Flag Of Barbados: History And Meaning

The flag of Barbados is the most important national symbol of this Caribbean country. It was established in 1966, after independence. It is made up of three vertical stripes: blue, yellow and blue. In the central part of the yellow stripe there is a black trident.

Barbados was for many decades a colony of the British Empire. As such, it wore a colonial flag with a blue background and the Union Jack in its upper left corner. This situation changed after the country’s independence in 1966, with the approval of the current flag.

Since its independence, Barbados has not had any changes to its national flag. Also, this flag has as its antecedent the flag of the Federation of the West Indies.

The colors of the flag are also present in other Caribbean flags, such as the Bahamas, due to the relationship with the environment in this region. In the case of Babados, the blue stripes signify the sky and the sea. Between the two is the sand that makes up the island.

However, the most distinctive symbol of the Barbadian flag is its trident. Its three points signify the government, which must be of, by and for the Barbadian people.

History of the flag of Barbados

All the former British colonies have a common history in the flags part. Barbados is no exception. From 1870 the colonial Barbadian flag was established.

This flag consisted of the British national insignia, the Union Jack, in the upper left corner. Like all its peers, the rest of the cloth was blue in color and contained a distinctive crest of the colony.

In the case of Barbados, the shield consisted of an image of the queen with Poseidon’s trident on horses, representing Great Britain. These are found swimming in the Caribbean Sea. Behind the image, you can see a beach seen from above. At the bottom, the inscription BARBADOS was included.

Flag of the Federation of the West Indies

Between 1958 and 1962 there was an attempt at collective emancipation in the Caribbean. It was the Federation of the West Indies, to which Barbados belonged.

The flag of this country was blue with four wavy white lines, emulating ocean waves. In the central part, there was a yellow sun .

This attempt to emancipate the entire Caribbean quickly ended after the independence of Jamaica and other great Antilles. Barbados returned to British rule, with its flag.

Independent Barbados flag

The flag of Barbados, after independence in 1966 kept the main colors of the flag of the Federation of the West Indies. In addition, she acquired an element of the colonial flag: the queen’s trident. However, it was modified.

The new flag design was approved by the nascent Barbados government after a public competition. In this competition 1029 flag proposals participated. The winner was the one designed by Granley W. Prescod.

Prescod was awarded the gold medal and received 500 Barbados dollars as a prize. The designer is an educator by profession, having made a career in Barbados.

In addition, Prescod attended the West of England College of Art for Specialist Teachers of Art and the University of Bristol. She also had training in Philadelphia. She devoted herself to teaching until her retirement in 1977.

The flag remains unchanged from the moment of its approval, which was the same as of independence. The government has established its characteristics and specificities.


Although there is no legally established meaning of the colors, popularly a representation has been assigned to each of them on the flag of Barbados. The island is a space where the sun and the sea predominate, and its flag reflects this.

The pavilion is made up of three vertical stripes. Those at the two ends are deep blue. These stripes represent the sky and the sea, referring to the blue color of both.

Between the sky and the sea is the island of Barbados. This is how the flag shows it. Its central strip is yellow, which represents the sand and the Barbadian land.

Neptune’s Trident

Within the yellow stripe is the most distinctive symbol of the Barbados insignia. It is the trident of the mythical god of the sea, Neptune . This symbol was taken from the colonial flag and adapted.

The official version indicates that the trident represents the breakdown of Barbados’ colonial past and the establishment of a constitutional government.

However, in a popular way this trident has been understood as a symbol of what the Barbadian government should be like. Each of the points would mean that the government must be of the people, by the people and for the people. These would be the three principles of democracy in Barbados.

Other flags

The national flag of Barbados has some variations, depending on its application. In addition to the national tricolor flag, there is a naval insignia. This is mainly used in the different boats that carry the Barbadian flag.

The Barbadian naval flag consists of a white cloth. This is divided into four parts by the cross of Saint George, in red. In the upper left corner, in this case, is the flag of Barbados. The other four quadrants remain blank.

Banner of the Queen of Barbados

Barbados is a country that is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. It also maintains the monarch of the United Kingdom, as Queen of Barbados. This position gives her the distinction of Head of State. For this reason, a standard distinguishes it on the island.

The royal standard of Barbados is yellow. In the central part is the official symbol of Queen Elizabeth II: the crowned letter E (for Elizabeth), in yellow within a blue circle. This symbol is the central part of a tree, as it is surrounded by branches with leaves. Under it, brown roots and trunks emerge.

The rest are yellow, except for two small flowers. These are the red carnations, also known as Pride of Barbados. These are found at both upper ends of the banner. This symbol has been in force since 1970.


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  2. Birnbaum, A. and Birnbaum, S. (1989). Birnbaum’s Caribbean, Bermuda and the Bahamas 1990 . Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston, United States.
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  4. Smith, W. (2013). Flag of Barbados. Encyclopædia Britannica . Recovered from britannica.com.
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