What Does the Jamaican National Flag Mean?

Jamaican national Flag
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On August 6, 1962, Jamaica adopted its national flag in celebration of its independence from the British-protected Federation of the West Indies. The flag represents the free spirit of the new nation, its culture, and its hope.

The national flag of Jamaica contains three colors – black, green, and gold- where the gold forms a saltire that divides it into four sections. Seen from a distance, the flag seems to bear four triangles divided by a golden X. The top and bottom triangles are green while the two sides (host and fly angles) are black.

The Jamaican flag is the only flag in the world that does not entail shades of red, white, and blue.

What Do the Colors of the Jamaican National Flag Mean?

Jamaica national Flag

When a national flag design competition failed to identify a clear winner, the government created a special committee. Discarding more than 360 designs submitted during the competition, the committee created the original concept. The initial design had horizontal stripes but made the flag overly similar to the flag of flag of Tanganyika (present day Tanzania).

This led the committee to introduce the saltire. At the time of its creation, May 22, 1962, the colors of the flag represented the underlying struggle of the people and its hope. According to the Jamaica National Library “hardships there are but the land is green and the sun shineth.”  The color gold identifies the shining sun, black recalls the hardships and green represents the land.

However, this early concept was adjusted in 1996 by the committee to Examine National Symbols and National Observances. The current meaning of the colors reflects the emerging growth of Jamaica as a global player.

  • Black now represents the strength and creativity of the people.
  • Gold reflects the wealth and resources of the country.
  • The green showcases the lush vegetation of the island and the hope of its people.

The Jamaican national flag is a cherished emblem of its people, expressing the intrinsic values of both the island and its history.  Over six decades of winds have ruffled its colors, but it still  remains the flag of a free and progressing people



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