The flag of Antigua and Barbuda was adopted on February 27, 1967 when Antigua became independent of the British-governed West Indies. The flag features two red isosceles triangles that form a “V” shape. In the center of the V is a white triangle underneath a blue stripe. Above the blue stripe is a layer of black with a rising sun in the center of the layer.
To develop a design for the flag, the Antiguan government held a competition in 1966, offering five hundred dollars and the national flag design to the winner. Reginald Samuel, a high school art teacher, sculptor, and painter living in Antigua, won the competition for the flag design, and his drawing was chosen from over six hundred entries. According to the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda, Samuel designed the flag in only a half an hour, meeting the deadline at the very last moment. In 1966, the Antiguan government displayed Samuel’s design for the flag, along with the Antiguan national anthem, coat of arms, and slogan outside the country’s administration building. This original exhibit is still viewable at the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda.
The design of the flag has great symbolic meaning. The rising sun represents the dawn of a new era, one in which the islands of Antigua and Barbuda are free and independent. The red represents the energy of the people of Antigua and Barbuda and also the blood shed by the country’s forefathers. The “V” shape formed by the red sections also represents “Victory at last.” The gold sun, the black stripe at the top of the flag, the blue in the middle, and the white at the bottom represent the sun, soil, ocean, and sand, respectively. In more symbolic terms, the blue symbolizes hope and the black symbolizes the African heritage of the country’s citizens.
Until 1994, the sun on the flag of Antigua and Barbuda would often have up to twenty full points, as Reginald Samuel did not specify how many points the sun should have. Antigua consists of six parishes and a “sister” island, Barbuda; and as of 1994, the rising sun was required to contain seven full points, one for each of the parishes and one for Barbuda.