Hawaii Fact 10 of 50: Hawaii’s State Flag


Hawaii’s state flag has eight horizontal stripes and the image of Britain’s Union Jack in the upper left corner. The stripes symbolize the eight major island of Hawaii — that’s a fact. But, what does the Union Jack portion represent? I haven’t found or heard a definitive answer. The one theory that I prefer to believe, is that the Union Jack represents Hawaii’s history and friendship with the United Kingdom. Have you heard any other theories?

Here’s a couple of links for a bit more information: Wikipedia and FlagSpot.

  1. The Hawaii state flag and I go way back (or about 3 years). I really wanted to bring one home during our first trip to Maui. Not just the tiny ones, but the full sized ones you’d display on your front porch.

    Anyway, we spent a good amount of time walking around Front Street and thought for sure we’d find one somewhere in all of that shopping goodness. Alas, I came up empty. I then asked at the reception desk at the resort, and she gave me a look like I was crazy. 🙂

    In the end, we just happened to drive passed an Ace Hardware store in Lahaina, and managed to find one there. Ever since then, it’s been hanging up on my wall in my office at home, and is a daily reminder of islands (as if I don’t have enough already).

  2. @ David – that link still doesn’t list the reason I heard from a very knowledgeable tour guide from a family with a long history in Hawaii.

    @ Kris – that’s an interesting observation that Hawaii flags aren’t in souvenir shops. I can picture you in your office proudly displaying the Hawaii flag. If there’s ever any doubt of your affinity for the Aloha State, you just need to pull out a photo of your office. 🙂

  3. Sheila not sure if you read this article below, but along with the upper left corner being Britain’s Union Jack, which represents the relationship between Hawaii and Great Britain as it’s protectorate, it also “represents a stylized puela (a triangular standard laying across two crossed spears called an alia) which is the symbol of the Hawaiian ali’i.”


    Stylized Puela you can see in the center of the coat of arms which is pictured here http://urltea.me/00c Just envision the X in the British Union Jack as the two crossed spears (alia) and the upper part of the X with the vertical portion of the cross as the actual puela (royal feather standard).

    BTW love the 50 fact of Hawaii leading up to the 50’s big 50. Nicely done!

  4. Hey Vernon,
    I’ll take a look at those links. Mahalo for your comment and for the kind feedback on the series!

  5. The relationship been England and Hawaiʻi dates back to the days of King Kahmehameha and Captain Vancouver. Between 1789 and 1816, Hawaiʻi was a British protectorate and flew the Union Jack as its National Flag. The current Hawaiʻi flag, above, still includes the Union Jack, as do the flags of Anguilla, Australia, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Caymans, the Falklands, Fiji, Gibraltar, Montserrat, New Zealand, the Pitcairn Islands, Tuvalu, and others.

    A little more info…

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