The Evolution and Significance of the Dominica National Flag: A Symbol of Heritage and Unity

The national flag of Dominica is a vibrant symbol of the island's identity, history, and goals. This emblem of national pride, featuring a striking blend of colors and symbols, encapsulates the natural beauty, cultural heritage, and values of the Dominican people.

From its lush green fields to the majestic Sisserou parrot at its center, each element of the flag holds deep significance, telling a story of resilience, unity, and a commitment to social justice. As Dominica transitioned from a colonial territory to an independent nation, its flag evolved, reflecting the island's journey towards self-determination and its dedication to preserving its rich natural and cultural legacy.

The flag of Dominica was adopted on November 3, 1978, the same day the country gained independence from the United Kingdom. The design of the flag was created by Alwin Bully, a Dominican artist and playwright. The flag consists of:

  • A green field: The green field represents the lush vegetation of the island. Dominica is known for its dense rainforests, mountains, and fertile land. The green color signifies the island's abundant natural resources, its commitment to environmental preservation, and the importance of agriculture to the Dominican economy.
  • A cross of three bands: Yellow, black, and white. These bands form a cross dividing the flag into four rectangles.
    • Yellow: The yellow stripes in the cross symbolize the sunshine and the agricultural products of the island. Yellow represents the warmth and vitality of the Dominican people, the tropical climate, and the importance of crops like bananas, citrus fruits, and other agricultural produce that are vital to the island's economy.
    • Black: The black stripes in the cross represent the rich soil of the island and the African heritage of its people. Black highlights the island's fertile volcanic soil, which supports its agriculture. It also acknowledges the African ancestry of the majority of Dominica's population, reflecting their history, culture, and resilience.
    • White: The white stripes in the cross denote the clear rivers and the purity of the aspirations of the people. White symbolizes peace, purity, and the clean, fresh water that flows through Dominica's many rivers and waterfalls. It reflects the purity of the island's natural environment and the aspirations of the Dominican people for peace and harmony.
  • A circular red field in the center: The circular red field in the center represents social justice. Red signifies the courage, vitality, and steadfastness of the Dominican people. It reflects their commitment to social justice and equality, and the ongoing struggles for freedom and human rights.
  • A Sisserou parrot (Amazona imperialis): The national bird of Dominica, depicted in the red circle. The parrot is an endangered species endemic to the island and represents the flight towards greater heights and fulfillment of aspirations.

Each color and element of the Dominica national flag collectively tell the story of the island's natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and the values and aspirations of its people.


The Dominica national flag has undergone several modifications since its adoption. These changes include: 

  • 1981: The parrot was changed to face the left.
  • 1988: The stars were changed from yellow to green, and their positioning was adjusted.
  • 1990: Minor changes were made to the parrot's design, making it more realistic.

Cultural Significance. The flag's colors and elements collectively symbolize the natural beauty, history, and cultural heritage of Dominica. The cross design signifies the Trinity and Christianity, reflecting the religious beliefs of the population. The green background underscores the island's nickname, "The Nature Island of the Caribbean," due to its extensive forest cover and diverse wildlife.

The Dominica national flag encapsulates the spirit and identity of the Dominican people, showcasing their connection to nature, their historical roots, and their aspirations for the future.


Dominica has had a series of flags throughout its history, reflecting its colonial past and eventual independence. The earliest flag used by Dominica was the British Union Jack, flown when the island was a British colony. This flag was the standard for all British territories. In 1955, Dominica adopted its own unique flag while still a British colony. This flag featured a green field with a blue-bordered cross; the vertical and horizontal arms of the cross were white and yellow, respectively, symbolizing the island's lush vegetation and agricultural wealth. The cross intersected at a circular emblem in the center, containing the British Union Jack in the upper left quadrant and a simplified version of the island’s coat of arms in the bottom right.

Upon gaining associated statehood status with Britain in 1967, Dominica retained the same flag design but adjusted the central emblem, reflecting its new status. The emblem was simplified and modernized, featuring a more detailed depiction of the national coat of arms, emphasizing the island's natural beauty and its indigenous people. 

The Flag After Independence. When Dominica achieved full independence on November 3, 1978, a new flag was introduced. Designed by Alwin Bully, the flag maintained a green field symbolizing the island’s forests, divided by a cross of three stripes (yellow, black, and white), representing the sunshine, fertile soil, and pure water, respectively. The cross also signified the Trinity and Christianity. At the center of the flag, a red circle symbolizing social justice contained a Sisserou parrot (Amazona imperialis), the national bird, surrounded by ten green stars representing the island's ten parishes. This flag design was slightly modified in 1981 when the parrot's orientation was changed to face the left. Further modifications were made in 1988 when the stars were changed from yellow to green, and their positioning adjusted. Another minor change in 1990 refined the parrot's design to make it more realistic.

The evolution of Dominica's flag reflects its journey from colonial rule to independence, highlighting the island’s natural beauty, rich heritage, and aspirations for social justice and unity.

Takeaways. The national flag of Dominica stands as a powerful testament to the island's rich history, natural splendor, and enduring spirit. Each color and symbol on the flag serves as a reminder of the nation's journey from its colonial past to its present as an independent country committed to social justice, environmental preservation, and cultural pride. The flag not only unites the people of Dominica but also proudly represents them on the global stage, celebrating their heritage and their dreams for the future. As Dominica continues to navigate the challenges and opportunities of the modern world, its flag remains a steadfast emblem of its identity and aspirations.

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