The current flag used by the Cayman Islands was adopted on May 14, 1958 following the approval to grant the colony its own coat-of-arms. Prior to 1958, the Cayman Islands always used the Union Flag to represent their own nation, as it was an official colony of the United Kingdom. Today’s flag features a blue background (ensign), described as “British blue”, with the Union Flag in the upper left corner. To the right is the coat-of-arms of the Cayman Islands.
The coat-of arms is representative of the history and culture of the Cayman Islands. The coat-of-arms features a shield, a crested helm, and a motto. On the shield are three green stars which represent the three inhabited islands of the Cayman Islands. Also on the crest are blue and white wavy lines which symbolize the sea. The upper third of the shield has a gold lion symbolizing their ties to the United Kingdom. Above the shield is a turtle that is representative of the Caymans’ seafaring history. The turtle rests on a piece of rope, symbolizing their tradition of thatched-rope industry. Behind the turtle is a pineapple which is to represent the Cayman Islands’ relationship with Jamaica. Until 1962, the Cayman Islands were governed as part of the Colony of Jamaica. The motto below the shield reads, “He hath founded it upon the seas.” This passage is from Psalm 24 Verse 2 and shows the Caymans’ Christian culture as well as acknowledges their connection to the sea.
Between 1958 and 1999, the Cayman Islands flag featured a white disc behind the coat-of-arms. This disc was removed in 1999, and does not appear in the official flag today. In 1999, the coat-of-arms was increased to more than double the original size. Interestingly, the flag with the white disc still is used in official occasions in the Cayman Islands, and the government website for the Cayman Islands still describes their official flag as having the white disc. When the Cayman Islands were represented in both the Summer and Winter Olympics between 2004 and 2014, the team athletes marched under the Cayman Islands flag with the white disc.