Last modified: 2002-11-23 by santiago dotor
Keywords: straits settlements | malaysia | malaya | strait of malacca | blue ensign | lozenge | diamond | pall | crown: imperial |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors
by Mario Fabretto
Flag adopted 1874, discontinued 1942
The Straits Settlement, "a British colony which comprises Singapore, Penang, and Malacca, on the Strait of Malacca, has for a badge a red diamond with three crowns on a three-armed field of white."
Josh Fruhlinger, 20 February 1996
The imperial crowns, which replaced the earlier squarish Victorian crowns in about 1904, were in full colour, mainly gold and red, but also green, blue and shades of grey if you have all the detailing. Early versions of the ensign tended to have the badge in the lower fly, but the correct position is in the centre of the fly, the length of the horizontal axis of the lozenge being five sixteenths of the length of the whole flag.
David Prothero, 6 June 1998
What was the flag of the British colony Straits Settlements between 1867 and 1911? Was the badge with three crow[n]s granted in 1911?
Jaume Ollé, 27 March 2001
To be precise, the flag of Straits Settlements, established 1826, was the Union Flag. The "three crowns on a lozenge" badge that was used on the Union Flag of the Governor when afloat, and the Blue Ensign of government vessels appeared on a printed sheet of colonial badges, produced by the Admiralty, that was being circulated in 1874 (Source: Public Record Office, Kew, CO 323/318). However a drawing in the Colonial Office Record Book shows a Blue Ensign with one gold crown in the lower fly. It is dated 1877 and has the note, "Governor informed that above badge should not have been changed without authorisation and must still be considered the badge of the colony." (Source: Public Record Office, Kew, CO 325/54).
I am not sure but it is likely that each of the three original settlements had its own seal and that there was therefore no obvious badge to represent the whole colony. The Colonial Office seem to have assumed that a crown would be used as the badge until a suitable one had been selected and approved, but that the governor went ahead and devised a badge without approval. The same problem arose in West African Settlements, but in that case the seal of one settlement, was adopted as the badge for the combined settlements.
The badge appeared in an official document in 1874, was modified in 1904 when the Tudor crowns replaced the Victorian style crowns, and discontinued in 1942.
David Prothero, 28 March 2001
The Straits Settlements, the British Crown Colony that existed 1826-1946, included Penang (inc. Province Wellesley), the Dinding Islands (on the Malayan west coast, later returned to Perak), Malacca, Singapore, Labuan Island (off Sabah, now a Malaysian federal territory), Christmas Island, and Cocos/Keeling Islands. Singapore was the capital city of the Straits Settlements.
The Strait of Malacca is actually a waterway which separates Peninsular Malaya from the Island of Sumatra. Also, Malacca was never a colony of Britain in its own rights. When the Straits Settlements were dismantled after the period of BMA (British Military Administration) which was immediately after the Japanese surrendered and returned Malaya and Singapore to the British colonial masters, Singapore became a Colony in its own right and Malacca and Penang were federated together with the remaining 9 Malay states to become the Federation of Malaya (the forerunner of Malaysia).
Thomas Koh, 29 October 1996
The British colonial ensigns section of Flaggenbuch 1939 says, "The Governor of the Straits Settlements is also High Commissioner of the Malay States and Brunei".
Ivan Sache, 15 January 2000
This arrangement came to an end with the Japanese occupation and was not resumed after the Second World War. Straits Settlements was dissolved, Malacca and Penang joined the Malayan Union, Singapore, the Cocos Islands and Christmas Island united to form the colony of Singapore and Labuan joined the colony of North Borneo.
David Prothero, 15 January 2000