S’pore had 7 other flags in last 200 years since modern founding in 1819
The crescent moon symbolises a young country.
National Day is here and Singapore’s national flag is everywhere.
For the uninitiated, the current iteration of the Singapore flag is more than 54 years old.
Singapore’s national flag made its debut on Dec. 3, 1959.
That was when our first Malaya-born Yang di-Pertuan Negara, Malay for “Head of State”, Yusof Ishak, was inaugurated.
Before that, Singapore was represented by several different flags throughout our island’s short history since its modern founding in 1819.
Here’s how they stacked up:
1. Flag of the British East India Company: 1819 – 1826
The British East India Company (EIC) was the quasi-government company that was formed to pursue trade opportunities in the East Indies (South and Southeast Asia).
When Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles landed in Malaya, he set up a trading post under the auspices of the EIC.
2. Flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain (Union Flag): 1819 – 1826
At the same time, the Union Flag was also flown during that time as a sign of British conquest.
3. Flag of the Straits Settlements: 1826 – 1942, 1945 – 1946
The Straits Settlements refer to the group of British territories in Southeast Asia — originally Singapore, Malacca, Penang — so named because they are located along the Straits of Malacca.
These three territories were united into one administrative unit in 1826, with the capital situated in Penang, due to rising administrative costs.
The capital was then moved to Singapore in 1832, when it became more prominent as a commercial trading port.
Labuan, Cocos-Keeling, and Christmas Islands joined the Straits Settlement after.
The Straits Settlements were controlled by the British EIC until 1867.
Subsequently, they became a Crown Colony controlled by Britain directly.
4. Flag of Japan: 1942 – 1945
World War II and the Japanese Occupation saw the flag of Japan flown over Singapore from 1942 to 1945.
In order to orientate Singapore towards Japan, Singapore’s time was also moved ahead by one hour and 30 minutes to match Japan’s.
5. Flag of the Japanese Imperial Army: 1942 – 1945
The Japanese Imperial Army adopted the Rising Sun Flag since 1870 until 1945, which saw the end of World War II, as well as the Japanese Occupation.
6. Flag of Colony of Singapore: 1946 – 1959
Some time after the Japanese Occupation, the Straits Settlements was dissolved as Penang and Malacca joined the Malayan Union.
Singapore, together with the Cocos-Keeling and Christmas Islands, went back to being a Crown Colony.
Labuan joined the North Borneo Crown Colony.
7. Flag of Federation of Malaysia: 1963 – 1965
Singapore hoisted the Malaysian flag briefly when she merged with the Federation of Malaysia, to become one of the 14 states on Sept. 16, 1963.
Unfortunately, the merger did not last long.
Singapore left to become fully independent on Aug. 9, 1965.
8. Flag of Singapore: 1959 – Present
The Singapore flag was adopted in 1959 when Singapore attained self-governance, and kept the flag through independence in 1965.
The purpose of the flag was to give us, the people, a sense of identity as well as provide a visual symbol of early Singaporeans’ hopes and ideals.
These were expressed in the form of the red and white colours — symbolising universal brotherhood and everlasting purity respectively.
The crescent moon is to symbolise a young nation, and five stars symbolise democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality.
All images via flagmakers.co.uk and Wikipedia