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Saint Pierre and Miquelon 1

Saint Pierre and Miquelon

The flag of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon is officially the flag of France, as Saint-Pierre and Miquelon is a self-governing overseas collectivity of France.

In 1982 an unofficial local flag was designed, based on the Collectivity’s coat of arms. The flag is blue with a yellow ship, said to be Grande Hermine, which brought Jacques Cartier to Saint-Pierre on 15 June 1536. Three square fields placed along the hoist recall the origin of most inhabitants of the islands, from top to bottom, Basques, Bretons, and Normans. The flag was likely designed by André Paturel, a local business owner.

Saint Barthélemy 3

Saint Barthélemy

The flag of Saint Barthélemy is the French tricolor. This is because Saint Barthélemy is a self-governing overseas collectivity of France. An unofficial flag of Saint Barthélemy consisting of the island’s coat of arms centered on a white field is also used on the island.

The coat of arms of Saint-Barthélemy is a shield divided into three horizontal stripes (parted per fess), three gold fleurs-de-lis on blue, above a white Maltese cross on red, over three gold crowns on blue, and “Ouanalao” is what the indigenous people called the island. On top of the shield is a mural crown.

The fleurs-de-lis, Maltese Cross, and gold crowns are heraldic reminders of the island’s history as a colony ruled by first the Kingdom of France, then the Knights Hospitaller and in turn the Kingdom of Sweden.

Réunion 4

Réunion

The Vexillological Association of Réunion selected a flag in 2003. It depicts the volcano of Fournaise, bedecked by gold sunbeams. It was designed in 1974 by Guy Pignolet with help of Jean Finck and Didier Finck who called it Lö Mahavéli but it really started to be promoted once the association chose it in 2003. It does not have official recognition but since 2014, it is flying on top of many public buildings after several city councils have taken the decision to do so.

Martinique 5

Martinique

The unofficial “snake flag” (drapeau aux serpents) features a white cross on a blue field with a white snake in each quarter. These are fer-de-lance vipers (Bothrops lanceolatus, French trigonocéphale) native to Martinique. It was used by the French military on their buildings and/or uniforms. Members of the National Gendarmerie bore the coat-of-arms version of the flag. It stood next to the French flag on some public buildings of the island—such as the prefecture and the police station of Fort-de-France.

French Southern and Antarctic Lands 7

French Southern and Antarctic Lands

The French Southern and Antarctic Lands have formed a territoire d’outre-mer (an overseas territory) of France since 1955. Formerly, they were administered from Paris by an administrateur supérieur assisted by a secretary-general; since December 2004, however, their administrator has been a préfet, currently Cécile Pozzo di Borgo, with headquarters in Saint-Pierre on Réunion Island.

French Guiana 8

French Guiana

On 29 January 2010, the general council (departmental council) of the overseas department of French Guiana unilaterally adopted a flag for the department of French Guiana. This was not recognized by the superior regional council. Both councils were disbanded in late 2015 and replaced by the French Guiana Assembly within the framework of the new Territorial Collectivity of French Guiana. Moreover, only the French flag is officially recognized by the French constitution as the national flag. The green and yellow flag is still used by the French Guiana national football team.

France 9

France

Blue and red are the traditional colours of Paris, used on the city’s coat of arms. Blue is identified with Saint Martin, red with Saint Denis]. At the storming of the Bastille in 1789, the Paris militia wore blue and red cockades on their hats. White had long featured prominently on French flags and is described as the “ancient French colour” by Lafayette. White was added to the “revolutionary” colours of the militia cockade to “nationalise” the design, thus creating the cockade of France. Although Lafayette identified the white stripe with the nation, other accounts identify it with the monarchy. Lafayette denied that the flag contains any reference to the red-and-white livery of the Duc d’Orléans. Despite this, Orléanists adopted the tricolour as their own.

Finland 10

Finland

The flag of Finland, also called siniristilippu (“Blue Cross Flag”), dates from the beginning of the 20th century. On a white background, it features a blue Nordic cross, which represents Christianity.

Like Sweden’s, Finland’s national flag is based on the Scandinavian cross. It was adopted after independence from Russia, when many patriotic Finns wanted a special flag for their country, but its design dates back to the 19th century. The blue colouring is said to represent the country’s thousands of lakes and the sky, with white for the snow that covers the land in winter. This colour combination has also been used over the centuries in various Finnish provincial, military, and town flags.

The first known “Flag of Finland” was presented in 1848, along with the national anthem Maamme. Its motif was the coat of arms of Finland, surrounded by laurel leaves, on a white flag.

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