Guyana, a nation in northeastern South America, has experienced a tumultuous history since gaining its independence.
The nation’s current flag, also known as “The Golden Arrow,” is rectangular-shaped and encapsulates four triangles. Two large, green triangles extend from its right border almost to the left edge. The center houses a yellow triangle (The Golden Arrow) trimmed by white coloring. A red triangle extends from the left edge to roughly a third of the way to the right border and is trimmed in black.
The Golden Arrow, which has been Guyana’s official flag since the country became independent of Great Britain in 1966, contains five colors (green, white, gold, black and red) symbolizing resources and values important to Guyana. Green represents the Guyana’s agriculture and forests, white symbolizes the state’s rivers and waters, gold is indicative of the country’s mineral wealth, black represents the endurance of the Guyanese people and red is symbolic of the population’s desire to continue to build a strong and independent nation. This insignia was designed by American-born flag expert Whitney Smith.
The Guyanese flag had three variations which were all vastly different from when the nation was still part of the British Empire. From 1875 to 1906, the emblem consisted of a solid blue backdrop with the Union Jack (the British flag) in the top, left-hand corner with a circle encapsulating an illustration of a sailing ship towards the right-center. During the period of 1906-1955, the Guyanese emblem featured a solid blue background and the Union Jack in the upper left corner with a white disc encasing a depiction of a ship at sea surrounded by a yellow ring. The last installment of Guyana’s colonial insignia offers a depiction of a solid blue background with the Union Jack in the upper left corner and a white disc encapsulating a ship over the inscription of the Latin phrase Damus Petimusque Vicissim, which translates to “We Give And Take In Return.” The phrase was the nation’s motto prior to independence.
Guyana currently also has a variant flag, which is similar to the British Civil Air Flag. The insignia is separated into four quadrants by a solid, dark blue cross with white trim. Three of the four quadrants are light blue and not decorated. The upper left-hand quadrant contains the Guyana flag.