History

The first flag to specifically represent Newfoundland & Labrador seems to have borne a green fir tree upon a pink field. In use early in the nineteenth century, it is likely that this flag was based on a similar flag, but with a white field, that had been flown by the colonists in New England.

Although the pink flag with its tree apparently initially represented this province, when a modified version of it was adopted by the Native’s Society in the late 1830s, it began to be perceived as the symbol of the English Protestant portion of the community. Irish Catholic immigrants responded by flying a green flag bearing the celtic harp. In the 1840s, the division between these two groups was exacerbated each spring as up to 10,000 sealers would converge on St. John’s before boarding ships for the sealing grounds. During these times, competition was frequently accompanied by religious animosity and a prominent display of opposing flags.

The Pink, White and Green

In an attempt to defuse the conflicts, a delegation representing the government and leaders of both communities sought the council of Bishop Fleming, who was respected by all. Tradition has it that after pondering the problem, the bishop asked that the pink flag and the green flag of the two factions be brought to him. Then joining them with a white handkerchief, which he said represented the white of peace from the flag of St. Andrew, he handed it to the assembled group and said, “Go in Peace.”

Taken from http://fraser.cc/FlagsCan/Provinces/Newfoundland.html

Why the Pink, White and Green?

Compiled by Temple Butler, Black Bank, Newfoundland, (date unknown).

The following provides background information in relation to the original Newfoundland Flag:

  • Pink represents the Tudor Rose of England, White from the Cross of St. Andrew of Scotland and Green from the Shamrock of Ireland. (The three founding races of Newfoundland).
  • Is the oldest flag in Canada other than the Fleur de Lys
  • Flag contains the Union Jack, representing Her Majesty the Queen, along with Provincial Shield, the oldest provincial coat of arms in Canada (1636).
  • The only flag in the world that contains the colour of pink.
  • The colours were adapted by the Mutual Society (1845) of which Richard Barnes the father of compulsory education in Newfoundland was President.
  • Flown at Government House during the Boyle and Murray administration at the turn of the century
  • Flown for the Prince of Wales during his visit in 1860 by the government committee of the day on all government buildings.
  • Flown from the block house atop Signal Hill and shown on 19th century flag charts as the flag of Newfoundland.
  • In June 1896 the newly formed Police force and Fire departments adapted it as their official banner.
  • Captain Bob Bartlett on the discovery voyage to the North Pole planted the Pink, White and Green there in 1909
  • Used on the cover of the sheet music for his Ode to Newfoundland when first published by Sir Cavendish Boyle (Governor)
  • Used by Newfoundland’s greatest Prime Minister, Sir Robert Bond during his election campaign
  • Used in England as a background for 1911 Coronation Stamp issue
  • Chosen in 1975 by the Franklin Mint for an issue of silver ingots depicting the most historic banner of North America.
  • Dr. Whitney Smith, world leading authority on flags in a book published in 1976 by the World Flag Research Centre called the Pink, White and Green one of the most unique flags of North America.
  • Only flag that has the distinction of having been designed in Newfoundland.
  • Selected by a committee representing the Newfoundland Historic Society – the Newfoundland Historic Trust and the Newfoundland Folks Art Council.
  • Recommended to the Provincial Government as being the most distinctive by a majority if the Newfoundland Youth Parliament.
  • Selected by the Memorial University student body in their newspaper the “Muse” as the most suitable and distinctive Provincial Flag.

In Conclusion this Pink, White and Green with Shield and Jack is distinctively Newfoundland in the it represents all facets of our history and tradition.

contributed by Mollie Butler, 14 November 2000

The Golden Shaft

In this flag, the primary colours of red, gold and blue are placed against a background of white to allow the design to stand out clearly.

White is representative of snow and ice;

Blue represents the Sea;

Red represents human effort; and

Gold our confidence in ourselves.

The Blue section, most reminiscent of the Union Jack, represents our Commonwealth heritage which has so decisively shaped our present.

The Red section and Gold section, larger than the others, represent our future.

The two triangles outlined in the picture portray the mainland and island parts of our province reaching forward together.

A golden arrow points the way to what we believe will be a bright future.

But the design of the flag encompasses much more symbolism, for example, the Christian Cross, the Beothuck and Naskapi ornamentation, the outline of the maple leaf in the centre of the flag, a triumphant figure and our place in the space age. The image of the trident stands out. This is to emphasize our continued dependence on the fishery and the resources of the sea.

Hung as a banner, the arrow assumes the aspect of a sword which is to remind us of the sacrifice of our War Veterans.

Since the whole flag resembles a Beothuck pendant as well as all of the above, the design takes us from our earliest beginnings and points us confidently forward. It therefore, mirrors our past, present and future.

The flag was officially adopted on June 6, 1980.

Taken from http://www.gov.nf.ca/nfld&lab/flag.htm

5 Responses to “History”

  1. shania 21 November 2011 at 10:44 am #

    Why did some segments of the NL population NOT accept the flag?

  2. admin 21 November 2011 at 11:45 am #

    It’s partially because Labrador has a flag of its own and partially because many people view it as a “Townie” flag, particularly those on the west coast.

  3. Chris Brynner 6 June 2013 at 1:22 pm #

    @ shania: Why did some segments of the NL population NOT accept the flag? Because most of what is written here is myth and in reality the Pink, White and Green flag was the flag of a Roman Catholic fraternal group in St. John’s. Most non-Catholic, non-St. John’s residents never heard of this flag until the 1990s when these types of stories started being spread and people didn’t know the difference.

  4. Dave 3 September 2013 at 11:50 pm #

    This PWG flag was NEVER a flag adopted historically by anyone in Labrador. Please stop calling it a “Newfoundland and Labrador” flag. It never was.

  5. its me 4 November 2013 at 2:26 pm #

    labador is not newfoundland


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