The current national flag of the Marshall Islands was established in 1979 by the Nirijela, or Parliament, of the islands. The design for the flag was created by Emlain Kabua who was the First Lady of the republic at the time of adoption and it was chosen among 50 potential designs.
The color and design of the flag begin with a dark blue background that represents the Pacific Ocean, the ocean in which the islands are located. A large white star with 24 points is located in the upper left corner of the flag and has a few different meanings. The 24 electoral districts of the islands are represented by the points on the star. The star has four longer points pointing north, south, east and west surrounded by 20 shorter points. The four longer points represent the Marshall Islands’ major cultural centers of Majuro, Ebeye, Jaluit and Wotje. They are also a symbol of the Christian cross, a representation of the most prominent religion practiced in the republic.
The flag has two colored bands that begin just above the bottom left corner of the flag and end just below the top right corner. The bands grow larger from left to right and the top band is orange and the bottom band is white. The growth of the band signifies the strength and prosperity of the islands. Orange is the color of courage and wealth and white is a symbol for peace and brightness. The two bands represent the two main chains of islands that make up the Marshall Islands. The white band represents the Ratak, or “Sunrise”, chain to the east while the orange symbolizes the Ralik, or “Sunset”, chain to the west.
The combined bands also represent the equator and the star represents the republic’s position to the north of the line that divides earth’s northern and southern hemispheres. The position of the star in the northwest corner of the Marshall Islands flag in relation to the bands has other meanings as well. The Marshall Islands are located in the central north-west part of the Pacific Ocean and sit just west of the international date line, the imaginary line representing the changing of one calendar day to the next on earth.