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Flags of the French West Indies

We get occasional requests for information on the flags of the French West Indies, so here is our understanding of the situation.

We get requests from students for information and photographs of the flags of the islands of the French West Indies. The official flag of Guadeloupe, Martinique, and St. Barth is the French tricolor. There are, however, unofficial flags for Guadeloupe and Martinique. We are not aware of any unofficial flags for St. Barth.

The usually described unofficial flag for Martinique is the solid blue flag with white cross and four stylized snakes resembling script Ls in the four corners. For photographs of this flag and the French tricolor, drop by Martinique (France, Overseas Department), which has descriptions and explanations of the unofficial "Lucia" flag. (The Lucia flag shown is different from ones we have seen on Martinique. See our page "Martinique -- The Cosmopolitan Island" for one with less stylized Ls.

However, there is a black separatist movement on the island with its own flag. This movement calls itself the Front National de Libération de la Martinique, and its flag can be seen on this page, along with flags from the Mouvement Indépendantiste Martiniquais, Mouvement des Democrates et des Ecologistes pour une Martinique independante, Parti des Travailleurs de Martinique, and the Conseil National des Comités Populaires. As you may see, asking "What is the flag of Martinique?" will get you several answers, depending on whom you ask.

As for Guadeloupe, again, there are a plethora of flags. The official flag is still the French tricolor. The local tourist office has a nice, friendly flag for the Conseil Régional, along with what may perhaps be the replacement. There is also an unofficial local flag which we have never seen. We have seen on Guadeloupe, the flag flown by the Mouvement Indépendantiste Martiniquais, so we believe there to be a separatist movement on the island of Guadeloupe as well. We have more often seen on the island the flag we show on our own page, "Guadeloupe - The Civilized Island."

Although we claim there are no unofficial flags for St. Barth, there is one flag which we consider a tourist device -- this site calls it a "Reported Flag." We have seen it around Gustavia, but Barthians do not seem to go in for flags much on the island. Fittingly, the page we have linked to also displays the Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club burgee.

As always, if you have any objections, corrections, suggestions, or questions, drop us a line via Cyber Poste.

The Mraur Cyber Poste stamp is Copyright © 1995 by Jim Felter and is used with his kind permission. For more of his work, please drop by Jas' HomePage.

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