The national flag of Barbados is comprised of three vertical equal bands(panels). The center band is gold and the two outer bands are ultramarine. Ultramarine is a deep blue color pigment, which in Latin, literally means: “beyond the sea”. A black trident head (commonly called the broken trident) is located in the center of the flag on the gold band.
The two bands of ultramarine are said to stand for the ocean surrounding the country and the sky over Barbados, and the gold band represents the sandy beaches on the island. The broken trident with the staff missing is significant. The trident symbol represents the Trident of the mythical sea god, Neptune (Roman) or Poseidon (Greek), and the shaft of the trident being broken symbolizes Barbados’ break with its historical and constitutional ties as a former colony of Britain. The three points of the trident represent the three principles of democracy: 1) government of the people, 2) government for the people, and 3) government by the people.
The national flag of Barbados was officially adopted on November 30, 1966, the island’s first Independence Day, and was also raised on this day for the first time by Lieutenant Hartley Dottin of the Barbados Regiment.
The design of the flag was created by Grantley W. Prescod, an art teacher and native Barbadian, and was chosen from an open competition arranged by the Barbados government. Over a thousand entries were received.
The Barbados flag is a rare example of a canting national flag, that is, it makes a heraldic pun. In heraldry a trident is called a barbe, and as such is a punning symbol for Barbados.