Did you know that there was a Bay Islands flag? If you answer is no, do not worry, I did not know either! This week I was in Utila and stopped by the Buccaneer bar and grill for lunch before taking the Utila Dream ferry back to La Ceiba. This is one of my favorite restaurants in Utila. It is also one of the few that accept credit cards on the Island! They have a great burger that you simply cannot go wrong with.
As I walked into the premises, I noticed several changes. The outdoor deck now blends in with the large interior room in the back. The bar has been pushed back and is between both spaces. The result is a much more inviting area in the back. It is also a lot cooler inside, as in the past there was poor circulation inside. There were several new items in the décor, and one stuck out. A Union Jack flag with a weird coat of arms in the middle of it.
The Colonial Bay Islands Flag on Display!
Curiosity got the best of me. So, when Patrick Flynn, the owner walked into the restaurant, I just had to ask. As it turns out, he proudly explained that it had taken him years to get this flag. It is the original design of the Bay Islands of Honduras flag that dates to when the islands belonged to the United Kingdom. As you probably know, the Union Jack is the United Kingdoms flag. It is the result of incorporating the flags of England, Scotland and Ireland. As the United Kingdom added colonies around the world, most of these had flags using the same elements as the Union Jack.
The Caribbean Islands were no exception, and to this day, you can see many flags that follow that pattern. The Cayman Island Flag is a perfect example. But let’s get back to the Bay Islands of Honduras flag. As most of you know, The United Kingdom gave sovereignty of the Bay Islands to Honduras back in 1860. The instrument for such cession of rights was the Treaty of Comayagua. This treaty was came into effect in Comayagua, then the capital of Honduras in 1860. At around the same time, the United Kingdom ceded the Miskito Coast Protectorate on the Caribbean coast to Nicaragua. The instrument for that was the Treaty of Managua.
The took place made under pressure from the United States. They had plans to build a Transoceanic Canal through Central America in Nicaragua. The Civil War in the United States put and end to that dream for many years. Eventually, Panama became the site for the Canal. In exchange for this move, the United States agreed to recognize the British claim British Honduras, today Belize. Thus, Honduras and Nicaragua came ahead with this deal, and Guatemala lost most of its Caribbean coast. Geopolitics in full play here!
But getting back to the Bay Islands of Honduras Flag, they have been flying the Honduras flag since 1860. Prior to that, the Bay Islands were British Colony. As such, they had their own flag, which was the Union Jack with a seal in the center of it depicting a Union Jack flag, a schooner and some tools to take advantage of the hardwoods that existed on the Islands. Although this flag was replaced by the Honduras Flag, it forms part of the history of the Bay Islands. I am sure that many an islander wishes that this were their flag today.