Saint Vincent was originally named “Hairouna” by the Carib Indians. They prevented European settlement on the island until the 18th century. Beginning in 1719, French settlers gained control and began cultivating coffee, tobacco, indigo, cotton, and sugar on plantations. In 1763, France ceded St. Vincent to Britain. However, it re-invaded the island in 1779. The British then finally regained St. Vincent under the Treaties of Versailles (1783).

From 1763 until its independence in 1979, St. Vincent passed through various stages of colonial status under the British. A representative assembly was authorised in 1776, Crown Colony government was installed in 1877, a legislative council was created in 1925, and universal adult suffrage was granted in 1951.

During the period of its control of St. Vincent, the British made several unsuccessful attempts to affiliate the island with other Windward Islands. In the 1960s, several regional islands under British control, including St. Vincent, also made an independent attempt to unify. The unification was to be called the West Indies Federation but the attempt collapsed in 1962.

St. Vincent was granted “associate statehood” status by Britain on October 27, 1969. This gave St. Vincent complete control over its internal affairs but was short of full independence. On October 27, 1979, St. Vincent and the Grenadines became the last of the Windward Islands to gain independence.




Five shillings stamp, 1871-1881


The emblem of St. Vincent is known from 1871, the year the Federal Colony of the Windward Islands was founded but it may be older. It consists of two ladies symbolizing Peace and Justice making an offer on the altar of brotherhood. The ladies are dressed in classical peplos,  Peace bearing an olive branch and Justice, kneeled, a plate. On the altar are clasped hands, the symbol of brotherhood.

The emblem first appeared on the seal together with a listel with the motto PAX ET JUSTITIA in chief, crowned with the Imperial State Crown.



In the last quarter of the 19th century the emblem appeared as a badge on the blue ensign.


An achievement with a coat of arms showing the scene of the emblem was granted by Royal Warrant of  29 November 1912 [1].

The achievement shows:


Arms: Peace and Justice offering on the altar of brotherhood, proper.

Crest: A sprig of the cotton plant, leaved and slipped proper.

Motto: PAX ET JUSTITIA (Peace and Justice).


ð See ilustration in the head of this essay. [2]


A larger or augmented version of the achievement shows a leaf of the breadfruit (Altocarpus altilis - Moraceae) charged with the achievement of 1912. [3]

The breadfruit is a main trade-crop of St. Vincent.




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© Hubert de Vries 2010-02-24


[1] ) Fox Davies, A.C.: The Book of Public Arms. London 1915

[2] ) Picture from: Herzog, Hans-Ulrich, & Georg Hannes: Lexicon Flaggen und Wappen. VEB Bibliographisches Institut Leipzig, 1990.

[3] ) Picture from: Herzog, Hans-Ulrich & Fritz Wolf: Flaggen und Wappen. VEB Bibliographisches Institut Leipzig, 1966. (Redaktionsschluß 15.8.1965)