The Belize Flag
If you’ve been in Belize in September, you have probably seen Belizean flags draped everywhere in celebration of Independence Day. The colorful flags symbolize Belize’s history and its hopeful future.
Belize has been an independent nation since 1981. Part of its move to independence was the creation of a new flag. What do the colors and symbols on Belize’s flag represent?
New Flag for a New Country
When Belize became independent, there were two major political parties in the country. They were the People’s United Party and the United Democratic Party. To create a flag that united the country, they appointed a bipartisan National Symbols Committee to come up with ideas for the new flag.
The committee set up a contest and invited citizens to send in their design ideas. The winning design came from two public officers, Permanent Secretary Everal Waight and Chief Education Officer Inez Sanchez.
A Colorful Design
Their design was a blue flag with red stripes at the top and bottom. In the center was a white circle displaying the Belize coat of arms. Leaves from a mahogany tree circle the coat of arms in the center of the flag.
The Belize coat of arms depicts two men holding up a shield. The shield has three sections. Two depict the tools of the timber trade and the third shows a ship in full sail on the ocean.
Behind the men is a huge, spreading mahogany tree. The mahogany is the national tree of Belize.
Below the shield is Belize’s official motto, Sub Umbra Floreo. This Latin phrase translates to, “Under the shade, I flourish.’”
Belize’s flag is one of the most colorful national flags in the world. It’s also the only flag that depicts humans on its coat of arms.
Changing With the Times
The government adopted the flag on Belize’s official independence day of September 21, 1981. Since then, it has only had one change. Manolo Romero, a former chief information officer for Belize, redesigned the human figures in the picture. The redesign shows one as Latino-Mestizo and the other as Afro-Belizean. Romero wanted the flag to reflect the country’s cultural diversity.
What We Know About the Flag
Belize’s flag pays tribute to the importance of timber, fishing and trading in Belize’s history. It’s a vibrant flag for a vibrant country.
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