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Saint Lucia - Colonial Flags

Last modified: 2014-05-29 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: saint lucia | santa lucia | st. lucia |
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Historical Outline of St. Lucia

St. Lucia was first settled by France in 1650. During French rule, it used the same flag as Martinique, its neighbouring island to the north. It became British in 1814 - so the first ensign could date at least to this time. Afterwards, the two rulers were changed several times, but it finally remained a British dependency into the 'modern era'. In 1939 the arms were granted. Internal self-government was granted in 1967 (when it became an Associated State of Great Britain). Full independence in 1979.
Željko Heimer, 18 March 1997

1875 - 1937 Flag

by Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, 3 October 2000

by Jaume Ollé, 18 October 2002

An earlier blue ensign had a white disc divided horizontally into two segments. The upper segment [about three quarters of the circle] had a view of St.Lucia from the west. The shore line is roughly on the diameter of the circle. [Geo17] describes it "for a badge a landscape in which appear the Pitons, twin mountains of the island, and the ever-bubbling volcano Soufriere, with a land-locked harbor in the foreground." Above Castries flies the Union flag of Great Britain on the fort. The motto is in the lower segment, black on white;

Statio Haud Malefida

It means, 'Hardly a faithless guard for ships.' The same motto went with the Arms used on the other Blue Ensign.
David Prothero, 15 March 1997, Nick Artimovich, 18 March 1997

This flag is illustrated in a flag chart contained in [smi75], where it is dated there as "end of 19th Century" and in Znamierowski's "The World Encyclopedia of Flags" [zna99] as St. Lucia (S.XIX-1938)
Blas Delgado Ortiz, 21 September 2000

The above is the 1875 - 1937 flag.  New badge approved 26th October 1937.
David Prothero, 23 September 2000

Here is the flag of Saint Lucia adopted in 1938. I got it from the ESPASA and Bruguera Encyclopaedias.
Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, 3 October 2000

The 1939 Flaggenbuch edition [neu92] already includes this flag. Anyway, the design is a bit different and more 'pictoresque'. As main differences , the sunrays are not visible because the sun is 'drown' in the clouds, and the Union Jack is represented with the hoist on viewer's right.
Ivan Sache, 4 October 2000

This badge was not introduced in 1938 but, with more subdued colours, in 1875. It was reluctantly approved by the Administrator, who wrote, "[It] is the device on the seal as colony does not possess any arms or badge.  No doubt the simplest and best device would have been merely the name of the colony, but we must abide by the Order in Council." (CO 323/321).
St Lucia, being one of the Windward Islands had no separate Governor and it has often been assumed that the badge of the island was used only on the Blue Ensign.  This was not correct for St Lucia, and probably not for the other Windward Islands. "25 Mar 1919.  St Lucia Despatch. The colony’s badge is used only on the defaced Union Flag of the Administrator.  The Blue Ensign is used only by the Harbour Master who defaced it with the letters ‘H M’ in white on the fly."  (ADM 116/1847B)
David Prothero, 5 October 2000

St. Lucia used a circular seal in 1875 flag.
David Prothero, 8 April 2005

The Badge

by David Prothero, 30 September 2002

by David Prothero, 30 September 2002

The St Lucia 1875 - 1937 Blue Ensign badge above differs from those in official flag books.
Upper badge is from an 1881 book.
Lower badge was supposed to be an improvement in a later book.
David Prothero, 30 September 2002

1939 - 1967 Flag

Blue Ensign
by Martin Grieve, 28 September 2002

Unofficial (?)
by Željko Heimer, 29 January 1996

In use 16 August 1939 to 1967: British blue ensign defaced with a white disc, containing the arms (black, golden cross made of two bamboo sticks, in quarters golden heraldic rose (I and IV) and fleur de lys (II and III). The arms had a motto (which was not included in the flag design). There was no red or white ensign. Reference: [smi75].
Željko Heimer, 18 March 1997

Smith (1980) says that arms were granted by royal warrant on 16 August 1939. Its Latin motto [Statio haud malefida carinis] means "An anchorage by no means unsafe for ships'. The roses and fleur-de-lis of the arms are for the British and French rule the island has known, the bamboo suggesting its vegetation.
Ivan Sache, 31 January 2000

The new badge approved 26th October 1937. St Lucia had paid 50 Pounds for a badge and new seal design by the College of Arms .
David Prothero, 23 September 2000

The badge was replaced in 1937.  The amendment to the Admiralty Flag Book shows the new badge drawn on a white circle with the notes; "On Union Flag as shown with garland for Administrator." "On Blue Ensign with no white circle." (CO 323/1468/7).
The seal was replaced in 1937 as was usual at the beginning of a new reign.  It was hoped that an emblem could be designed that would be not only the distinctive local element of the seal, but also a general purpose badge and a flag badge, and that it would be ready in time for the Coronation.  However there were delays caused by the inability of the Colonial Office and the Royal Mint Advisory Committee to agree on the design.
One consequence was that the flag badge was approved by George VI on 26 Oct 1937, but the arms were not granted until 16 Aug 1939. "Sable, two sugar canes one in pale surmounted by another in fess between in the first and fourth quarters a rose and in the second and third quarters a fleur de lis all Or."  (MINT 24/216)
Notice, "sugar canes", not "bamboo", as written in Smith's "Flags and Arms" 1980.
The design was by Edward Kruger-Gray, based on a draft submitted by the Administrator.  Gray's first design had an English lion, passant guardant in the 1st and 4th quarters.  This was rejected as being unbalanced, and his second design the lions were replaced by leopard heads.  This in turn was rejected, because the leopard had no significance in St Lucia.  The rose was considered to be more familiar, and to have the advantage, for locally produced badges, of being easier to draw. The black background is surprising.  It represented the period when Castries on St Lucia was an important coal-bunkering port. According to the Administrator, "it was the largest in the Western Atlantic, and possibly, excluding Europe, in the whole world."
The St Lucia "black shield" badge should not have been set on a white disc on the Blue Ensign at any time.
David Prothero, 5 October 2000 and 30 September 2002

Administrator/Governor's Flag

Administrator (?) (doubtful flag, pre-1937)
by Jaume Ollé, 18 October 2002

Administrator (from 1937)
by Martin Grieve, 28 September 2002

The governor's flag is (was?) blue with a golden crown with a lion on it, and under it is a golden ribbon with black text 'SAINT LUCIA', proportions 1:2.
Željko Heimer, 18 March 1997

Until 1960, there was no Governor of St.Lucia as such. The island was part of the non-federal colony of the Windward Islands and the relevant flag was that of the Governor of the Windward Islands. His flag was the usual Union Flag defaced with a white disc surrounded by a garland of green laurel leaves; badge of the Windward Islands on the white disc.
Between 1960 and 1967 it is not known to 'Colours of the Fleet' from which I've taken this information.
Between 1967 and 1979 the 1939 badge of St.Lucia was applied to the standard defaced Union Flag.
1979: presumably, this was when the blue flag with the lion and crown was introduced.
David Prothero, 20 March 1997

Three general principles.
1.  Administrators were not entitled to a flag.
2.  In the Windward Islands the Governor, sometime called Governor-in-Chief, but not Governor-General,was entitled to a Union Jack defaced with the Windward Island badge.
3.  The badge of each individual island could be used on a Blue Ensign, but not on a Union Jack.

However, when the "black shield" badge replaced the pictorial badge in 1937 it was mistakenly thought that the new badge could be used to deface a Union Jack for the Administrator.  The error was not noticed until 1940. In 1960 the post of Governor of the Windward Islands was abolished. In 1967 St Lucia became and Associated State and the Administrator became a Governor.
The flag above:
1937 - 1940:  Used officially by mistake.
1960 - 1967: Uncertain whether it was used.
1967 - 1979: Used officially until independence.
David Prothero, 30 September 2002