The Martinique Flag Conveys the Island's History


When someone talks about the Martinique flag, there is often a little bit of confusion. This is because, depending on who you ask, you may get an answer of 1, 2 or 3 flags this beautiful Caribbean island paradise.

All of the flags of Martinique

What is even more interesting is that all of these answers are correct in their own way.

Martinique: Overseas Department of France

 Flag of Martinique – French Flag

Since the Caribbean island of Martinique is an overseas department of France (a name given to Guadeloupe, French Guiana and Martinique in the Caribbean identifying them as French colonies), the official flag of Martinique is the French flag. The Flag of France features three vertical bands: blue (on the hoist side), white and red.

Martinique is a Member of the European Union

 Flag of Martinique – EU Flag

Since it is a French territory, Martinique is also a member of the European Union. This means that another answer to the question, "What is the Martinique flag?" may very well be the flag of the European Union. The Flag of the European Union is a circle of 12 gold stars centered on a blue field, and can occasionally be seen flying over the island.

Martinique: The Unofficial Flag

The flag most often associated with the island by tourists, however, is the unofficial flag of Martinique. This flag is a blue field behind a white cross that cuts the flag into quarters (this is the traditional national cross of France and is similar to the white cross that quarters the flag of Quebec). In each quadrant, there is a white snake (the fer-de-lance viper, native to the island) that forms a stylized letter "L."

The stylized "L" represents "Lucia." Martinique was administered from St. Lucia prior to that Caribbean island taken by Britain. It is interesting to note that although the "L" is an allusion to St. Lucia, this flag has never flown officially on that island.

Martinique FlagMartinique Flag

(Two versions of the unofficial flag of Martinique above.)

This flag dates to before the French Revolution. This flag of Martinique was introduced on August 4, 1766 was first used as the flag for the original French colony of St. Lucia and Martinique and was to be used by ships of these two colonies. Today, the flag is flown (mistakenly) by yachtsmen as a courtesy ensign to the Caribbean island (they should fly the French flag instead).

Though it is common to see the Martinique flag associated with this Caribbean island paradise while not on the island, it is surprisingly largely absent on the island itself.

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