British Honduras Colonial Flag

Famous Dr. John in Utila
Famous Dr. John at his porch in Casa Dr. John

I recently wrote a post regarding the Bay Islands Colonial Flag. My friend, Dr. John from Utila brought to my attention that the flag had elements that are also found in the flag of the colonial flag of British Honduras. Thus, I have been doing some research and here is what I have found.


Bay Islands Flag
The Bay Island Flag is proundly displayed at the Buccaneer Restaurant and Bar in Utila

The Bay Islands became a British Colony around 1852. This even though the UK and the US had signed the Clayton Bulwer Treaty in Washington in 1850 in which the UK committed to stop colonizing efforts in Central America. It seems like there was a miscommunication between Colonial Office and the Foreign Office in the UK. The latter had signed a treaty with the US. Yet the former allowed the creation of the new Colony of the Bay Islands following the request from the Brits that settled in the Bay Islands.


A flurry of diplomatic messages went and came across the Atlantic, and by 1859, the UK relented to keeping the Islands and agreed to cede the Miskito Coast Protectorate. For the effect, the UK signed the Treaty of Comayagua. This treaty was took place in Comayagua, the colonial and early republican capital of Honduras. The result was the ceding the colony of the Bay Islands to Honduras. Likewise, the treaty of Managua provided the legal instrument to cede the Miskito Coast Protectorate to Nicaragua.

The Miskito Coast Protectorate Flag
The Miskito Coast Protectorate Flag

In exchange, the United States agreed to recognize the British claims to British Honduras. The treaty of Versailles, between Spain and England allowed the Brits to exploit the hardwoods in British Honduras. However, the Spaniards did not cede the territory in any way or form to the Brits. In effect, the Brits lost the Bay Islands and the Miskito Coast Protectorate, but took possession of British Honduras, which today is the country of Belize. As such, the Colony of British Honduras did not officially exist until 1862.

The Spaniards did not oppose the colonization, because they had already lost their Colony of New Spain. This colony included Mexico and Central America, except for Panama. By then, Belize was part of the independent country of Guatemala. Thus, this was a great deal for Nicaragua and Honduras, but a lousy one for Guatemala!

British Honduras Colonial flag

But let’s bet back to the Colonial Flag of British Honduras. As all British Colonial Flags, it includes the British Union Jack. In this case, it has the Union Jack within a small rectangle within the top inside end of the flag. The main body of the flag is a deep blue, based on the colors of the Union Jack. It has a seal on the center of the flag that is the same as the one that appears on the Bay Islands Flag. Thus, although the circular seal with the Union Jack, the schooner and the wood cutting tools are the same, the flags are not.


From what I have found, there is not a definite date for when the Bay Islands Flag was authorized. It appears that the Colonial British Honduras flag was official by 1870. This would be a few years after the Colony was officially came to be.