Flag of Newfoundland and Labrador

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The flag of Newfoundland and Labrador was introduced in 1980, and was designed by Newfoundland artist Christopher Pratt. The flag is nicknamed "The Golden Shaft". The flag design, with the proportions 2:1, was approved by the House of Assembly of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, on May 28, 1980. It was flown for the first time on Discovery Day; June 24, 1980.

The design was chosen due to its broad symbolism. The blue colour represents the sea, the white colour represents snow and ice of winter, the red colour represents the effort and struggle of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and the gold colour symbolizes the confidence Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have in themselves and for the future.

The blue triangles are meant as a tribute to the Union Flag, and stand for the British heritage of Newfoundland and Labrador. The two red triangles are meant to represent the two areas of the province — the mainland and the island. The gold arrow, according to Pratt, points towards a "brighter future"; the arrow becomes a sword, honouring the sacrifices of Newfoundlanders in military service when the flag is draped as a vertical banner. The red triangles and the gold arrow form a trident, symbolizing the province's dependence on its fisheries and the resources of the sea.[1]

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Newfoundland Ensigns

The Red Ensign was officially endorsed by King Charles II in 1674. It served as the Colony of Newfoundland's Civil ensign. The standard served as the only official colonial flag until the reign of Queen Victoria. Old oil paintings show red ensigns flying from the topmasts of Grand Banks schooners. While 19th century photographs show red ensigns flown at Moravian mission stations and Hudson's Bay Company trading posts along the Labrador Coast.

In 1904, the British Parliament designated a Civil ensign specifically for Newfoundland. The Red and Blue Ensigns with the Great Seal of Newfoundland in the fly were the dominion's official flags from 1904 until 1931, after which the Union Jack was adopted as Newfoundland's official national flag and the ensigns reserved for shipping and marine identification - the Red Ensign to be flown by merchant shipping while the blue was flown by governmental ships.[2] Neither ensign was immediately formally adopted by the Newfoundland National Assembly, which sat at the Colonial Building in St. John's, when Newfoundland became an independedent Dominion of the British Empire in 1907. It was not until the Newfoundland National Flag Act of 1931 that the Newfoundland parliament officially adopted the Union Jack as the national flag of Newfoundland and re-affirmed the red and blue ensigns as official flags for marine identification. Between 1907 and 1931, however, the red ensign gained wide enough use, both at sea and on land by civilians and government alike, that it was considered to be the national flag.[3]

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