Mauritius: our flag
Colourful and vibrant, much like the rest of the country, the Mauritius flag is anything but ordinary. The national flag of Mauritius is known as the Four Bands, or Les Quatre Bandes in French, after it’s distinctive pattern; four equal horizontal bands in red, blue, yellow and green (from top to bottom). This unique flag, designed by Gurudutt Moher who was a primary school teacher at the time, was introduced in Mauritius on the 12th of March, 1968—an auspicious day for Mauritius; the Mauritian independence day.
While the civil and naval ensigns boast slightly different designs appropriate for the use, the four official colours of Mauritius found on the flags remain consistent, each with their own symbolic attributes:
Red: The red stripe at the top of the Mauritius flag represents the difficult struggle for freedom and eventual independence of Mauritius.
Blue: The blue stripe in the Mauritius flag is symbolic of the Indian Ocean, where Mauritius is located.
Yellow: The yellow stripe of the flag signifies the new dawn and the light of independence.
Green: The green stripe at the bottom of the flag stands for the agricultural landscape of Mauritius and the ever-present colour of the country throughout the year due to its subtropical climate.
Many islands in the Indian Ocean, including Mauritius, were colonised by the British and French. This fact and all the implications of colonisation hugely influenced the fascinating mix of cultures and nationalities in Mauritius. Mauritius’ incredible heritage, people and culture are reflected in their flag, which is one of two flags in the world that is marked by four equal horizontal stripes.
Before their independence and because of the fascinating history of this small Indian Ocean nation, the flag of Mauritius has changed a number of times between 1638 and 1968 when the current flag was introduced. First (between 1638 and 1710), it bore the flag of Dutch Mauritius (more accurately, the flag of the Dutch East India Company). Then the flag of the ‘Isle de France’ was introduced (the Royal Standard of the King of France during the period 1715—1792), then the French flag (between 1792 and 1810), the British Mauritius Colonial flag (the Union Jack between 1810 and 1869), three further renditions of the British Mauritius Colonial flag (which includes the British Red Ensign and a version of the British Blue Ensign between 1869 and 1968), until finally the official Mauritian flag in 1968. No alterations to the Mauritian flag have been made since it was introduced.
Apart from the civil and naval ensigns and the official flag of Mauritius, you may also see the flag of the president of Mauritius. This flag is similar to the official flag, with the national coat of arms at the centre of the flag. The Mauritius coat of arms is quite extraordinary and depicts some of the island’s attributes with the motto Stella Clavisque Maris Indici” ("Star and key of the Indian sea") at the bottom of it.
The national flag of Mauritius is a symbol of hope, independence and pride in the nation and is as fascinating as the rest of the multicultural, and simply magical, country of Mauritius.