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Leeward Islands Historical Flags (French Polynesia)

Huahine, Raiatea, Bora Bora, Leeward Islands

Last modified: 2001-09-08 by
Keywords: french polynesia | historical | society islands | huahine | raiatea | bora-bora | leeward islands | stripes: 5 | stars: 5 | canton: france |
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Huahine Kingdom 1847-1888

[Huahine Kingdom 1847-1888]
by Ivan Sache

Horizontally divided, white-red-white (2:3). Source: Flags of Paradise 1996.

Ivan Sache, 19 August 1998


Raiatea Kingdom 1847-1880

[Raiatea kingdom 1847-1880]
by Zeljko Heimer

Horizontally divided, white-red-white-red-white (2:3). Source: Flags of Paradise 1996.

Ivan Sache, 19 August 1998


Raiatea Protectorate 1880-1888

[Raiatea Protectorate 1880-1888]
by Ivan Sache

Horizontally divided, white-red-white-red-white, with French tricolour in canton, white fimbriation when needed (2:3). Meyers Konversations Lexicon (1897) missed the 1880 and 1888 changes (the flag disappeared after annexion). Source: Flags of Paradise 1996.

Ivan Sache, 19 August 1998

Raiatea is in the Society Islands, about 100 miles north-west of Tahiti. It is one of the larger islands in French Polynesia.

James Dignan, 24-APR-1997


Bora-Bora Kingdom 1847-1888

[Bora-Bora Kingdom 1847-1888]
by Ivan Sache

Horizontally divided, red-white-red-white-red (2:3). Source: Flags of Paradise 1996.

Ivan Sache, 19 August 1998

Ivan's post of the French Polynesian flags reminded me of an incident that occurred in the last century when many national flags were still known only locally. At that time the Flag Book issued to Royal Navy ships contained forms so that unrecorded national flags could be reported to the Admiralty. In January 1879 Captain Robinson of HMS Opal, Senior Naval Officer in the Sandwich Islands, reported the national flags of Nuaheine, Raiatea and Borabora in the Society Islands, "which I send as certain vessels belonging to foreign firms at Tahiti sail from there to Valpariso and other ports under Boraborain flags". He drew the Borabora flag as a white flag with three red horizontal stripes. His despatch reached Rear Admiral Horsey, C-in-C Pacific Station, on HMS Triumph at Acapulco, who passed it on to London, adding, "recommend these national flags be inserted in Admiralty Flag Book it being desirable to mark as far as circumstances admit, the fact of the islands of Nuaheine, Raiatea and Borabora being independent of the French Protectorate of Otaheite."

However in May 1880, Rear Admiral Stirling on HMS Osprey reported from Tahiti that the Borabora flag drawn by Captain Robinson, "was the flag of treason and was used only a short time by the hand of the rebellion in the island of Maupiti, when that place was in revolt about three years ago". The correct flag was "red with two white stripes submitted by the chiefs in 1847". Source: ADM 116/185, Public Records Office, Kew.

David Prothero, 21 August 1998


Leeward Islands Federation 1820-1845

[Leeward Islands Federation 1820-1845]
by Ivan Sache

Plain red field with five white stars in quincunx (2:3). Source: Flags of Paradise 1996.

Ivan Sache, 19 August 1998

The Society islands are divided in Leeward and Windward islands (in French Îles-sous-le-Vent and Îles-au-Vent). Just like the West Indies.

Joan-Francés Blanc, 21 August 1998

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