West Indies Federation



The West Indies Federation, also known as the Federation of the West Indies, with its capital St. George (Grenada) was a short-lived Caribbean federation that existed from January 3, 1958 to May 31, 1962. It consisted of the former Leeward and Windward colonies of the United Kingdom:

1. Antigua and Barbuda, 2. Barbados, 3. Dominica, 4. Grenada, 5. Jamaica (to which were attached the Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands as dependencies), 6. Montserrat, 7. Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla (present day Saint Kitts and Nevis and Anguilla), 8. Saint Lucia, 9. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, 10. Trinidad and Tobago.

The expressed intention of the Federation was to create a political unit that would become independent from Britain as a single state, however, before that could happen, the Federation collapsed due to internal political conflicts.



The achievement of the Federation was adopted on 1.VIII.1957. [1]


Arms: Or, a pile reversed Gules per pile reversed Argent, within a bordure barry wavy of eight pieces Argent and Azure, charged with 10 besants Or, and a chief Gules, a lion guardant passant Or.

Crest: On a helmet guardant, lambrequined Or and Gules, a hand upright holding a flaming torch, all proper.

Supporters: Two boobies (Sula variegata - Sulidae) proper.



In the arms the bordure barry wavy symbolizes the Caribbean, the ten besants the ten parts of the federation. The chief symbolizes the British past and the torch the freedom of the people. The two guano boobies (Sula variegata - Sulidae), represent the avifauna of the federation.

The achievement became obsolete after the dissolution of the federation in 1962

A photography of the full achievement, hitherto hardly known, was published recently (2008) on Internet.

Old, worn, sign board of the Federation [3]

showing the colors



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Hubert de Vries 2010-02-19; Updated 2018-07-31




[1] Neubecker. p. 50.

[2] Watermark of the Coat of Arms of the West Indies Federation. Federal Archives Centre, University of West Indies (UWI), Barbados

[3] https://uwimuseum.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/relics-of-federation/