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Mauritius

Maurice / Moris (République de Maurice / Repiblik Morisiê)

Last modified: 2017-09-04 by ian macdonald
Keywords: mauritius | dodo | stella clavisque maris indici |
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Mauritius flag image by Željko Heimer, 13 June 2002


See also:

External links:


About the flag

The Album 2000 [pay00] says:

1. National Flag and Jack. CSW/--- 2:3
Four-striped red over blue over yellow over green.
Željko Heimer, 13 June 2002

Flag adopted upon independence, on 9 January 1968.
Phil Nelson, October 2005

On 12 March 1992 Mauritius became republic, but the independence flag didn’t change.
Jan Zrzavy, 09 October 2002

Symbolism

According to the DK Ultimate Pocket Flags of the World (1997) [rya97], «the flag was designed by the College of Arms in Britain prior to independence and is a simple statement of the colors found in the coat of arms». The same page (110) has also a more bombastic symbolism:

  • Red reflects independence
  • Blue for the color of the Indian Ocean
  • Yellow symbolizes a bright future
  • Green represents the lush vegetation of the island.
The symbolism was invented after independence, so should be taken with some grains of salt of the Indian Ocean…
Jarig Bakker, 08 March 2004

The flag was actually registered at the College of Arms on 9 January 1968, it was granted by Royal Warrant and the flag first officially hoisted on 12 March 1968 (the day of independence). However, whatever the College’s original intention the significance of the colours are now officially given (although rewritten by myself) as: The red stripe represents the struggle for freedom and independence, while blue stands for the Indian Ocean. The yellow stripe symbolizes the new light of independence, and the green represents agriculture together with the yearlong colour of a lush country. (I unfortunately cannot find the original wording.
Christopher Southworth, 08 March 2004

This could easily be interpreted as only minor variants (through political expediency, perhaps) of the four quarters of the arms. The red key could be seen as equating to self-determination, as could the golden settlers’ ships to the search for a new future. The star over the waters would easily equate to the ocean, as would the sugar canes to the vegetation.
James Dignan, 08 March 2004

Color shades

Regardless of accurate matching, is the red shade supposed to be identical to that on the Union Jack, i.e., a “dark” shade?
António Martins, 18 September 2008

All the sources I consulted (e.g. [pay00], [smi82], [vdv00]) have these colours in “normal” shades. This particularly goes for the blue, and to less degree (or maybe less obvious) for the red. The shades are not particularly important when looking at the national flag only — but when it comes to ensigns, the questions arise — since these are based on British model, one would expect the shades to be the same as for the Union Jack.

For the red I have not noticed anything special — it seems that all these sources have the same red thoughout and I would tend to present it as normal R (), but for the “sameness” with the “Post Office Red”, R+ ().

The blue is not that simple, here is how blue used in different flags would be coded like this:

[pay00] [smi82] [vdv00]
National Flag B B B
CG Ensign B B+++
Civil Ensign B B (*) B
State Ensign B B+++

* [smi82] shows civil ensign with blue somewhat lighter then normal, but that may be just a printing effect (I think)

So, either the national flag in the state ensign is indeed different from other variations (as Smith has it), or the blue ensign is not that dark as in British case.
Željko Heimer, 13 June 2002

Dark red ( R+) and very (very) dark blue ( B+++), are based on [pay00] and suggested by British post colonial “atavism”.
António Martins, 17 October 2011

These two photos show that the shades of the Mauritius’ flag are regular red and yellow, not dark.
António Martins, 28 April 2010

Standard color shades

Pantone codes are shown in the Album des Pavillons Nationaux et des Marques Distinctives [gcc07]: Red: 186c; Blue: 294c; Yellow: 123c; Green: 364c.
Bruce Berry, 17 September 2008

Most CMYK/PMS values in [pay00] are suggested, not official, based in actual cloth matching. Although they’re probably very accurate concerning real-life use of flag colors, it is necessary to check the source for each set of flag color values.
António Martins, 18 September 2008

The Mauritian Standards Bureau is developing a standard for National flag and the flag code. Regarding the colour code for the flag, the BSC codes have been established since a long time and are as follows:
Colour BSC
Red0.005
Blue7.806
Yellow0.001
Green0.010
Once the standard on National flag and the flag code of Mauritius will be gazeted approved by the Mauritian Government they will probably be referred on the legislation; the subcommittee working on this project have recommended the inclusion the new colour code (Pantone).
M Bheecarry (from the Mauritius Standards Bureau), 17 September 2008

I suppose that this is a standard setting move, with no significant change on the flag intended.
António Martins, 18 September 2008

Last week I was in Mauritius and attended a meeting of the Mauritius Standards Bureau where they were discussing the flag specifications of the Mauritian flag. The MSB is updating the flag standard to include pantone shades rather than the old British Standard Colour Codes which they had been using previously.

The new pantone equivalents are included in the draft National Flag Standard. There was considerable debate around the shade of red to be adopted as it had been suggested, by a South African flag manufacturer, that Warm Red be used but the Committee finally decided on pantone 1788c instead. The draft now goes for approval and sign-off by the appropriate Minister, following which it will become the new official standard.

Bruce Berry, 16 March 2010

The Mauritian Standards Bureau has issued the following new pantones for the Mauritian national flag:
Colour PMS
Red1788c
Blue2756c
Yellow 012c
Green7482c
Bruce Berry, 13 October 2011

The new official yellow, PMS 012c, seems to be closer to FotW “dark” yellow ( Y+) than to plain yellow ( Y), while the new official green, PMS 7482c, is quite light and bluer than any of our standard shades: a possible equivalent would be RGB: 0-153-102 ().
António Martins, 17 October 2011


National Flag Law

Mauritius adopted a National Flag Law. This happened by Act No. 26 of 2015, which came into force 15 April 2016.

In article 4 the flag is described as follows:

4. National flag of Mauritius
(1) The national flag of Mauritius shall
(a) consist of 4 horizontal stripes of equal width;
(b) be as set out in Part I of the Schedule;
(c) bear the national colours red, blue, yellow and green in that order starting from the top and having the symbolic meaning set out in Part II of the Schedule;
(d) be in the proportion of 3 horizontally to 2 vertically.
(2) The national flag shall be the symbol of the Government and the people of Mauritius.
(3) The national flag shall be for general use in Mauritius and, where appropriate, for international purposes.

Schedule 1 holds an illustration of the colours and dimensions of the stripes and flag, with the following text:

First Schedule
[Section 4]
Part I National Flag
[Colour image of the flag including the proportions]

Part II Symbolic Meaning of the National Colours
1. Red represents the struggle for freedom and independence.
2. Blue represents the Indian Ocean in the middle of which Mauritius is situated.
3. Yellow represents the new light of independence.
4. Green represents the agriculture of Mauritius and its colour throughout the 12 months of the year.

The whole law was published in the Legal Supplement to the Government Gazette of Mauritius, No. 111 of 7 November 2015.
Jos Poels, 8 August 2017

The law can be seen at http://mauritiusassembly.govmu.org/English/acts/Documents/2015/act2615.pdf.
Zachary Harden, 13 August 2017


Air Force markings

Fuselage Marking

Mauritius fin flash image by Željko Heimer, 13 June 2002

Roundel of the national colours. [pay00]
Željko Heimer, 13 June 2002

Mauritius Coast Guard operated three planes and use the roundel as above.
Dov Gutterman, 20 June 2004

Fin flash

Mauritius fin flash image by Vincent Morley and Dov Gutterman, 10 February 2000

Mauritius’ planes carries a 1:1 version of the national flag.
Dov Gutterman, 10 February 2000

Mauritius Coast Guard operated three planes and use the national flag as fin flash. The book [cos98] shows the fin flash in square form, but a photo on line shows a regular flag.
Dov Gutterman, 20 June 2004

The national flag is painted on the fin, says Album 2000 [pay00]
Željko Heimer, 13 June 2002


Coat of Arms

CoA of Mauritius image by Željko Heimer, 13 June 2002

The coat of arms of Mauritius is described as follows in Dorling-Kindersley Pocket-Book [rya97]:

The coat of arms was granted on 25 August 1906, and depicts various attributes of the island. In the lower right quarter is a key and on the left-hand side is a white star, which are referred to in the Latin motto "Stella Clavisque Maris Indici" ("The Star and the Key of the Indian Ocean"). The supporters are a dodo and a deer each holding a sugar cane, the island’s staple crop.
The caption of the image in the same source gives additional details:
  • the dodo has been extinct since the 18th century
  • in the first quarter, a ship us symbolizing colonization
  • in the second quarter, palm trees represent the country’s tropical vegetation.
Smith (1976) [smi76] says that the deer is a sambur deer, imported from Java in 1639 and that the dodo became extinct in the 16th century.
Ivan Sache, 15 June 2002

The motto on the scroll reads "STELLA CLAVISQUE MARIS INDICI" ("Star and key of the Indian sea").
Vincent Morley, 03 March 1997

In some sources the star is shown voided. According to Album 2000 [pay00] this is wrong.
Željko Heimer, 13 June 2002


Ethnical flags?

The existence of a Mauritian Telugu flag may imply the existence of flags for other Mauritian minorities, of which there are plenty…
António Martins, 07 November 2007

Mauritian Telugu flag

See also:

I just found a (to me) intriguing comment on a Telugu website, where it says that Mauritius «is the only country where Telugus have a distinct National Telugu flag which symbolizes Telugu culture and Mauritian nationalism with the famous Om karam in Telugu.»
Lê Thanh-Tâm, 16 March 2007

This would be something like "ఓమ్" (long vowel "o", letter "ma", and virama), which is not particularly flaggish, I should say. Unicode has specific precomposed characters for the "om" syllable (Devanagari "ॐ", Tibetan "ༀ", Gujarati "ૐ", Tamil "ௐ", plus the unrelated Bopomofo "ㆱ" and Korean "옴"), but no specific precomposed character for Telugu "om": Perhaps this is about the well known Devanagari "om" sign, regardless of the fact that Telugus use a different script in normal affairs, just like the "chi-rho" monogram become popular among non-Greek Christians?
António Martins, 07 November 2007


Wind signal flags

A coworker just returned from Port-Louis reported no beach flags for bathers’ safety but yes a “traffic light” flag system for wind conditions.
António Martins, 10 October 2007