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Co-operative Republic of Guyana

Last modified: 2006-01-21 by dov gutterman
Keywords: guyana | america | arrow |
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image by Željko Heimer, 27 October 2001

Official Name: Co-operative Republic of Guyana
Previous Name: British Guiana
Capital: Georgetown
Location: South America
Government Type: Republic within the Commonwealth
Flag adopted: 1966
Author: Whitney Smith
Coat of Arms adopted: 1966
ISO Code: GY

See also:

The Flag

From <>:
"The Golden Arrowhead, Guyana's National Flag has FIVE symbolic colors:
represents the agricultural and forested nature of Guyana,
symbolizes the rivers and water potential of the country,
GOLDEN arrow represents Guyana's mineral wealth,
portrays the endurance that will sustain the forward thrust of the Guyanese people,
represents the zeal and dynamic nature of nation-building which lies before the young and independent Guyana."
Dov Gutterman
, 6 January 1999

At July York ICV meeting, showing Guyana page of Album to Whitney Smith, he told me that my ill. 1 (sea version) is wrong, summit of triangle should reach the middle of flag.
Armand du Payrat, 25 October 2001

According to Album 2000 [pay00] - National Flag (CSW/--- 3:5) - On lnad the flag is in ratio 3:5, green with white fimbrated yellow isosceles triangle with base at hoist and top at fly end, and over it a black fimbrated red traingle with bas at hoist and top at midpoint of the flag. The fimbrations are not made along hoist edge, of course.
Apparently, as Armand discovered talking with Whitney Smith, the hoist trinagle should reach the midpoint of the flag (and should not be an equilateral triangle).
Željko Heimer, 27 October 2001

Although I have no correct construction sheet of the Guyana flag, I've found an interesting data in Ludvik Mucha's book "Flags and Coats of Arms". According to him, green color occupies 50% of the flag area, yellow 24%, red 16%, white 6% and black 4%. However, if the red+black triangle reaches the center of the flag, red+black should occupy 25% (not 20%), and yellow+white also 25% (not 30%) of the area.
Jan Zrzavy, 7 November 2001

The Designer

This is probably the only current national flag to be designed by Whitney Smith and his team!
David Kendall , 1 October 1996

The black and white fimbriations were not in Whitney Smith's original design, but were added by the English College of Arms. Can't see why, as the flag wasn't disobeying the colour-on-colour/metal-on-metal rule before (it does now!).
Roy Stilling, 1 October 1996 and 14 May 1997

The current flag of Guyana was designed in 1962 by an American, Mr. Whitney Smith, and was the result of an international competition held by the then government. (The year 1962 was expected to be "Independence Year"). The design was NEVER CHANGED by the new government which took office in December 1964. This flag of Guyana, since 1966, became known as the "Golden Arrowhead."
Amb. Odeen Ishmael, Guyana Embassy - Washington DC, 18 December 2000

In DK's Complete Flags of the World (1999) [udk99] I read: 'The original design had a red field, but this was altered by the College of Arms (in England) in 1966, which also added the black and white fimbriations.' That is corroborated in Crampton's FOTW (1990) [cra90i] and by Roy Stilling.
Jarig Bakker, 18 December 2000

Just a clarification: "The original design had a red field" - I assume it means: 'green triangle on yellow arrow on red field' and not 'red triangle on yellow arrow on red field'.
Ole Andersen, 18 December 2000

In Smith's original design, the red and the green altered their positions. I believe that it was because that those who participate in a contest want to win the contest. Smith made his design prevaling the red color according to the leftist inclinations of the premier Mr. Jagan (a ethnic indian pro-soviet). The design of Vaclav Kalikova also show a gold triangle (but single) from hoist to fly and rest is green (and a blue star is in the yellow triangle). Perhaps the College of arms made a mixture of both designs. I believe that the five colors were in fact requested by the government (I read it) but I don't remember if for Mr. Jagan or Mr. Burham. The fimbriations are against the heraldic principes and is strange that College of arms (aleways precise) added unnecesary fimbriations.
Jaume Olle', 7 January 2001

Flags in Use

image by Andre' Pires Godinho, 1 June 2003

image by Andre' Pires Godinho, 1 June 2003

I saw a picture of Georgetown in the day of the independence of Guyana, in this picture is showed two flags, I don't know if these flags are still in use, but these flags are a more used in this comemoration than the national one.
The first is the national flag with a extension in white, the size of the extension is aproximaly 1/2 of the national flag
The second is a flag with three horizontal stripes in the colors red, yellow and green with black and white fimbriations between the stripes.
So this is the ask...someone know the use or the meaning of these flags?
Andre' Pires Godinho, 1 June 2003

As to the second: My guess is that it is an inexpensive, easily sewn celebratory flag which displays the national colors. The arrowhead design is striking, but not easily stitched at home. People without a copy of the national flag might have elected to create the horizontal design which is easy to assemble with a sewing machine.
Al Kirsch, 1 June 2003


Guyana is divided to ten regions: Barima-Waini, Cuyuni-Mazaruni, Demerara-Mahaica, East Berbice-Corentyne, Essequibo Islands-West Demerara, Mahaica-Berbice, Pomeroon-Supenaam, Potaro-Siparuni, Upper Demerara-Berbice, Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo.
There is no information about flags used by subdivisions.
Dov Gutterman, 8 August 2004