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Saint Kitts and Nevis

Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis

Last modified: 2014-05-29 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: saint kitts and nevis | saint christopher and nevis | nevis | anguilla | kitts | saint kitts | star: 5 points (white) | stars: 2 | country above self | governor general |
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Saint Kitts and Nevis
image by Željko Heimer, 13 February 2005


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The flag

The Album 2000 [pay00] says:

1. National Flag. CSW/CSW 2:3
Green-red flag divided by a rising black diagonal bend fimbriated with yellow bearing two white five-pointed stars. Judging from the image in the Album and using 1/20 of hoist as unit, the width of the bend is 5 and fimbriations 1 unit each. The stars are inscribed in circle of 4 in diameter. Distance of the centers of the circles is 16 units.
Željko Heimer, 01 January 2003

Flag adopted 19 September 1983, coat of arms adopted 16 February 1967 (motto changed 19 September 1983).
Nozomi Kariyasu

It is commonly stated that the two stars symbolize the two islands, but in fact they stand for hope and liberty (source: [cra90] and [poe90]) In addition, Eve Devereux’s Identifying flags [dev94] gives further that green is for fertility, red for the liberation struggle, black for the African heritage and yellow for sunshine. The white stars express hope and freedom.
António Martins, 20 May 1998

The national flag of St. Kitts & Nevis features green for our fertile lands, yellow for our year-round sun-shine, black for our African heritage, and red for our struggle from slavery through colonialism to independence. It also displays two white stars on a black diagonal bar, symbols of hope and liberty.
Dov Gutterman, 24 June 1999, quoting stkittsnevis.net

November 1985 flag of St-Kitts-Nevis was changed according Flagmaster 49 [flm] and Vexillinfo 70 [vxf]. The stars are push pointed up. I assume that, if the info is exact, same pattern was reproduced in the ensigns and Nevis flag. Seems that the change, if exist, was shord lived and some days or weeks after, the stars recover their initial position.
Jaume Ollé, 22 January 2000

I was checking what I had on the flag of St Kitts and Nevis, and the answer is 'not a lot'. All I have is a single black/white page stamped by the Prime Minister's Office, Home Affairs Division, and undated.
In the first place, it confirms that the official symbolism is exactly that given by Dov Gutterman. The flag's designer was Miss Edrice Lewis, it was the "winning entry ... chosen from 258 submitted designs" in competition which "closed on 28th February 1983", and "after approval by Cabinet" was sent to the College of Arms in London.
The illustration carries hand-written notes by William Crampton (subsequently checked by myself), and shows a diagonal stripe, fimbriation and stars detailed slightly differently than those shown by ourselves:
On a flag of 100 x 150 units, the diagonal stripe is 30 units wide with a fimbriation of 6 units. The stars with one point towards the base (or if you prefer, the two outer points parallel to the stripe) are contained within circles of 28 units,while the centre-point of the first (circle) is situated 48 units from the hoist, and the second 45 units from the fly - or 48-57-45.
Christopher Southworth, 11 February 2005

I found once a copy of Life dated March 17, 1967, which has an article about the "new" Caribbean states that were just gaining statehood (and will gain full independence another 15 years later).
I tore out page 37 and 38 (the magazine was headed for the garbage anyways) because of the vex-aspect of a few pictures.
Page 37 has a VERY interesting photo - I wish my scanner was working so I could scan and show it. (If there's interest, I'll hold on to it until I can get it scanned) - the caption is
"NEW FLAG. St. Kitt's new flag is strung on a barbed-wire fence (left, above) alongside the British colors that first flew over the island in 1623."
Now, before you get a mental picture in your head, the picture shown is quite misleading. There are indeed two Kittisians stringing up two flags on a barbed wire fence, but the left flag is a *horizontal* tricolour of the then-national colours, basically a carbon-copy of Gabon, but a lighter field of blue. To confuse matters more, there is what seems to be a cheap 1 by 2 foot national flag (vertical tricolour of g-y-b) sticking out of a fencepost in the picture, but there doesn't seem to be a tree on the middle stripe (although the middle stripe isn't that clear, as the flag is bent at that stripe). The biggest surprise of all, the "British colors" referred to in the caption are what looks to be a *Dutch* flag! (I've studied the picture over and over and can't see a British connection to that at all - the flag isn't completely shown, the picture cuts off, but 2/3 of it at least is shown, and that 2/3 is the Dutch flag!) They are the British colours in the sense that they use red-white-blue on their flag, but, what the Dutch flag is even doing there is beyond my comprehension ...
David Kendall, 11 October 2005

"The Sun of Saint Kitts and Nevis", 24 July 2008, names the designer of the national flag as Edrice Lewis-Viechweg, now residing in Connecticut, USA. She taught at the Irish Town Primary School, Basseterre, in 1987, immediately after she left high school, and keeps supporting the school by donating scholastic items to valued students.
Source: http://sunstkitts.com/paper/?asknw=view&asknw=view,view&sun=494418078207132005&an=414034088907242008&ac=Local
The "IslandFlave" website adds that Edrice Lewis, then a student, won the national contest for the flag design, among 258 entries. She is said to have given the official interpretation of the flag.
Source: http://www.islandflave.com/caribbean-flags/st-kitts-nevis-flag.php [We welcome another talented female vexillologist and another successful flag contest!]
Ivan Sache, 29 July 2008


National Flag at the London 2012 Olympics

The protocol manual for the London 2012 Olympics (Flags and Anthems Manual London 2012 [loc12]) provides recommendations for national flag designs. Each NOC was sent an image of the flag, including the PMS shades, for their approval by LOCOG. Once this was obtained, LOCOG produced a 60 x 90 cm version of the flag for further approval. So, while these specs may not be the official, government, version of each flag, they are certainly what the NOC believed the flag to be.
For St Kitts & Nevis: PMS 355 green, 109 yellow, 032 red and black. The vertical flag is simply the horizontal version turned 90 degrees clockwise.
Ian Sumner, 10 October 2012


Construction Sheet

Saint Kitts and Nevis
image by Željko Heimer, 13 February 2005

The star can be pointing at once both perpendicular to the diagonal and also toward the bottom, even though the difference in just over 2 degrees. Namely the rotation of the diagonal from the horizontal axis is 33.69 (i.e. ctan(100/150)) while the downpointing star would have to be rotated 36. I take that the stars are rotated 33.69 that seems to me more appropriate.
The horizontal division of 48-57-45 provides quite nice vertical division as well (top to bottom): 30-38-32. The diameter of 28 gives the stars somewhat larger then we are used to see (I guess).
Željko Heimer, 13 February 2005


Position of the stars

I think that the stars should be directed towards upper hoist (or, more correctly, axes of the stars’ upper points should be perpendicular to the axis of the diagonal stripe)… and some people interprets it as «stars pointing up» while other as «pointing down». In the Czech vexillological periodical Vexillology [vex], even the changes of SKN flags were reported in the 1980s.
Jan Zrzavy, 08 August 2001

Carefully looking at the official illustration again, I can confirm that it definitely shows the stars at 33.69 degrees as Željko quite rightly surmises. William actually got this right in his handwritten annotations, but wrong on his finished spec (which is what I, without further checking, uncritically followed). In our mutual defence (and as I hope Željko will agree) the difference is actually very small.and visually almost indistinguishable?
Christopher Southworth, 13 February 2005

I am glad that this is so - it makes my "speculations" of the other ensigns much more credible. Anyway, the difference is indeed small and hardly noticable. A bit more noticable in the two other ensigns, as you may see.
Željko Heimer, 13 February 2005


Governor-General (since 1983)

SKN GG flag
image by Graham Bertram and Željko Heimer, 24 March 2003

The Album 2000 [pay00] shows a 1:2 blue flag with the royal crest in the middle and the motto "County Above Self" on a yellow ribbon below it. Apparently this is the only GG flag of this type that has no country name on the ribbon but a motto. I guess that this might be for two reasons, the latter more “probable” then the first: length of the name and two possibilities for the first part of the name.
Željko Heimer, 01 January 2003

See also:


Official name of country

What exactly is the official name of this country now? I know that at one time it consisted of two separate colonies, St Christopher and Nevis, but St Christoper was also called St Kitts (presumably an 18th Century version of the traditional English short form of the name Christopher, i e Kit, which is the version currently used). Then the colonies were merged and apparently the two forms were used  interchangeably as St Christopher & Nevis or St Kitts-Nevis. Then for a time during the 1960s/70s Anguilla was attached to the colony and it was known as St Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla, although the latter was separated after a few years (I believe there was some sort of brouhaha on Anguilla about this, and if I am not mistaken about twenty Metropolitan Police personnel were sent from London to restore order). Has the official name now reverted to St Kitts-Nevis, or is the St Christopehr-Nevis form also used interchangeably?
Ron Lahav, 13 February 2005

The official name of the country is "Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis.
J. Patrick Fischer, 13 February 2005


Storm flag signals

red pierced black
pierced black
image by Antonio Martins, 15 Aug 1999

red pennant
red pennant
image by Antonio Martins, 15 Aug 1999

According to the WMO book [c9h07], St Kitts and Nevis partly use the well-known US signal set:

  • 40a (red pierced black) is «A cautionary warning: possibility of storm or hurricane affecting island».
  • 56a (red pennant): «Winds 28-33 kt.»
  • 41a (double set of red pierced black) is «Definite warning: hurricane will affect island».

(The fourth item of the set i.e. 39a (double set of red pennants) is not used.)
Jan Mertens, 23 March 2008