Travel Tobago – European Flags in Tobago



The fabled island of Tobago has a history of many flags, national and piratical. British seamen had reached the island as early as 1580. Not until 1591 was it explored by the Spaniards. The Dutch were much in evidence in the early 1620s and by 1629 the Spanish Governor of Trinidad and Guayana informed the Council of the Indies in Madrid that the Dutch were in complete control.Jan De Moor of Flushing established his first settlement, under Maersz, at New Walcheren (now Plymouth) in 1628. It was strengthened in 1632 by 200 Zeelanders only to be wiped out in 1636 by the Spanish Governor Escobar.
The Flag of Courland, a cray-fish on a scarlet field, was hoisted in the early 1640’s but had a chequered career, for it was displaced at intervals by flags of other interested powers.

The 1600’s saw the waving of many flags in this island. The ups and downs of Tobago during this are chronicled in the exploits of those English, Dutch and French adventurers and soldiers whose names are inseprabaly mentioned with this island: Leverton (1637), Marsham (1639) Poyntz(1666, through many years), Sir Tobias Bridges (1672); the other Dutchmen – Cornelis and Adrien Lampsins(1654-1662)
Cornelis Lampsins was created “Baron of Tobago by Louis XIV in 1662. The original warrant conferring this title on him is held in the Zeeland archives
Peter Constatnt (1677), Admiral Blinkes (1677); and the Frenchman Comte d’Estrees (1677)

For the next two centuries, Tobago’s history is a struggle between the English and the French , the Dutch having quit the stage. In 1763 Tobago was ceded to Britain by the Treaty Of Paris.
In 1781 the French captured the island and kept it until 1793 when it was taken back by the British. The Peace of Amiens restored the territory to France in 1802. The next year however war broke out again and Britain permanently wrested Tobago from the French.

The Motto , Seals and Flag badge of Tobago

Pulchrior evenitThe motto of Tobago before 1889 when this island was administered as a separate Colonial unit distinMediact from Trinidad is engraved on the Great Seal of that island and appears on documents in Archives dating back to the year 1815. However, in the London Mint there appears to be an earlier version although it belongs to the same period – the reign of George the Third. It shows on one side a coconut tree on the left; hill, buildings and palm trees in the background. The top half portrays the face of the sun; the exergue contains the motto: Pulchrior eveni; and around the circumference the words – sigil.ins Tobag recuperatae Fig 1The first badge. known since 1815, was used in the flag from 1877 to 1880.

The device which was used as the colony’s old Flag badge is a ship at anchor in a harbor, with the rising sun and a coconut tree on some land in the foreground. The exergue encloses the inscription: Pulchrior evenit

1877 Flag
1880 Flag
1880 Flag
1889 Flag

Colonial Badges

Tobago was administered as part of the Windward Islands from 1833 until 1889 when it was annexed to Trinidad.Here are two versions of the flag badge approved in 1870 which was a circular “local scene” taken from the Seal of the colony.

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Source: Travel Tobago – European Flags in Tobago

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