Hawai'i Flag

What, if anything, do the British think about the Union Jack being part of Hawai’i’s flag? And wtf with the flag of a different country being on a state flag in the first place? I realize the current Hawai’ian flag evolved from earlier flags they inherited from the British, but still. Did people question Hawai’i’s decision, flag-wise, when it came time to admit them to the Union?

There’s this history of States incorporating symbols of the Confederacy for quite a while before.

Yeah, I realize some former Confederate states took on the ‘rebel flag’ as part of their state flags after the Civil War to kind of flip the bird to the North. But certainly Hawai’i’s flag doesn’t incorporate the Union Jack for similar reasons.

If you’re interested in the topic, you might want start by taking a gander at Wikipedia: Union Flag | Use in other flags and Flag of Hawaii | Origins

In short, the flag was designed for the then King of Hawaii by an unknown British naval officer, and incorporated elements of both the US and British flags so as to placate both those naval powers. As for today, why should the Brits care about Hawaii when sovereign nations like Australia do the same thing?


I didn’t mean to imply that they should care, like, take issue with it or something. I just wondered what they thought of it when (if) they thought of it at all. The connection between the UK and Australia (and other countries whose flags incorporate the Union Flag, like New Zealand) is a lot stronger than that between Hawai’i and the UK; in some more or less symbolic sense those two countries are still closely related, Australia being a member of the Commonwealth and all.

Not so Hawai’i.

I believe there have been other threads on this. As someone who lived in Hawaii for 2-1/2 years, I can say I’ve never detected one whiff of controversy regarding it among Brits or locals. Locals seem to like it just fine. As for Brits, I’ve never heard one say they thought one way or another about it, including Brits – and Aussies and Kiwis – I knew while in Hawaii and Brits I know here who have been there. Pretty much a non-issue.

You could ask the same questions about the French Tricolour on Iowa’s flag.

I think I could probably pretty safely say that most of us don’t even know that Hawai’i has our flag on theirs, and those of us who do don’t really think about it much at all.

As for Canada, Australia and New Zealand using the British flag, they’re not just “closely related… being a member of the Commonwealth”, she is actually still queen of those places (and Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, and Saint Kitts and Nevis, according to Wiki). What we think of that is also pretty much “meh”.

The story I heard, was that the design was a hybrid of British, U.S., and French elements, in order to imply that he was allied with all three countries.

He hoped that the British element would discourage French and Americans from meddling.
He hoped that the American element would discourage Britons and French from meddling.
He hoped that the French element would discourage Britons and Americans from meddling.

What, the Hawaiian flag? I have never heard about the French part at all, and I thought I was pretty well up on Hawaiian history.

The Union Jack is widely regarded as the flag most displayed on other flags anyway. One particular one is unlikely to bother anybody, unless it represents some universally condemned region, I suppose.

Heck, the old South Africa flag included the Union Jack along with others:


Note that the Orange Free State flag being on there means that it displays a flag within a flag within a flag. The Union Jack is itself a composite of the flags of England, Scotland and Ireland, and the Transvaal flag is another modification of the Dutch tricolor.