The current flag of the Micronesian island country Nauru is a 1:2 ration flag with a deep blue background, a golden yellow stripe splitting across the horizontal middle from end to end and a white, 12-pointed star in the bottom left region. The deep blue color symbolizes the waters of the Pacific Ocean that surround the nation and the skies that cover it; the gold stripe symbolizes the equator, which Nauru is only one degree below on maps and globes and the white star represents the island’s formerly rich reserves of phosphate that allowed its natives to prosper in international trade. Each point of the flag’s star represents one of the 12 original tribes of the land. Beyond its color symbolism, the golden yellow stripe also signifies the creation myth of the first Nauru people. The oral history posits that the first people reached Nauru by a pair of large rocks.
Nauru has had several other flags prior to the one that flies from masts and poles today. While Nauru’s first encounter with foreign countries involved British whalers, Nauru’s first flag was actually the flag of Imperial Germany; black, white and red horizontal lines. After some diplomatic relations between Great Britain and Germany in 1886, Nauru was annexed by the Germans in 1888. The German Empire placed Nauru within its Protectorate of the Marshall Islands and renamed the potato-shaped island as “Nawodo.” Nauru’s time as a German territory lasted until Australia captured it during World War I; four years later in 1919, and in accordance with British and Australian governance, Nauru’s flag became the Union Jack. Nauru remained a part of the British Empire until a trusteeship was brokered between Australia, Great Britain and New Zealand in 1948; this was reflected in the changes to its flag that greatly copied the flags of other Australian provinces, albeit with a red background instead of a naval blue. After two years of self-governance that began in 1966, the modern flag of Nauru came into existence on January 31st, Nauru’s Independence Day. The flag’s designer was an employee of an Australian flag-making company who submitted it for a contest to decide the country’s national flag.