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Commonwealth of Dominica

Last modified: 2005-05-28 by dov gutterman
Keywords: dominica | caribbean | america | parrot | sisserou parrot | star (10) | cross |
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by Carlos Esparza, 9 Febuary 2001

Official Name: Commonwealth of Dominica
Capital: Roseau
Location: Caribbean
Government Type: Parliamentary Democracy; Republic within the Commonwealth
Flag adopted: 3 November 1978 (Modified 1988)
Coat of arms adopted: 21 July 1961
ISO Code: DM

See also:

The National Flag

From Album 2000 [pay00] - National Flag (CSW/CSW 1:2) - Green flag with yellow-black-white corss and red disk with 10 yellow bordered green stars and sisserou parrot (loking towards hoist). The construction details are given beside the figure as (9+2+2+2+9):(21+2+2+2+21). Measuring the image in Album 2000, the disk diameter apears to be equal to 12 units (i.e. double the three stripes width). It is hard to judje the size of the stars, they apear to be inscribed in circles larger then 2 units, but weather they'll be 3, I couldn't say. maybe the document from which Armand got the rest of the construction would say more. I doubt that the size of yellow border is prescribed. The use of unusual colours in this flag might be a good reson to
quote the colour approximation provided in Album: green Pantone 347c, red Pantone 185c. yellow Pantone 116c and purple Pantone 254c.
Željko Heimer, 15 June 2001

Is there some branch under the parrot and what is the orientation of stars?
Note: The Sisserou parrot is, scientifically, Amazona Imperialis.
Jan Zrzavy, 16 June 2001

The image by Carlos Esparza is very well done regarding the details in the disk (however, the cross is not quite according to the Album secification, though). So the stars are pointing "outwards" but that virtually means that the topmost star is pointing upwards and then interchangably next one is pointing downwards, and next one upwards again and so on. There is a yellow branch on which the parror is sitting (not brownish as by Carlos). The beak and "fingers" are white (or very light yellow?) in Album, and those parts that are in Carlo's image blue are purple in Album. There should not be the small green part between the two purple parts (near the beak) - all should be purple there.
I always wandered - Dominica was under British colonial influencem, so how come that they never adopted anything similar to the British rich flags & ensigns system?
Željko Heimer, 16 June 2001

We say on our website: "The ten lime green stars - the traditional symbol of hope - represent the ten parishes of the country". According to Encyclopaedia Universalis Yearbook, the ten parishes are: St. Andrew St. David, St. George (including the capital city Roseau), St. John, St. Joseph, St. Luke, St. Mark, St. Patrick, St. Paul and St. Peter.
Ivan Sache, 15 June 2004

I see the common name used in Dominica to call the Amazona imperialis, followed by a scientific binomial name is Sisserou Parrot (Psittacus Imperiala) (see Official Announcement of the Flag at Independence). Zoologically, nowadays the name "Psittacus imperialia" doesn't exist and isn't accepted as the correct Linnean name of the parrot is Amazona imperialis, Richmond 1899. (The Genus Psittacus contains just one specie, which is Psittacus erithacus, Linneus 1758; the African grey parrot).
Francesco Dalba, 28 September 2004

Some photos and a lot of descriptive text found (for instance) at <> and <>. It seems, that this parrot is highly endangered (around 100 individuals left only).
Marcus Schmöger, 28 September 2004

Colors and Specifications of the Flag

I'm told by serious vexillologists in Italy that the flag of Dominica on your site is wrong: as of 3 November 1990. there is NO yellow fimbriation around the green stars.
However, almost all sites (<>, <>, <>, <>, <>, <>) it got the yellow fimbriation and only Roberto Breschi's site shows it without.
Peter Orenski, 4 May 2005

A government site that I found states, in part: "The flag of the Commonwealth of Dominica consists of a circular emblem of red bearing a Sisserou Parrot standing on a twig encircled by ten lime green stars", and the pictured image does show this.
David Kendall, 5 May 2005

by Carlos Esparza and J. Patrick Fischer, 5 May 2005

A friend brought me a national flag directly from Dominica. This flag has only a thin black line around the stars. I checked several flag books and I guess I know, where this mistake came from. Green at prints is made by printing bluie and yellow colour. If the print is not well done (especially at small images), there could be a small area at the green stars, which looks like a yellow fimbriation.
In my Dominican flag:
- No yellow fimbriation at the stars. A thin black line instead.
- the stars are smaller, maybe half the size.
- Bill and feet of the parrot are white
- the Wood is yellow
- the parrot is purple, not blue. The colour shade is not easy to hit.
- no nose hole in the bill  
The flag was bought last year at Dominica.
J. Patrick Fischer, 5 May 2005

I have only a copy of the 1978 Act that established the flag (which makes no mention of a yellow fimbriation as we know), and had assumed (apparently mistakenly) that the yellow had been added with the alterations of 1981?  
The only comment I wanted to make was that, with the site sent by David and the flag by Jans-Patrick, we now have two further sizes for the cross and red disk - 22.5% and 55%, plus 33.33% and 60%.  (as against the 25% and 50% given by ourselves and the Album, and 30% and 50% by the Flag Institute).
Christopher Southworth, 5 May 2005

The national flag shown on Dominican government site is a former flag since order of triband and parrot's position are different from present one and I found a present flag on the same website named Independence 25 at <>. The flag has yellow fimbrication to 10 stars.
The flag chart of U.N.members which I bought in U.N. h/o New York in July 2003 shows yellow fimbriation, same as that of Dominican government website Independence 25.
Nozomi Kariyasu, 5 and 8 May 2005

The official dominica websiteshows no red portion of the wing, no red eye, not a yellow branch but gold beak and claws, not gray.  Plus, nobody is sure of the diameter of the red circle. The official Dominica site says the stars are LIME-GREEN, while the background is dark forest-green - no lime-green stars shown on any sites I've seen.
Peter Orenski, 5 May 2005

Now things are really getting complicated. The version at <> shows for the first time a parrot with a green head! Well, the living bird has a blue-violett head. <> and same at the link "Our national symbols" at the same homepage. Here the yellow fimbriation is missing again. Nothing about this in the explaination at this homepage.
J. Patrick Fischer, 5 May 2005

We have no details on the major features - we have several different sizes for the cross and disk, differing versions of the parrot, no size for the stars at all and the official illustration which shows no fimbriation is in the wrong ratio.   I did have a copy of the official description for "Lime and Forrest Green":
Act No. 18 of 1978, The National Emblems of Dominica Act, signed 31 October 1978, Gazetted 1 November 1978 and effective 3 November 1978.
The Schedule, Part II: "The following is a description of the National Flag of Dominica:- Vert three pallets conjoined in pale and as many bars simililarly conjoined in fess or argent and sable overall a roundle gules charged with a Sisserou Parrot (Psittacus imperialis) facing sinister perched on a wooden twig proper within a orle of ten mullets.  Also vert."
The description of the arms gives further details on the parrot as follows: "proper beaked and membered or" but as you see no such description is given for the flag.
Just to add a little more to the prevailing confusion about this flag,at the website of the High Commission in London we have another image with yellow fimbriation to the stars.  This time the cross is at 30% and the disk at 55% which gives us yet another layout.
Christopher Southworth, 6 May 2005

I am awaiting confirmation but it would appear that the yellow fimbriation was indeed dropped on 3 November 1990 (as well as alterations made to the parrot). We see what we expect to see, and I hadn't noticed that Alfred Znamierowski's book "the world encyclopedia of flags" page 204 also shows plain green stars and gives 3 November 1990 as the date of the current.flag.
Christopher Southworth, 8 May 2005

The flag bulletin XXII:/6/102" of November-December 1983 informs that "Exactly after three years of attainment of independence - on 3 November 1981 - a revised form of the national flag was introduced" and "the disk is two-thirds the width of the flag".
Martin Grieve, 8 May 2005

When I prepared the 2nd edition of my book Lexikon vlajek a znaku zemi sveta  [brz98c] in 2003, I tried to solve the problem of the yellow fimbriation and sent several letters to Dominica. I got the answer from the Dominica Academy of Arts & Sciences that the stars are without the fimbriation in a letter of 25 July 2003.
Ales Brozek, 9 May 2005

Roberto Breschi has very kindly sent me a copy of the 1991 Article from The Flag Bulletin on this very subject, and this says that: "The parrot had its colouring modified to correspond more closely to the appearance of the national bird (the sisserou or imperial parrot). The stars surrounding the bird originally were 'lime green' instead of the dark green of the flag background. In the second and third versions of the flag the stars became dark green but had fimbriations in yellow.  These fimbriations, not mentioned in the official blazon, have now been omitted".  
In the meantime there seems no doubt that the stars no longer have a yellow fimbriation, and (something of which I was also unaware) that the stars became dark green between 1981 and 1988. 
Christopher Southworth, 9 May 2005

Previous flags

Flag of 1978

by Herman De Wael, 8 June 1997

Flag of 1981

by Herman De Wael, 8 June 1997

First adopted 3 November 1978. Black and white bands interchanged on 3 November 1981, posture of parrot changed 1988. Originally the stars had no yellow border.
Mark Sensen , 2 January 1996

Official Announcement of 3 November 1978

The new Dominica independence flag is now on display at Government headquarters. Dominicans are invited to view the flag on the third floor of the building.

The flag in an amendment of a design submitted by Alwin Bully for a flag competition held early this year. It consists of a circular emblem of red bearing a Sisserou Parrot (Psittacus Imperiala) standing on a twig encircled by ten lime green stars. This is superimposed on three vertical and three horizontal stripes of yellow, white and black forming a triple coloured cross against a general background of forest green.

The central emblem presents the National Bird of Dominica, the Sisserou Parrot, also a symbol of flight towards greater heights and fulfilment of aspirations. The Parrot also comes from the Dominica Coat of Arms thus symbolising the official seal of the country.

The ten lime green stars - the traditional symbol of hope - represent the ten parishes of the country, each with equal status, thus the equality of our people. The red central emblem carries the connotation of socialism.

The yellow, white and black stripes form a triple coloured cross representing the Trinity of God. The cross itself demonstrates belief in God since the Commonwealth of Dominica is founded upon principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God.

The yellow stripe represents the sunshine of our land, our main agricultural products: citrus and bananas and also a symbol of the Carib people, the first inhabitants of the Island.

The white stripe represents the clarity of our rivers and waterfalls and the purity of aspirantion of our people.

The black stripe represents the rich black soil of our island on which our agriculture is based and also our African heritage.

The general background of dark green symbolises our rich verdunt forests and the general lushness of the island.

The flag can be seen during normal working hours. Citizens may, if they so desire, use the colours of the flag for making buntings to decorate their houses and surroundings during Independence Celebrations.

"The army loyal to the Prime Minister Mary Eugenia Charles represses a revolt lead by the ex-commander-in-chief of Dominican Army Frederik Newton and by his vice Ashton Benjamin; they are arrested together with more than 90 people. The rebels tried to assail the prison in which there was the ex-Prime Minister Patrick John, who was arrested on 12 February 1981"

So I argue that the little change of the flag is someway related with the change of government happened in the same year.
Giuseppe Bottasini

Vertical Hoisting

by Herman DeWael, 20 September 1998

The flag is hung with the reverse showing, but the parrot retains the original position.
Graham Bartram and Željko Heimer, 7 August 1996


Dominica is divided to 10 parishes. There are no known flags of those parishes. The parishes are:
- Saint Andrew
- Saint David
- Saint George
- Saint John
- Saint Joseph
- Saint Luke
- Saint Mark
- Saint Patrick
- Saint Paul
- Saint Peter
List based on Administrative divisions of the World.
Ivan Sache, 15 June 2004

I take it that these are governmental designations rather than ecumenical (i.e., the parishes are not literally church parishes, but are administrative divisions).
James Dignan, 15 June 2004

They are listed in Encyclopaedia Universalis Yearbook as administrative divisions but they probably match church divisions. Religion seems to be very important in those Caribbean islands and it is not so surprising that the administrative divisions are called parishes.
Ivan Sache, 16 June 2004