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

On February 18, 1980, the national flag of Vanuatu was formally adopted.

A Brief History of Vanuatu

The island nation of Vanuatu is located in the South Pacific Ocean. It is an archipelago of numerous volcanic islands. The Melanesians were the first people to inhabit Vanuatu. A Portuguese navigator led a Spanish expedition to Vanuatu in the 17th century. In 1606, the members of the expedition were the first Europeans to set foot on Vanuatu. Here, they visited the largest island in the archipelago. At that time, the Spanish and Portuguese monarchies were led by the king of Spain. Hence, the leader of the expedition, Fernandes de Queirós, claimed the archipelago for Spain. It became a Spanish colony named the Spanish East Indies. Later, Vanuatu came under the rule of the UK and France in the 1880’s. In the 1970’s the people of Vanuatu started a movement for independence. In 1980, the sovereign nation of the Republic of Vanuatu was established.

The History of the Flag of Vanuatu

In 1977, a flag was designed by a local artist of Vanuatu named Kalontas Malon. The flag designed by him was adopted by the Vanua'aku Pati, a democratic socialist political party in Vanuatu, one of the two political parties formed during the independence movement in the country. The flag became the inspiration for the new national flag of independent Vanuatu when the party led the New Hebrides to independence. On February 18, 1980, the national flag of Vanuatu was formally adopted. It used the colors of the 1977 party flag. The new design was based on submissions from local artists.

Design of the National Flag of Vanuatu

The flag is a horizontal bicolor of red and green. A black isosceles triangle with its base on the hoist side has a yellow and black border that extends horizontally to the other of the flag in the shape of a horizontal Y. The two points of the fork of the Y face each corner of the flag on the hoist side and enclose the triangle within. The triangle features a symbol in the center which exhibits the tusk of the golden boar encircling two fronds of the namele fern that cross each other.

Symbolism of Vanuatu’s Flag

The green color of the flag symbolizes the richness of the islands of the nation. The blood of men and wild boars is represented by the red color. The black represents the ni-Vanuatu people. The yellow color was used on the basis of recommendations by Father Walter Lini, the nation’s first Prime Minister, to make the black look more prominent. The yellow color is also believed to represent the light of the gospel passing through the Pacific Islands. The emblem representing the tusk of the boar is a symbol of prosperity. The tusk was worn by the people of the islands as a pendant. The leaves of the cycad symbolize peace. The 39 leaflets of the two leaves represent the 39 members of Vanuatu’s Parliament.

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