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British Nigeria

Last modified: 2001-07-14 by jonathan dixon
Keywords: nigeria | united kingdom | british colony | seal of solomon | six-pointed star | elephant | initials |
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Blue Ensign

[British Nigerian Blue Ensign] by Blas Delgado Ortiz

Description and Usage of the badge

"The badge of this protectorate has a red field, upon which are imposed two interlocked triangles in the form of a six-pointed star. In the center is the crown of the British Empire."
"The union jack is the national flag of the colonies as well as of the mother countries and, although it is a rule observed more in the breach than in its observance, no other flag is to be displayed ashore. According to British flag law, the union jack, in its plain condition and withoutemblazonment or badge, is the only flag an individual or corporation in British realms may properly fly. However, since the shipping of theprincipal colonies is accustomed to fly the red ensign with the badge of the colony represented in the fly, this flag is frequently, if not indeed usually, displayed by the people of the several colonies as their particular flag. Vessels bearing colonial governors or other adminstrative officials of badge-possessing rank fly the union jack with a badge of the colony placed within a wreath at the intersection of the crosses. Vessels of the colonial public service display the blue ensign with the badge of the colony from which it hails in the fly."
from National Geographics Oct.1917
Josh Fruhlinger 13 February 1996

I came across an explanation in one of the 1949 editions of a magazine called Nigeria,which had an extract from a letter written inApril 1940 by Lord Lugard.
"The design of the interlaced triangles is I think commonly called Solomon's Seal. I do notknow if and when it was adopted as the sealof Islam but it was found on the lid of a very handsome goblet or jug of brass and copper covered with designs, which was captured bythe troops when the Emir of Kontagora, the principle slave-raider in Northern Nigeria was defeated. I thought it an appropriate badge for Northern Nigeria and as far as I can remember it was my own suggestion.On amalgamation of North and South it was adopted as the emblem of united Nigeria."
D.Prothero, 23 March 1998

Recently I received a great drawing of the badges of North and South Nigeria.
In the center is a red shield with green "Solomon's seal" (flanked by lion and Unicorn and below a helmet and feathers). The author says that is the same badge (only minor differences; in South Nigeria the disk is green and in North Nigeria it is red; the inscription is "Southern Nigeria" or "Northern Nigeria").
The central part of the badges in "Badges of the British Commonwealth" and in photocopy of Flaggenbuch is unreadable. Then, you know if the badge with shield with Salomon's seal was really used for North Nigeria and also for South Nigeria.
Jaume Ollé, 30 March 1998

I think that the Solomon's Seal badge was not used on any flag until 1914 when the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria was formed.It was used in Northern Nigeria before this but not on flags.
There is a good illustration of the Northern/Southern flag badges in the Admiralty Flag Book of 1907 and as an amendment in the 1889 edition.
I will check them next time I have the opportunity. As far as I remember the central part of the badge is the same as illustrations 84A and 85A in Rudi's book; an oval Royal Arms with lion and unicorn supporters, a crown above the oval shield and a scroll below it.
D.Prothero, 30 March 1998

Lagos, 1886-1906

[Lagos, 1886-1906] by Victor Lomantsov

Apart from Gambia, Gold Coast and Sierra Leone, this badge was also used with L in red for Lagos from 1886 to 1906
David Prothero

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