary 2002

3rd February 1661 -   Grant of Arms. Blazon in ABC of Heraldry by G.C.Rothery, 1915; "Argent, a cross gules, thereon five pineapples or.  Crest, a crocodile on a log, proper.  Supporters, dexter, a West Indian native woman proper, crined or, girt about the waist with feathers alternately gules and argent, holding a basket of fruit, the head wreathed with a band azure rising therefrom a feather gold; sinister, a West Indian native man proper, girt about the waist with the feathers, holding in his hand a bow or, the head wreathed with a band azure, rising therefrom a circlet of feathers alternately gules and argent."
Nothing about the helm and mantling, which is of a type usually associated with royal arms, and no reference to a motto.

1875 -   Arms used as flag badge on Blue Ensign and Union Jack.  Oval shield surmounted by crocodile crest.  No supporters, or helm or motto. On a white disc surrounded by a green garland on Union Jack for Governor when embarked on a vessel within the area of his government. On Blue Ensign for vessels in the service of the government, possibly on a white disc. 

1906 -   Flag badge changed.  Arms on a conventional shield, supporters, crest, motto (Indus Uterque Serviet Uni) on white scroll.  No helm or mantling.

1941 -   Governor's flag used ashore and afloat.

8th April 1957 - New grant of Arms by Royal Warrant due to the doubtful blazon of the original Arms.  Royal helm and mantling allowed.  Full armorial achievement. Used on Blue Ensign, on a white disc, and on Union Jack, within a garland.

13th July 1962 -   Out of Many, One People, replaced Latin motto.  Colour of scroll possibly changed at same time from white to yellow.  Less than a month before independence so would not have featured on a flag.

6th August 1962.  Both flags discontinued.
David Prothero, 27 Febuary 2002

Concering the red ensigns, one should remember that since these were unofficial, there are to be expected numerous variations and not very exact following of the official pattern of the Coat of Arms. The unusual version with the spporters holding their hands on the red bar of the cross rather then on the top of the shield is perfect example. We would readily exculde such flag as errorneous representation, if it wasn't for the real flag of such design shown in York 2001.
by Željko Heimer, 11 May 2002


1875 Flags


Blue Ensign
image by Clay Moss, 12 December 2008


Governor Flag
image by Clay Moss, 12 December 2008


Badge
image by Clay Moss, 12 December 2008

This Jamaica badge used on Union Jack and Blue Ensign - 1875 to 1906.
David Prothero, 27 Febuary 2002

1875 versions made from the image provided by David. Garland courtesy Jamue.
Željko Heimer, 27 Febuary 2002

The source for the badge is an 1881 H.M.Stationery Office publication called Arms and Badges of the Several Colonies of Great Britain. It seems to have been a supplement to the 1875 Admiralty Flag Book which was called Drawings of the Flags in Use at the Present Time by Various Nations. The Admiralty book had pages for colonial badges which were left blank because the designs of the badges had not been finished in time.
David Prothero, 28 Febuary 2002


1906 Flags


Blue Ensign
image by Clay Moss, 12 December 2008


Blue Ensign (variant ?)
image by Clay Moss, 12 December 2008


Governor Flag
image by Clay Moss, 12 December 2008


Governor Flag (variant ?)
image by Clay Moss, 12 December 2008


Badge
image by Clay Moss, 12 December 2008


Badge (variant ?)
image by Clay Moss, 12 December 2008


Red Ensign (Unofficial)
image by Clay Moss, 12 December 2008


Red Ensign (Unofficial, variant ?)
image by Clay Moss, 12 December 2008

The main difference on each of these badges is the ribbon below. I have seen it illustrated both ways and don't know for sure which one was "official" or if they were both considered acceptable.
Clay Moss, 12 December 2008


1957 Flags


Blue Ensign
image by Clay Moss, 12 December 2008


Governor Flag
image by Clay Moss, 12 December 2008


Badge
image by Clay Moss, 12 December 2008


Red Ensign (Unofficial, Unconfirmed)
image by Clay Moss, 12 December 2008


1962 Flags


Blue Ensign (Theoretical?)
image by Željko Heimer, 4 March 2002


Governor Flag (Theoretical?)
image by Željko Heimer, 3 March 2002


Badge (Theoretical?)
image by Željko Heimer, 3 March 2002


Red Ensign (Unofficial, Theoretical?))
image by Željko Heimer, 11 May 2002

The last, chronologically, before the adoption of the current national flag. These are rather theoretical, as David wrote this Coat of Arms was adopted less then a month before the independence, and it is highly doubtfull if such flags were ever made before switching to green-black-yellow flag.
Željko Heimer, 3 March 2002


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