What Do the Colors and Symbols of the Flag of Guyana Mean?

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe on April 5 2018 in World Facts

The official flag of Guyana.
The official flag of Guyana.

The current flag of Guyana was officially adopted on May 20, 1966.

The red is said to represent the dedication of the people for reform, yellow is the symbol of wealth, green represents the vast forests and the yellow arrow is symbolic of a bright and hopeful future.

Description of the Flag of Guyana

The flag of Guyana has a horizontal rectangular design. The officially recognized proportion of the flag is based on a length-width ratio of 3:5. The flag features a large green field and two large triangles. One red isosceles triangle is located on the hoist edge of the flag and is superimposed on a golden triangle whose edges are white. These two triangles are pointed towards the flag’s fly side. The border of the two triangles is a black band.

Symbolism of the Flag of Guyana

The flag’s most distinctive shape, the golden arrow represents the bright future of the country, hoping to be built on the mineral wealth the country has in abundance. Green symbolizes the agricultural lands and forests that dominate the land-use (as much as 90 percent) in Guyana. The black stripe represents the perseverance and resilience of the people of Guyana to actualize their dreams. The sacrifices Guyanese people need to take to reach their goals are symbolized in red. The white stripe symbolizes the water resources in the country, attributed to its numerous rivers.

History of the Flag of Guyana

The country was formerly a colony of the British Empire and therefore had a colonial flag. The colonial flag was adopted in the colony in 1875 and underwent a series of changes until it was replaced by the current flag in 1966. The colonial flag was blue with its canton bearing the Union Jack and its fly having the colonial seal, which would later be replaced with a white disc in 1906. The white disc on the flag’s fly was removed in 1919 and later re-introduced in 1955. Guyana stopped the use of the colonial flag in 1966 after gaining self-rule and adopting the current official flag. The flag has since not gone through any changes. The Golden Arrow was first hoisted on May 26th, 1966, a day that would be known as Guyana’s Independence Day. Whitney Smith, a renowned scholar from the United States, is credited for the design of the country’s flag after his design won a 1962 international competition aimed at getting the best flag design.

British Influence

Despite becoming independent of British colonial rule in 1966, Guyana is still borrowing heavily from its former colonial master, and this is seen in the nation’s flag. First, the black-white fimbriations were added into the flag’s design after suggestions on the same were fronted by the British College of Arms. The influence of the UK is, however, most profound in Guyana’s civil air ensign, which is a replica of the UK’s British Civil Air Ensign.

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