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Seychelles - Colonial flags

Historical flags

Last modified: 2019-01-01 by bruce berry
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[Colonial Flag of the Seychelles] image by Martin Grieve, 04 December 2009

See also:

Detail of badge (1961-1976)

[Colonial Badge of the Seychelles] image by Martin Grieve, 3 December 2009

Barraclough and Crampton (1981) also mentions concerning the British Indian Ocean Territory that it was formed in 1965 and that the Blue Ensign with the Seychelles badge was used in this territory.
Santiago Dotor, 13 April, 2000

From the Toronto Globe and Mail (transcribed from a newspaper clipping; some parts missing):

"Torontonian Designs Flag for Seychelles"
A new flag badge for the Seychelles Islands has been designed by Mrs. Alec McEwen of Toronto. A few days ago she received word from London that the design had been approved by the Queen and that the Admiralty has agreed to its use in the fly of the blue ensign.
A former commercial artist entered a poster contest and the governor was delighted with her sketch. So one of the first of new Seychelles Islands flags will come to another British colony halfway around the world, to its designer. Colorful both in design and content, it closely resembles the ...
...its pale yellow oval border inset with green fish on a blue background. It still carries the giant land tortoise, a gentle, lumbering creature centuries older than people in the islands; and a brown and green coco-de-mer tree from which the largest fruit in the world, big double coconuts, are harvested. The fruit, which Mrs. McEwen describes as a translucent jelly, is served at Government House smothered in crème de menthe. In the background is a pale mauve island top and a red fishing boat with snowy sails. The insignia is indicative of main industries on the agricultural islands - coconuts and copra, cinnamon and fish and vanilla.
submitted by Ann Janicki, daughter of Mrs. McEwen, 28 April 2005

Governor's flag (1961)

[Colonial Flag of the Seychelles] image by Martin Grieve, 04 December 2009

Changes in 1970?

image by Mattias Hansson and António MARTINS-Tuválkin, 27 May 2010

I was in the Seychelles last year and I noticed that the police officers bore on their uniforms the same badge as on the supposed 1970-1976 flag, i.e the tortoise and palm "scene" but surrounded by leaves of some sort instead of the oval with the motto, so it may be true that this badge replaced the old one on the flag as well?
Mattias Hansson, 02 Dec 2009

Based on

In response to a comment that the badge changed in 1970, I think that there was no change, neither official nor unofficial. Barraclough's 1971 [bar71] edition of "Flags of the World" shows the 1961 badge, and Evans' "Observer's Book of Flags" 1975 [eva75] also has the 1961 badge. T he idea that there might have been a change in 1970 is probably the result of thinking that the badge used on the Presidential Flag in 1976 had previously been used on the Blue Ensign, when it was actually a variation of it.

In the 1978 edition of "Flags of the World" Barraclough and Crampton [c2b78], after referring to the flag adopted on independence wrote, "A flag for the President was also adopted, consisting of the National Flag with the armorial badge, not the Arms, within a white fimbriation in the centre. The badge is like the former ensign-badge, and shows the tortoise and palm-tree motif within a wreath of palm leaves. The former ensign-badge, dating from April 1961 and based on an earlier version said to have been designed by General Charles Gordon in the late 19th century, was replaced by a new Coat of Arms."
David Prothero, 04 December 2009

1903 flag

[Colonial Flag of the Seychelles] image by Martin Grieve, 11 December 2009

This flag was used from 1903 to 1961. Prior to 1903, Seychelles was administered as a dependency of Mauritius.
David Prothero, 23 September 2000

Detail of badge (1903)

[Colonial Badge of the Seychelles] image by Martin Grieve, 11 December 2009

Badge designed by General Charles Gorge Gordon. The palm trees are unique - being found only on the Seychelles. Campbell and Evans [g2o53] get it all wrong in "The Book of Flags" (1953 edition) citing that the creature is a turtle when it is actually a Giant Tortoise.
Illustration based on BR20 (1958 edition).
Martin Grieve, 06 December 2009

Governor's flag (1903)

[Colonial Flag of the Seychelles] image by Martin Grieve, 11 December 2009

Earlier Colonial History

The earlier colonial history of the Seychelles involved a fierce rivalry between France and Britain, and has some interesting flag aspects, as reported by Baudouin Eschapasse in the French magazine "Historia".

On 01 November 1756, Captain Nicolas Morphey, commanding the frigates "Cerf" and "Saint-Benoît" took possession of the archipelago in the name of King of France Louis XV.  The archipelago was named Séchelles (later changed to Seychelles), after Jean Moreau de Séchelles, "Intendant des Finances", who funded the expedition. A stone engraved with the Royal shield was placed on the island named Mahé as a tribute to Governor of Mauritius Mahé de La Bourdonnais (d. 1753). Colonies founded in 1770 and 1772 were not successful; in 1773, Lapérouse repatriated most of the colons to France, whereas the chief of the first colony exiled to India. Only 13 Africans, including a woman, stayed in the Seychelles. Colonization resumed progressively with the input of new colons. On 09 June 1790, the colonists, made aware of the French Revolution, elected a permanent assembly with some aspiration to independence from Ile Bourbon (Mauritius) and therefore from France. On 30 July 1791, a corvette brought the Tricolor flag; a census yielded 65 citizens and 487 slaves.

Jean-Baptiste Quéau de Quinssy was appointed Governor in 1793 and had to cope with more and more frequent British attacks. On 16 May 1794, five British war vessels moored in Port-Royal and 1,200 soldiers landed. Quinssy capitulated and hoisted the Union Jack. As soon as the British had left, Quinssy hoisted down the Union Jack and replaced it with the French Tricolore. For the next 20 years, the governor behaved as the foxiest diplomat. Every time a war vessel moored in the bay, he sent a pirogue hoisting the same ensign as the vessel. He signed his official mail "Quincey" as a British governor and "Quinssy" as a French governor, and welcomed, as the French governor, in 1795 the famous French corsair Robert Surcouf. The governor's diplomacy avoided any violent action against the colony and boosted its development: population increased within 20 years from less than 500 to more than 3,500, including more than 3,000 slaves. In 1814, the United Kingdom officially proclaimed its sovereignty on the Seychelles, and Quinssy became officially Governor Quincey, staying there until his death in 1827. His motto is said to have been : "Ce n'est pas la girouette qui tourne mais le vent!" (It's not the weather-vane which turns but the wind!).

The story is reported with more details by Baudouin Eschapasse in the French magazine "Historia"
Ivan Sache, 01 February 2007