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Turks and Caicos

Last modified: 2013-11-21 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: turks and caicos | jamaica | bahamas | conch | crayfish | america | caribbean | shell | lobster | cactus | pelican | sisal |
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Turks and Caicos flag
image by Martin Grieve, 22 June 2004


Official Name: Turks and Caicos Islands
Capital: Grand Turk (Cockburn Town)
Location: Two Groups of Islands in the North Atlantic Ocean
Government Type: British Overseas Territory with Internal Self-Government
Flag adopted: 1999 (first adopted - 7 November 1968)
Coat of arms adopted: 28 September 1965
ISO Code: TC



See also:


Overview

According to a book of W. Crampton's, the arms depict a conch, a crayfish and a cactus.
Joan-Francois Blanc, 13 November 1996

The lobster (or whatever is it in upper fly part of the shield) is light blue, as it is in N.Smith's 'FOTW'. In W.Smith's book it is multicoloured. On some pictures there is a helmet over the shield. The ratio is in N.Smith's book aprox. 5:9 that seems to me quite unusual, and I am readier to accept 1:2, as I found in several other places.
Željko Heimer, 11 February 1996

The charges on the shield are a Queen conch shell, a spiny lobster and a Turk's Head cactus. The shield is supported by two flamingoes, and has as its crest a pelican between two sisal plants.
James Dignan, 22 November 1995

I noticed that theres an authorization for use of the blue ensign dated 7 November 1958. The blue ensign in 1958 looks too much the Historical Flag of 1875, only changed apparently with the badge improvements. Was always in use from c. 1875 to 1958, or perhaps was a interruption before 1958?
Jaume OllÚ, 8 July 2003

There is an error of ten years. Defacement of the Blue Ensign with the shield of the arms that were granted on 28 September 1965 received Royal approval through the College of Arms.  Recorded at College of Arms in "Standards" Volume 3, page 113; 7 November 1968.
Whilst checking this I found that the Union Jack defaced with the Turks & Caicos 1875 badge was cancelled 22 September 1923. [National Archives (PRO) ADM 116/1847B].
It is not known when the Union Jack defaced with the present badge came into use.  Probably 1973 when the Bahamas became independent and the Turks & Caicos Administrator was up-graded to Governor.
David Prothero, 9 July 2003

I had a look at some flag books which show the Turks and Caicos full achievement of arms - and most are inadequate!
The biggest error they have in common being the blue spiny lobster. We have mentioned before, that one flag book copies another thus leading to a duplication of errors, and this may well be the case here. The shield from the Turks and Caicos' coat of arms (adopted 1965) should be the badge emblazoned on her blue ensign.
I contacted David Prothero and asked if he could supply me with an accurate scan of the badge. David sent the version from BR20 - change 8. The badge is in agreement with the one shown in Album 2000 with a few minor differences - the most notable being the Turks head cactus which is positioned in the bottom of the shield. The present flag of the Turks and Caicos Islands would seem to have been altered ca1999 - when the badge height was increased to approximately 1/2 of the hoist width.
Martin Grieve, 21 June 2004

The official Government sites are at <www.turksandcaicos.tc/Government>, although, please note the coat of arms adjacent to the Finance Department's entry on this page!
Also, another useful source of information on United Kingdom Overseas Territories (the T&C site refers to itself as a "British Crown Colony") is the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) web site, which contains a series of country profiles, featuring their respective flags.
Colin Dobson, 23 June 2004

Why does the version now shown in the current and previous Editions of BR20 have a white fimbriation around the shield when this is totally unnecessary and against the heraldic code (metal against metal)?  
I first thought that it was in the interests of consistency, but neither the shield on the flag of Bermuda, nor that on the flag of Anguilla show such a thing.
Christopher Southworth, 25 February 2005


Presentation of the Turks and Caicos Islands

Under British rule in 1766. 1804 - Turks Islands ruled by Jamaica. 1848 - Caicos Islands joined the Turks Islands in a separated administrative territory of Jamaica. 1962 - Separated from Jamaica (independent) and administered from the Bahamas. The arms were granted in 1965, after the separation from Jamaica. The flag is use since 1968. In 1973 Turks and Caicos became a distinct colony as Bahamas became independent.
Joan-Francois Blanc, 13 November 1996

The administrative sequence was:
Until 1959 the T&C were a dependency of Jamaica; in 1959 the T&C became a separate colony but until 1962 the Governor of Jamaica was also the Governor of T&C. Between 1962 and 1965 the Administrator of the T&C reported directly to London. Between 1965 and 1973 the Administrator was subordinate to the Governor of the Bahamas who was also Governor of the T&C. In 1973 when Bahamas became independent the Administrator was up-graded to Governor.
David Prothero, 30 July 1997

Turks/Caicos and the Cayman Islands were dependencies of Jamaica. Turks had its own badge based on the Seal of the colony from 1875 until 1958 when it was replaced by the current shield
David Prothero, 22 November 1999


The Red Ensign

Turks and Caicos flag
image by by Martin Grieve, 22 June 2004

The Flag Institute list a Red Ensign for the Turks and Caicos Islands as being official, and it is shown in (the shortly to be replaced) current Edition of /BR20 (Page 5;137, Change No. 5 drawn by Graham Bartram). however, I have been unable to find any legislation formally adopting it.
BR20 (Flags of All Nations) is the nearest thing we have in the UK to an "official guide".
Christopher Southworth, 21 June 2001


Governor's Flag

Turks and Caicos flag
image by Martin Grieve, 26 June 2004

Governor's flag since 1999. Album depicts this and shows the shield's points touching the garaland and blue ribbon.
Martin Grieve, 26 June 2004

It is the badge surrounded by the garland on Union Jack.
Paige Herring, 25 April 2004


Coat of Arms


image from Ralf Hartemink site


Badge detail - adopted 1968
image by Martin Grieve, 22 June 2004

The crest of the Turks & Caicos Islands is a pelican between two sisal plants representing connection to the rope industry.
Nahum Shereshevsky, 31 May 1997

The circular badge on the first flag was introduced sometime before 1904. The arms were granted 28 September 1965 and the shield from the arms replaced the circular badge on the flag in 1968.
David Prothero, 30 July 1997

While the term coat of arms is applied to the full achievement (in this case, shield, helmet, mantling, crest and supporters), in sensu strictu the term applies to the shield only. (This is explained at length in Armoria). So it is correct to say that the arms are displayed on the Blue Ensign. I should mention that the plant in base is a turk's head cactus, so called because its red fruit (or possibly its flower) resembles a red fez or tarboosh sitting on top of a human head, as you can see in the shield of the arms, although far less clearly on the flag.
Mike Oettle, 23 May 2004

This is one of the problems as the shield on the flag, and for that matter, the enlarged detail shown at the official Government sites at <www.turksandcaicos.tc/Government> differ from the shield from the full achievement of arms which I would expect to be the exact same as the badge depicted on the flag. The Conch shell is all pink on the drawing of the shield, as opposed to white with pink "patches" shown on the coat of arms. Album 2000 shows the enlarged detail of the shield, and this corresponds more closely with the shield from the arms. It could just be the case of course, that the Turks and Caicos Islands have modified their arms at some point, but I could not verify this.
Martin Grieve, 23 June 2004

The representation of the lobster in the flag and badge seem to have ten legs in your artwork. I believe the correct number would be eight legs. The images supplied on <www.tcimall.tc>, towards the > bottom of the page support this.
G. Evans, 23 February 2008

The official drawing shows eight legs and a pink shell. See <www.flags.net>.
Graham Bartram, 23 February 2008

The official BR20 image that I am in posession of has 10 legs (5 on each side), but that is more than likely a mistake on the original as Pederson shows 8 legs in the "International flag book in colour" published 1970. It should be noted that the Coat of Arms of the Turks and Caicos islands are displayed there and not the badge defacement. There is no getting away from it - 4 legs either side of the lobster is the correct way to go!
Martin Grieve, 23 February 2008

Lobsters have ten legs normally (they're decapods). Wonder why the official badge has only eight...
James Dignan, 23 February 2008

The animal on the Turks and Caicos arms, badge and flag is a spiny lobster, not a lobster. Both are a little bit different. The one here is most probably the Caribbean Spony Lobster (Panulirus argus). They belong (as do "true" lobsters) to the Decapoda, i.e. the ten-legged crustaceans. Therefore a first deliberation would lead me to believe that ten legs would be accurate, and not eight. Of course the problem with crustaceans is, that they have a lot of other appendages, and also the legs (the appendages for walking) are frequently modified or reduced, so the whole number is not always visible. However, for instance this article clearly shows a drawing of the Spiny Lobster from above (like in the Turks and Caicos arms). It clearly shows seven pairs of appendages, namely (starting from the anterior part): - antennulae (small antennae directed to anterior) - antennae (very large and thick antennae shown pointing to posterior) - five pairs of walking legs.
So I suggest that indeed 10 legs should be drawn. And I further suggest, that most probably the original drawing shows ten legs, but perhaps the first pair of legs, being smaller than the others, might be hidden under the huge antennae; and further redrawings missed the small ones.
Marcus Schm÷ger, 23 February 2008

I was able to look at the image of the lobster at the website Marcus mentioned. I also took a closer look at the official drawing and it does indeed have seven pairs of appendages. It has two small antennae, two large swept back antennae, and five pairs of legs, but one pair is actually pointing forward. It even has two very small eye stalks (between the foremost legs and the large antennae), but I will admit it is a fairly stylized version of a lobster.
Graham Bartram, 23 February 2008

And for a zoomable photo of its actual appearance on a contemporary flag see <www.brianwhittaker.com>.
Ned Smith, 24 February 2008


Storm Warning Signals

[U.S. Storm Hurricane flag]

According to this WMO page, Turks and Caicos Islands use one signal which is a flag:
- 40a (red pierced black) meaning "A tropical storm or hurricane is expected to strike within twelve hours".
Jan Mertens, 30 March 2008