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Virgin Islands (United States)

Last modified: 2020-06-03 by rob raeside
Keywords: virgin islands | united states | bald eagle | eagle | st. croix |
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image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 15 May 2016

Official Name: United States Virgin Islands
Previous name: Danish West Indies
Capital: Charlotte Amalie
Location: Caribbean
Government Type: Organized, Unincorporated Territory of the US
Flag adopted: 17 May 1921
ISO Code: VI

See also:


The flag of the US Virgin Island shows a bird in a pose similar to that on the US presidential flag or state arms. However, its colouring is not that of a bald eagle, and it looks much more benign. What is this bird?
Rob Raeside, 17 January 2000

It is a bald eagle. The flag of the Virgin Islands uses a simplified version of the US coat of arms. National Geographic Magazine, September 1934 attributes the flag as being that of the Governor of the Virgin Islands, adopted by executive order of the President. DK goes into more detail: adopted in 1921, the three arrows represent the three main islands.
Phil Nelson, 17 January 2000

OK, it is supposed to be a bald eagle, since it was based on the US arms. But, what does distinguish a (heraldic) bald eagle? Only the white head, and nothing more. Yet this USVI eagle is all golden, just like, say, the Russian or Egyptian eagles... And that's weird, as even American Samoa shows a proper colored bald eagle (not to mention Illinois, Utah, Iowa or New York...).
António Martins, 20 January 2000

The official website of the government of the Virgin Islands states:
The flag of the United States Virgin Islands was adopted by Executive Order on May 17,1921. Upon a white field between, the letters V I, an American Eagle in yellow is displayed with the shield of the United States on its breast. A sprig of laurel is in its dexter talon, while a bundle of three blue arrows are in its sinister talon. The letters V I and the three arrows are in azure blue and the blue of the shield is the blue of the arms and flag of the United States.
Phil Nelson, 7 February 2000

From Recently Blanche Sasso from the US Virgin Islands could celebrate her 105th birthday. "In 1921 she embroidered the first U.S. Virgin Islands flag with her sister, Grace Sparks. The flag design was done by Sparks' husband", as the news report states.
Martin Karner, 19 September 2004

There really is little (if any) doubt that that the USVI flag shows a simplified version of the US national emblem, and that Admiral Kettelle so designed it in 1921.
Leaving aside any consideration of the two practically identical shields, the US emblem shows a bald eagle in its proper colours with outspread wings, and whilst it is arguable whether those wings are heraldically "displayed" as per the official blazon or "volant", those of the VI show a very similar attitude, with the bird (howsoever simplified in rendition) having an eagle's beak and clutching in its talons both a bunch of arrows and a branch in the same way as in the US..
Christopher Southworth, 25 September 2008

I cropped to standard size and recolored this flag image using (approximations of) the colors repored in [loc12] (where «PMS 179 orange» is what what on this flag is conceptually red - the vertical stripes).
António Martins-Tuválkin, 15 May 2016

National Flag at the London 2012 Olympics

The protocol manual for the London 2012 Olympics (Flags and Anthems Manual London 2012 [loc12]) provides recommendations for national flag designs. Each NOC was sent an image of the flag, including the PMS shades, for their approval by LOCOG. Once this was obtained, LOCOG produced a 60 x 90 cm version of the flag for further approval. So, while these specs may not be the official, government, version of each flag, they are certainly what the NOC believed the flag to be.
For US Virgin Islands: PMS 102 yellow, 292 blue, 281 blue, 179 orange, 355 green and black. The vertical flag is simply the horizontal version turned 90 degrees clockwise.
Ian Sumner, 10 October 2012


There are three islands in Virgin Islands. According to Administrative divisions of the World the island are divided to sub districts as follows:
Saint Croix: Anna's Hope Village, Christiansted, East End, Frederiksted, Northcentral, Northwest, Sion Farm, Southcentral, Southwest.
Saint John: Central, Coral Bay, Cruz Bay, East End.
Saint Thomas: Charlotte Amalie, East End, Northside, Southside, Tutu, Water Island, West End.
There is no information about any flags used by those subdivisions.
Dov Gutterman, 3 August 2004

St Croix

Probably won't happen, but if it does, a new flag would result.....  
From Associated Press: "At least 5,500 residents of St. Croix, the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, have signed a petition asking Congress to make the island its own U.S. territory. Supporters say seceding from the rest of the Virgin Islands would bring the island more U.S. funds. St. Croix is poorer than the two other main islands of St. Thomas and St. John.   Volunteers, who are still collecting signatures, plan to give the petition to Congress in the near future, said Rena Brodhurst, president of the Committee for St. Croix's Self-Government. But some admit they are not optimistic about its chances for success.   Only about 20 percent of St. Croix's 27,000 registered voters have signed, and reorganizing the territorial government would take major legislative changes.   Still, the petition will draw attention to St. Croix's economic needs, said Donna M. Christensen, the U.S. Caribbean territory's nonvoting representative in Congress and a St. Croix native.   "I believe in the principle that St. Croix needs more attention ... Their position is a bit extreme, but I signed it just to draw some attention," she said.   Though St. Croix is home to the Western Hemisphere's second largest oil refinery and the Cruzan Rum distillery, unemployment is at about 13 percent compared to 9 percent on the other two islands.   St. Croix residents voted four of their seven territorial senators out of office in elections on Nov. 2. Many residents complained they were poorly represented and received less than their share of government money. Terrance Nelson, elected to the Senate this year from St. Croix, said the island needed more help, but he didn't sign the petition. He said changing in the local government structure would be a better way to get more funding. Nelson said it was unfair that St. Thomas and St. John elected eight of the 15 senators, leaving seven to St. Croix. Home to 110,000 people, the Caribbean islands have been a U.S. territory since the American government purchased them from Denmark in 1917."
David C. Fowler, 15 November 2004

Water Island

Oddly enough, I have just seen this ensign today too... but on Chrystian Kretowicz galleries on Facebook, on his picture about Water Island (US Virgin islands). Chrystian tells us that: Water island was the last island to become part of the territory : having been sold to the Danish East Asiatic Company (Østasiatiske Kompagni) in 1905, it was not part of the 1917 sale to the US to the Danish West Indies. It was sold to the USA in 1944 and was trasnferred frome federal government to the US Virgin islands in 1996.
Chrystian displays for Facebook members this flag, as the flag of Det Østasiatiske Kompagni.
More on this here : Water Island and here (with the flag): East Asiatic Company. It can be seen too on FotW, where you can see the company houseflag.
The described ensign, which is the flag reported by Elias, can be seen (drawn by Željko Heimer) here, but not exactly as described since the company house flag in the canton is not displayed as "flying from a pole which is angled bendwise".
Olivier Touzeau, 5 January 2011

University of Virgin Islands

University of Virgin Islands at Brewer's Bay near Charlotte Amalie was established in 1986 (originally founded in 1963 as a College of Virgin Islands).
In October last year there was a vote to select the flag of UVI out of 14 submitted designs. I couldn't find any info on which design was finally chosen.
Chrystian Kretowicz, 15 July 2008

Here is the story from, dated 5th November 2007: "In other action at the UVI Board of Trustees meeting, the winning design for a new UVI flag was presented and ratified. The design [...] was selected from 14 presented to the UVI community for voting. A total of 257 votes were cast. The top vote getters were Image 1 - with 57 votes, Image 8 - with 51 votes, Image 2 - with 40 votes, and Image 12 - with 38 votes."
Valentin Poposki, 19 October 2008