The Haitian flag features two horizontal strips of color, with blue on the upper portion and red on the lower portion. In the center, you will find Haiti's coat of arms featured on a small white rectangle. At the center of the coat of arms is a Royal Palm tree, which represents independence, surrounded by weaponry, which represents Haiti’s commitment to defend freedom, on a green hilltop. Across the green hilltop, a white ribbon bears the motto, "Unity is Strength."
It was strength in unity that brought about the only successful slave revolution in human history. The Haitian Revolution began in 1791 and was won in 1804 and not only ended slavery in the colony but also its independence from France. According to history, the first Haitian flag was created on May 18, 1803, when Jean-Jacques Dessalines, a leader of the revolution, took the French flag, ripped out the horizontal white bar at its center and his god-daughter, Catherine Flon, sewed together the remaining horizontal bars of red and blue.
It is said that the blue was to represent Haiti’s newly freed African slaves, while the red was to represent Haiti’s mixed European and African people. On January 1, 1804, when Haiti declared its independence after a long and hard-fought battle for freedom, the red and blue flew high.
In 1806, President Alexander Pétion inserted the coat of arms at its center and the flag as we now know it was adopted. The Haitian flag has gone through many changes over the years, but in 2012 Pétion’s design was reintroduced and it remains the flag of Haiti to this day.
May 18 is proudly celebrated by Haitians worldwide as Haitian Flag Day.
Discover the perfect item to celebrate in our Haitian Pride Collection of apparel, accessories, and more.