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Marshall Islands

Republic of the Marshall Islands

Last modified: 2013-11-25 by ian macdonald
Keywords: marshall islands | star | oceania | sunrise | sunset | bravery | peace | bikini | kwajalein | men otemjej | rej ilo bein anij | construction sheet |
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[Marshall Islands] 10:19, by Željko Heimer, 3 May 2004


Neighbouring nations:


Legislation and Construction of the Flag

The flag was established by Bill No. 4 (P.L. 1979-1) of the Nirijela or Parliament, dated 12 June 1979, approved by the High Commissioner (Adrian P. Winkel) on 22 June 1979. Article One reads:

(1) DESIGN. The official Flag of the Marshall Islands shall be blue with two contiguous trapezoidal bars extending from the lower left of the Flag, diagonally across to the upper right of the Flag. The top bar shall be orange, and the bottom bar shall be white. The union of the Flag, in the upper left of the flag, shall be a white star of 24 points; the two points which are parallel to the hoist and the two points which are parallel to the fly shall be longer than the remaining 20 points. The points are 15 degrees apart. The union is located equidistant from the left edge, the top edge and the orange bar.
Unfortunately however, the "official proportions" listed in Article Three do not give a distance between the upper and lower corners of the flag and the stripes, and give the width of the 'rays' at the fly as far wider than was obviously intended (from a rather poor illustration of the flag which accompanied the text but which was not included within the law itself). None the less, it reads as follows:
(3) PROPORTIONS. The following are the official proportions for all flags bearing the design of the official flag of the Marshall Islands:
Hoist of flag 1
Fly of flag 1.9
Outer union diameter, point to point .620
Inner union diameter, point to point .444
Diameter of inner circle of union .196
Width of white bar at left edge .16
Width of orange bar at left edge .16
Width of white bar at right edge .392
Width of orange bar at right edge .392
Christopher Southworth, 12 March 2004

A blue flag with two rising stripes orange above white widening towards the fly and with a 24-rayed white sun, with four main rays larger then others. The ratio is obviously based on the US flag ratio. Album des Pavillons 2000 provides relative ratios along the fly edge from top to bottom as (3+20+20+57):190. [That is wrong, according to the figures above.]
Variations of this flag (erroneous) occasionally show the stripes emerging from the bottom hoist corner.
Željko Heimer, 13 June 2002

[Marshall Islands Flag Construction] 10:19, by Željko Heimer, 3 Maqy 2004

As Chris already pointed out, this description is missing two important measures, and that is the size of the blue edge along hoist below the white stripe, and size of the blue edge along fly above orange stripe. There is no info on these sizes, but I believe that it is reasonable to assume that the two are the same. Also, I make them equal to the white and orange width at hoist, i.e. .16.
The dimensions given as .392 (Width of white/orange bar at right edge) just can't be right - if such they would cover almost 80% of the fly edge, which is surely not as it was shown in any image of this flag we ever seen. Most probably these figures were doubled (i.e. someone read the size for both stripes, and the attached it to the one - not that unthinkable error), so the correct figure should be .196. It should be noticed that such figure is already used for an other element in the flag (Diameter of inner circle of union), so the choice of that size is making much more sense.
The union is stated (in the Decree) to be equidistant from the top edge, hoist edge and the top edge of the orange stripe. This is most conveniently shown as a circle concentric with the union tangent to the three. (Using the units as above, that circle measures approximately .73.)
Željko Heimer, 3 May 2004

The protocol manual for the London 2012 Olympics (Flags and Anthems Manual London 2012) 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 Marshall Islands: PMS 287 blue, 152 yellow. The vertical flag is simply the horizontal version turned 90 degrees clockwise.
Ian Sumner, 11 October 2012


Meaning of the Flag

The deep blue background represents the Pacific Ocean. The white and orange bands represent the Ratak (Sunrise) and Ralik (Sunset) chains, respectively. The customary symbolism of orange as the color of bravery and white as the color of peace are also recognized.
The star represents the cross of Christianity, with each of the 24 points signifying a municipal district of the Republic of Marshall Islands. The four main points represent the major centers of Majuro, Ebeye, Jaluit and Wotje.
Lance Laack, 17 November 1995

DK Pocket Book has some differences in interpretation of the flag when compared with Lance Laack: - the star is said to represent also the geographical location of the archipelago, a few degrees above the Equator - the four longer points of the star stand for the major centers of Majuro, Ebeye, Jaluit and Wotje according to Lance, and for Majuro, Wotji, Jaluit and Kwajalein according to DK Pocket Book. According to Encyclopaedia Universalis, Marshall islands have 27 electoral districts, including 0 (for three of them, so that we come back to the 24 points of the star!) to 19,664 inhabitants for Majuro, the capital (followed by Kwajalein, 9,311 inh., Ailinglaplap, 1,715 inh., Jaluit, 1,709 inh. and Arno, 1,656 inh. Wotji has only 646 inh. - the stripes extend and widen upward as a sign of increase in growth and vitality.

DK Pocket Book adds that flag was adopted when Marshall islands became a self-governing territory on 1 May 1979. The flag was designed by Emlain Kabua, the President's wife, and was chosen among 50 designs.
Ivan Sache, 29 May 2000


Colours of the flag

Orange or Red? Orange!

The World Encyclopedia of Flags states in the text 'orange', in the image it's red... Eve Devereux (1998) in 'Identifying Flags' has 'orange-red' in the text and orange on the image And Mucha (1985) has orange in the image and text.
Jarig Bakker, 29 May 2000

Orange confirmed by Album des Pavillons, Dorling-Kindersely Pocket Book, Flagg og Vapen (with caption: Marshalløyene - Selvstyrt, assosiert med USA)...
Ivan Sache, 29 May 2000

[The Bill establishing the flag clearly designates the colour as orange! Ed.]
Album 2000 also gives he colour approximation:
blue Pantone 287c CMYK 100-70-0-5
orange Pantone 152c CMYK 0-50-100-0