What Do The Colors And Symbols Of The Flag Of Tuvalu Mean?

By Oishimaya Sen Nag on July 20 2018 in World Facts

The flag features 9 stars, one for each of the islands of Tuvalu.

A Brief History of Tuvalu

Tuvalu is a Polynesian island nation located in the Pacific Ocean. The country’s original inhabitants were the Polynesian people. The first European set foot in Tuvalu in 1568. He was Álvaro de Mendaña from Spain. Nine islands in the region were named as the Ellice Islands by the Europeans. Due to the remoteness of the Ellice Islands, they remained in isolation for long. However, in the second half of the 19th century, the islands came under British influence. Each of these islands was declared a British Protectorate in 1892. From that year and till 1976, the Ellice Islands remained under British administration. Between 1916 and 1976, the Ellice Islands and the Gilbert Islands were declared to be a single colony of the British. However, in on January 1, 1976, the Gilbert and the Ellice Islands were treated as two separate colonies and they were renamed. While the Gilbert Islands were renamed as Kiribati, the Ellice Islands came to be known as Tuvalu. After decades of British rule, Tuvalu emerged as a free nation on October 1, 1978.

History of the Flag Of Tuvalu

The national flag of Tuvalu was officially adopted after the country gained independence from British rule in 1978. The design was based on the Union Flag of the British which is displayed on the upper left canton of Tuvalu’s flag. The background color is, however, a sky blue instead of the conventional blue of the Blue Ensign. Although the flag initially had nine stars, one of them was removed in October 1995. This was done to conform with the name of the country which means ‘eight together’ referring to the eight inhabited islands of the country. However, the people of the country protested against the removal of one of the stars. They believed it was a threat to the reigning monarchy of the country which was quite popular among the people of Tuvalu. Hence, the old flag with the nine stars was re-adopted in 1997. Today, the ninth island is no longer uninhabited as the growing population has led to people settling down on it.

Design and Symbols of the Flag of Tuvalu

The flag of Tuvalu is a Light Blue Ensign. Towards the fly side of the flag, the map of the island is represented by nine five-pointed stars. The stars are yellow in color. The stars represent the nine islands of the country that are arranged on the flag in a geographically correct manner.

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