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Pre-independence flags of Mauritius

Last modified: 2015-07-28 by ian macdonald
Keywords: key (red) | star | dodo | stella clavisque maris indici | sambur deer | deer (red and white) | deer: sambur |
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Mauritius became a republic on 12th March 1992, the twenty-fourth anniversary of independence.
Ken Westmoreland, 16 July 2004

On 12 March 1992 Mauritius became republic, but the independence flag didn’t change.
Jan Zrzavy, 09 Oct 2002

Since 1810 until 1968 Mauritius was a British colony with Governors. Before that 1718-1810 Mauritius was known as Île de France, and was French colony, with Governors (since 1734 Governors-General) of the Compagnie des Indes.
Željko Heimer, 16 Jun 2002

Mauritius was called Île de France from 1711 to 1810 by the French. The island was initially colonized and owned by the Compagnie des Indes, and later ceded to the king of France. Port-Louis might have been named after either Louis XV (1715-1774) or Louis XVI (1774-1791). Louis XV is most probable, since the Compagnie des Indes lost a lot of money on the Île de France and might have tried to get rid of it as soon as possible.
Ivan Sache, 20 Dec 2003

Even before, 1638-1710 Mauritius was under Dutch administration; in 1710-1718 there was no colonial power governing Mauritius…
Željko Heimer, 16 Jun 2002

Mautitius is named after the Dutch prince Maurice (Dutch: Maurits) of Orange, son of William of Orange. I think only the normal Dutch flags were used, and maybe also the flags of the Netherlands East India Company VOC. The island was discovered in 1505 by the Portuguese.
Ivan Sache, 20 Dec 2003

Blue ensign without disc (1923-1968)

pre-1968 Mauritius flag
image by Clay Moss, 11 Dec 2006

In 1923 the disk was definitly abandoned and the coat of arms now apeared directly on blue background.
Željko Heimer, 16 Jun 2002

I’m not certain whether if Mauritian blue ensigns were ever defaced without a disk. I have never seen an actual sample. I do know that the disk was used right up ’till 1968 and have seen samples and photos.
Clay Moss, 04 Jul 2005

Officially the badge should not have been on a white disc after 14 December 1923. BR20 of 1955 [hms55] showed it without a disc.
David Prothero, 05 Jul 2005

Though the edict may have been passed down by the Admiralty or whoever, I do know that Mauritius continued to use ensigns with disks right up ’till the time it achieved independence.
Clay Moss, 08 Jun 2005

This flag was superseded at the time of independence in 1968.
Vincent Morley, 25 Feb 1997

Blue ensign with disc (1906-1923)

1869-1923 Mauritius flag
image by Clay Moss, 04 Jul 2005

See also: Governor of 1906-1968

The arms were granted in 1906 instead of the “armslike” badge used before. Due to the general misunderstanding of the use of the white disk behind the badges in ensigns (thoughout the Empire, not oly in Mauritius) it was not clear weather the badge should be there or not, until 1923 when the official document explicitly stated that the disk is not needed in this particular case.
Željko Heimer, 16 Jun 2002

This form of the Mauritius Blue Ensign was approved 14-12-1869 (CO 325/54), but 7-7-1921 it was agreed that the white disc was not necessary and was officially removed 14-12-1923 (ADM 116/1847B). Both Public Records Office documents.
David Prothero, 30 Nov 1998

I do know that the disk was used right up ’till 1968 and have seen samples and photos.
Clay Moss, 04 Jul 2005

Badge of 1906-1968

1869-1923 Mauritius arms
image by Clay Moss, 04 Jul 2006

The arms were adopted 1906 and before were another pattern.
Jaume Ollé, 05 Dec 1998

When placed on a white disk, the coat of arms must be off centered a bit toward the hoist. When actually centered, the whole coat of arms is off center, with the shield ending up substantially toward the fly. The dodo bird’s size it problematic.
Clay Moss, 08 Jun 2005

In Flaggenbuch [neu39] the badge of Mauritius there (page 74) is one of the rare examples of not the highest quality of images — the colours are mostly mischosen and the larger part of the inscription in the ribbon is missing (having only the word "Indici"). I guess that this must be a printing error. (Possibly only in [neu92] the 1992 reprint?)
Željko Heimer, 17 Jun 2002

It has been corrected on a separate loose page, that is: the inscription; you should have received that too.
Jarig Bakker, 17 Jun 2002

Blue ensign with old arms (1869-1906)

1869-1923 Mauritius flag
image by Željko Heimer, 16 Jun 2002

See also: Governor of 1869-1906

This badge is shown in the 1881 H.M.Stationery Office publication Arms and Badges of the Several Colonies of Great Britain [hms81].
David Prothero, 16 Jun 2002

The badge approved 14 Dec 1869, consisted of a quartered shield, similar to the one that appears on the Arms granted 25-aug-1906; beneath it was a scroll bearing the motto, «stella clavisque maris indici» (Latin for «star and key of the Indian Sea»). No sugar cane, embattled dodo, or antelope.

The shape of the shield was different. It had an ornate “frame”, similar to, but not the same as, the style of the shield of St Helena (1875-1984). There were also differences in the details of the quarters: the first quarter was a three-masted sailing ship, not a lymphad: the key in the third quarter was gold, on a black background: the fourth quarter was divided horizontally to represent the sky above the sea, with the light from the star, which had six points, shining down and reflecting in the sea.

A note alongside the drawing in the Colonial Office Flag Book reads:

This is called the arms of the colony, but in Governor’s Despatch No 139 of 21-6-1875 it was explained that the drawing is a badge for the governor’s flag, approved by the Secretary of State in Despatch 14-12-1869, and that it differs from the device on the seal sent out in Despatch No 29 of 10-12-1839.
Theoretically this badge should have been applied direct to the Blue Ensign with no white disc. However the fact that the 1906 Arms were initially borne on a white disc which was not removed until 1923, suggests to me that the 1869 badge was similarly displayed on a white disc.

David Prothero, 08 Dec 1998

British Red Ensign (undefaced)

pre-1968 Mauritius civil ensign
image by Martin Grieve

Mauritius did not have a defaced Red Ensign; the official merchant ensign was the plain Red Ensign. That is not to say that there may not have been unofficial Mauritius Red Ensigns.
David Prothero, 22 May 1999

Mauritian Red Ensign with the 1906-1968 arms (unofficial)

Old Mauritius red ens.
image by Clay Moss, 04 Jul 2005

Unwarranted red ensigns [with the arms] were somewhat common.
Clay Moss, 04 Jul 2005

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