The flag of the Commonwealth of Dominica is a multi-colored ensign featuring a sisserou parrot centered on a red circle surrounded by ten, green, five-point stars positioned at various angles. That image is layered atop a three-strand cross of yellow, black and white, and all of that is placed on a green background. The parrot can be colored either blue or purple, making the Dominica the only country in the world to incorporate the color purple into their national flag.
The Commonwealth of Dominica, not to be confused with the Dominican Republic, is a small island country located in the Lesser Antilles region of the Caribbean Sea. The flag for this small nation was designed by playwright Alwin Bully. The design was created in early 1978 while the country was preparing to become a nation independent from the United Kingdom. It was formally adopted as the national emblem on November 3, 1978. In 1981 the order of the stripes was changed from yellow, white, and black to yellow, black and white in order to accommodate the rules of The College of Arms. Similarly, the stars were outlined in yellow in order to comply with the color requirements of the institution tasked with overseeing heraldry in Britain. In 1990 the most recent change was made, which included the use of a slightly different image of the sisserou parrot and the standardization of the parrot always facing the flagpole.
The ensign’s features are strongly symbolic, with each color and component reflecting something significant in the nation’s culture. The sisserou parrot, also the national bird, is native to the country of Dominica and is an endangered species with a population of only 250-350 remaining birds. The green background is representative of the heavily forested vegetation in country, while the three strand cross represents the nation’s Christianity and the holy Trinity. The colors of each strand are also symbolic. The yellow denotes the sunshine, the Carib people and the nation’s primary agricultural products: citrus and bananas. The white stripe represents the clean rivers and waterfalls of the country as well as the purity of the aspirations of the island’s inhabitants. The black stripe reflects the rich soil and the African heritage of the people. Each of the stars stand for one of the country’s ten parishes, layered atop a red disc representing social justice.