Flags of the British Empire

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The Flags of the British Empire past and present are many and various.

The lists below exclude the flags of the United Kingdom and its counties and islands and the current flags of the Crown dependencies and overseas territories, which are listed as "Flags of the British overseas territories". It is a gallery of the principal flags of the colonies, protectorates, protected states and associated states which made up that grand enterprise, the British Empire in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries:

Dominions to 1945

In 1931, six major colonies were given effective independence by the Statute of Westminster. Many others followed later, though after India and Pakistan attained dominion status in 1947 the clamour for independence by that name tended to the development of the Commonwealth not the suggestion of equality in the one Empire suggested by the title of "dominion", and so the later independent realms are not included here.

One dominion, Newfoundland, reverted effectively to colony status almost immediately following a financial collapse. Southern Rhodesia was treated as a dominion though not officially of that status.

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Australia (1903–1908).svg 1903 - 1909 Commonwealth of Australia A blue ensign bearing the Commonwealth star of six points and the southern cross
Flag of Australia.svg 1909 - A blue ensign bearing the Commonwealth star of seven points and the southern cross
Canadian Red Ensign (1868–1921).svg 1868 - 1921 Dominion of Canada A red ensign defaced with the coat of arms of the Dominion of Canada
Canadian Red Ensign (1921–1957).svg 1921 - 1957 A red ensign defaced with the coat of arms of the Dominion of Canada
Canadian Red Ensign (1957–1965).svg 1957 - 1965 A red ensign defaced with the coat of arms of the Dominion of Canada
Flag of Ireland.svg 1922 - Irish Free State A tricolour of green, white and orange
Dominion of Newfoundland Red Ensign.svg 1907 - 1931 Newfoundland A red ensign bearing the emblem of Newfoundland
Flag of New Zealand.svg 1910 - New Zealand A blue ensign bearing the four principal stars of the southern cross voided gules
Red Ensign of South Africa (1910–1912).svg 1910 - 1912 Union of South Africa A red ensign defaced with the arms of South Africa
Red Ensign of South Africa (1912–1951).svg 1912 - 1928 A red ensign defaced with the arms of South Africa inside a white disc
Flag of South Africa (1928–1994).svg 1928 - 1961 Variation of the Dutch prinsenvlagge with the white stripe defaced with the Union Flag, the Orange Free State Vierkleur and the Transvaal Vierkleur. This Republic of South Africa used this flag until 1994.
Flag of Southern Rhodesia.svg 1923 - 1953 Southern Rhodesia A blue ensign defaced with the arms of Southern Rhodesia

Colonies, protectorates and other territories

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the Colony of Aden.svg 1838–1967 Aden A blue ensign defaced with an Arab ship inside a disc
Missing Blue Ensign.svg - 1967 Antigua and Barbuda A blue ensign defaced with the colonial coat of arms of Antigua
Flag of Barbados (1870–1966).png 1885–1958 Barbados A Blue Ensign with an emblem of Barbados
Flag of Barbados (1870–1966).png 1958–1966 Barbados A Blue Ensign with an emblem of Barbados
Flag of British Burma (1939–1941, 1945–1948).svg 1937–1948 Burma A blue ensign defaced with a peafowl inside a disc
British Cameroons Flag.png 1922–1961 The British Cameroons A blue ensign defaced with the words British Cameroon surrounded by bananas all inside a white disc
British Ceylon flag.png 1815–1948 Ceylon A blue ensign defaced with the arms of Ceylon
Flag of Cyprus (1922-1960).svg 1922–1960 Cyprus A blue ensign defaced with two red lions
Missing Blue Ensign.svg 1955–1965 Dominica A Blue Ensign with an emblem of Dominica
Missing Blue Ensign.svg 1965–1978 Dominica A Blue Ensign with an emblem of Dominica
Flag of the Falkland Islands (1948-1999).svg 1948–1999 Falkland Islands A Blue Ensign defaced with the Coat of Arms of the Falkland Islands on a white disc
Government Ensign of Gibraltar (1875-1921).svg 1875–1921 Gibraltar (Government Ensign) A Blue Ensign defaced with the badge of Gibraltar on a white disc
Flag of Gilbert and Ellice Islands.svg 1932–1976 Gillbert and Ellice Islands A Blue Ensign defaced with the Arms of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands
Flag of the Gold Coast.svg 1821–1957 Colony of the Gold Coast A blue ensign defaced with an elephant and the letters GC under the feet of the elephant all inside a disc
Flag of British Guiana (1906-1919).gif 1919–1954 British Guiana A blue ensign defaced with a sailing ship and the motto inside an oval
Flag of British Heligoland.svg 1807 – 1890 Heligoland The Heligoland triband with The Union Flag
Flag of British Honduras (1919-1981).svg 1919–1981 British Honduras A blue ensign defaced with a the arms of British Honduras
Flag of Hong Kong (1871–1876).svg 1870–1873 Hong Kong A blue ensign defaced with the letters HK and a royal crown in a white disc
Flag of Hong Kong (1876-1910).png 1876–1910 Hong Kong A blue ensign defaced with the Colonial Badge of Hong Kong
Flag of Hong Kong (1910-1955).png 1910–1941,
1945–1959
Hong Kong A blue ensign defaced with the Colonial Badge of Hong Kong
Flag of Hong Kong (1959–1997).svg 1959–1997 Hong Kong A blue ensign defaced with the arms of Hong Kong in a white disc
Flag of Hong Kong 1959 (unofficial Red Ensign).svg Late 1980s-1997 Unofficial merchant ensign of Hong Kong A red ensign defaced with the arms of Hong Kong in a white disc
British Raj Red Ensign.svg 1858–1947 British India A red ensign defaced with the shield of the Order of the Star of India
Flag of Imperial India.svg 1858–1947 British Indian Blue Ensign A Blue ensign with the Star of India, used as the naval flag
Flag of the United States of the Ionian Islands.svg 1815–1864 Ionian Islands A blue ensign defaced with the shield of the symbol of Mark the Evangelist
Flag of Jamaica (1875-1906).svg 1875–1906 Jamaica A British Blue Ensign defaced with the arms of Jamaica within a white circle
Flag of Jamaica (1906-1957).svg 1906–1957 Jamaica A British Blue Ensign defaced with the arms of Jamaica within a white circle
Flag of Jamaica (1957-1962).svg 1957–1962 Jamaica A British Blue Ensign defaced with the arms of Jamaica within a white circle
Flag of Jamaica (1962).svg 1962 Jamaica A British Blue Ensign defaced with the arms of Jamaica within a white circle
Flag of British East Africa.svg 1920–1963 Kenya Colony A blue ensign defaced with a red rampant lion
Flag of the Federated Malay States (1895 - 1946).svg 1946–1948 The Federated Malay States The flag was striped horizontally with an overall 1:2 to ratio with white stripe at the top, red, yellow and black at the bottom. In the centre was a white oblong, with a horizontal major axis, and a Malayan tiger leaping, face to the left
Flag of Malta (1875-1898).svg 1802–1964 Malta A blue ensign defaced with the arms of Malta in a white disc
Flag of British Colonial Nigeria.svg 1800–1960 Nigeria A blue ensign defaced with the arms of Nigeria
Flag of North Borneo.svg 1882–1963 North Borneo A blue ensign defaced with the badge of North Borneo
Flag of Northern Rhodesia (1939-1953).svg 1939–1953, 1963–1964 Northern Rhodesia A blue ensign defaced with the arms of Northern Rhodesia
Flag of Nyasaland (1919-1964).svg 1907–1953, 1963–1964 Nyasaland A blue ensign defaced with the arms of Nyasaland
Palestine-Mandate-Ensign-1927-1948.svg 1927–1948 British Mandate Palestine A red ensign defaced with the word Palestine inside a white disc, for use by ships registered in the territory. The Union Jack was used as the general land flag of the mandate.
Flag of the Territory of Papua.svg 1906–1949 Papua A blue ensign defaced with a crown and the word Papua underneath inside a white disc
Flag of Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla.svg 1958–1983 St Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla A blue ensign defaced with the emblem of St Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla
Missing Blue Ensign.svg 1875–1939 Saint Lucia A blue ensign defaced with the arms of Saint Lucia
Missing Blue Ensign.svg 1939–1967 Saint Lucia A blue ensign defaced with the arms of Saint Lucia]]
Flag of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (1907-1979).svg -1979 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines A blue ensign defaced with the arms of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Flag of British Somaliland (1950-60).png 1950–1960 British Somaliland A blue ensign defaced with the arms of British Somaliland
Cape Colony flag.png 1795–1910 Cape Colony A blue ensign defaced with the arms of Cape Colony
Flag of Orange River Colony.svg 1900–1910 Orange River Colony A blue ensign defaced with a springbok antelope in a disc
Flag of Transvaal.svg 1900–1910 Transvaal - "Vierkleur". The flag features three horizontal stripes of red, white, and blue (recalling the Dutch prinsenvlagge), with a vertical green stripe at the hoist, and was known as the Vierkleur (lit. four colours).
Flag of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.svg 1953–1963 The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland A blue ensign defaced with the arms of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland
Flag of Rhodesia (1964).svg 1963–1980 Rhodesia A light blue ensign defaced with the arms of Southern Rhodesia
Flag of the British Straits Settlements (1874-1925).svg 1874–1942 The British Straits Settlements A blue ensign defaced with a white disc containing three gold crown; separated with a red inverted pall.
Flag of Tanganyika (1919-1961).svg 1919–1961 Tanganyika A red ensign defaced with the head of a giraffe in a white disc
Trinidad colonial 1889-1958.gif 1889–1962 Trinidad and Tobago A blue ensign defaced with a circular badge depicting a ship arriving in front of a mountain
Flag of Tuvalu (1976-1978).svg 1976–1978 Tuvalu A blue ensign defaced with a circular badge with a hut and the motto of Tuvalu
Flag of the Uganda Protectorate.svg 1914–1962 Uganda A blue ensign defaced with a grey crowned crane inside a disc
Flag of the West Indies Federation.svg 1958–1962 The West Indies Federation Four equally-spaced narrow white stripes with a large orange-gold disc over the middle two lines in the centre of the flag, undulating horizontally across a blue field

Governors' flags

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the Governor of the Falkland Islands.svg 1999 - Governor of the Falkland Islands A Union Jack defaced with the arms of the Falkland Islands
Flag of the Governor of Hong Kong.svg 1959–1997 Flag flown on Government House and the Governor's official car A Union Flag defaced with the then arms of Hong Kong
Flag of the Governor-General of India (1885–1947).svg 1855–1947 Governor-General of India, Lieutenant Governors, Chief Commissioners and other British officers in India A Union Jack defaced with the Star of India surmounted by a Crown.
Governor Ceylon.gif 1875–1948 Governor of Ceylon A Union Jack defaced with the Coat of arms of Ceylon.
Flag of the Governor of Jamaica (1875-1906).svg 1875–1906 Governor of Jamaica A Union Flag defaced with the Badge of Jamaica
Flag of the Governor of Jamaica (1906-1957).svg 1906–1957 Governor of Jamaica A Union Flag defaced with the Badge of Jamaica
Flag of the Governor of Jamaica (1957-1962).svg 1957–1962 Governor of Jamaica A Union Flag defaced with the Badge of Jamaica
Flag of the Governor of Jamaica (1962).svg 1962 Governor of Jamaica A Union Flag defaced with the Badge of Jamaica

Colonial company flags

The East India Company

Flag Date Use Description
British East India Company flag.svg 1600–1706 The English East India Company White and red stripes with the St George's Cross in the canton, the number of stripes was not determined.
Flag of the British East India Company (1707).svg 1707–1800 The British East India Company White and red stripes with the Union Flag of Great Britain in the canton.
Flag of the British East India Company (1801).svg 1801–1858 The British East India Company White and red stripes with the Union Flag of the United Kingdom in the canton.

Others

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of BSAC edit.svg 1889 - 1961 The British South Africa Company The Union Flag defaced with the badge of the company
Hudsons Bay Company Flag.svg Hudson's Bay Company A red Ensign with a monogram of the company's initials

See also

Outside links

References