Brunei Darussalam, “Brunei, Abode of Peace,” is a small nation in Southeast Asia. Commonly known as simply Brunei, it shares an island with Borneo in the waters between Australia and the Asian continent.
The flag of Brunei has seen few changes since 1906. Before that year it was a solid yellow banner, and it has evolved in small ways since then to take the form it bears today.
In 1906 the sultanate of Brunei entered into an agreement with Great Britain and became a British protectorate. At this time, two stripes were added to the bright yellow flag. These stripes have persisted to the current design. The stripes course diagonally across the flag from the upper left to the lower right. The top stripe is white and the bottom stripe is black. The white stripe is slightly broader than the black.
The yellow color of the flag of Brunei symbolizes royalty. The white stripe represents the first minister of the country while the black stripe represents the second minister. The stripes may have been added in honor of the ministers that signed the agreement with Great Britain, or they may be a general homage to the work of all the nation’s ministers through the years.
In September of 1959, a new constitution went into effect in Brunei. This prompted the addition of the nation’s crest to the flag. The crest of Brunei is red with yellow text, and it is rich with symbolism. It occupies a position in the center of the flag.
At the base of the crest is a crescent, symbolizing Islam, with its points curving upward. Rising tall from the center of the crescent is the royal parasol, representing the sultanate. Flying from the tip of the parasol is a small red flag.
Below the parasol, stretching across the points of the crescent, are two wings with four feathers each. The feathers stand for peace and tranquility, justice and prosperity. On each side of the crest is a hand, shown in profile with the palm open to the sky. This pair of hands symbolizes the benevolence of the government toward its people.
The body of the crescent is inscribed with the nation’s motto: “Always render service with God’s guidance.” Directly below the crescent is a scroll with the full name of the country: Brunei Darussalam.
In 1984, Brunei became fully independent and chose to keep its flag unchanged as its national symbol.