The colour theory behind Jamaica's National Flag 🇯🇲

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I love colours, colour theory and Jamaica, so in honour of National Heroes Day, I wanted to take a look at our flag’s colours and explain the meaning behind each.

The Jamaican flag is undoubtedly in the top 5 most recognisable flags in the world following closely behind international powerhouses like the USA, Japan, China and England.

We have a saying here in Jamaica that goes ‘wi likkle, but we tallawah’ which translates to ‘we’re small, but our impact can be felt all around the world’. Our small island has certainly made a lasting impact on the world through its athletics, music, food, dance and other aspects of our culture.

Jamaican Flag Colours

A common misconception many foreigners have is that the Rastafarian colours of red, yellow and green are Jamaican flag’s colours, but that is false. The correct colours are black, green and gold, which can be seen below.

Jamaican flag colour theory: black
The Jamaican flag is not the same as the Ethiopian flag during Selassie's reign. Source:

Okay, now that we've cleared that up, let's take a look at the colours on the Jamaican flag and understand their meanings.


Jamaican flag colour theory: black
Black represents our skin colour and the strength of the people

Black is the colour of our skin; it represents the strength of the Jamaican people who overcame the struggles of slavery and fought for their freedom. The colour also represents our hardworking nature, and the ability to strive for excellence regardless of the challenges we face.


Jamaican flag colour theory: green
Photo by Yves Alarie on Unsplash

Green represents the vegetation of the island including trees, forests, the Cockpit Country, and the shrubbery found on our island. Additionally, green symbolises how close we are to nature as many Jamaicans engage in farming and animal rearing.


Jamaican flag colour theory: gold
Gold represents sunshine and the wealth of our nation

Yellow or gold depending on whom you ask symbolises the sunshine that bathes our island. The gold also represents the monetary and cultural wealth of our nation.


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