Last modified: 2022-10-22 by bruce berry
Keywords: british east africa |
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British East Africa, which later became the Kenya Colony - the interior
of Kenya - was originally colonised by a Chartered Company, the British
East Africa Company. I suspect the flag you have there is the Company's,
which would be anachronistic as the territory was transferred to the Crown
in 1906 (according to my Notebook of Commonwealth History). Certainly
by independence the colonial flag was the standard Blue Ensign with a badge
of the red lion rampant on a white disc.
Roy Stilling, 14 Feb 1996
This flag was used only in Kenya (prior to the adoption of the name
not in German East Africa or the Uganda
Protectorate. At the time Kenya was called British East Africa, it
incorporated a large slice of what is now Uganda, as well as Jubaland.
The common British administration of Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika (later
Tanzania) was never formally called "British East Africa", although it
was described as being "East Africa".
Mike Oettle, 14 Oct 2002
The company flag and special ensigns were probably granted in the Royal Charter, similar to Article 19 in the charter of the British South Africa Company. A black and white drawing in 'Zanzibar, Slavery and the Royal Navy' by Kevin Patience shows the paddle steamer 'Kenia' with an ensign at the stern and the Company Flag at the bow, above a triangular pennant bearing the ships name.
There is no obvious reason why the sun should have 24 rays on the ensigns,
but only 16 on the jack. In the arms on which the badge is based
the sun has about 64 rays.
David Prothero, 11 Oct 2002
I've seen on Jaume
Ollé's Historical Flags an image that is similar to the description
of the blue ensign, despite some differences: there is a white disc, the
number of rays is not exactly the same. The image is shown for Buganda
1889-91 and 1892-93/94.
Olivier Touzeau, 02 December 1999
Hulme in "Flags of the World", published
in about 1895 wrote, "British East Africa has the crown and beneath it
the golden sun shooting forth its rays, one of the simplest, most appropriate,
and most pleasing of all the colonial devices; when placed in the centre
of the Governor's flag it is upon a white disc, and the sun has eight principal
rays. When for use on the red or blue ensigns, the sun has twelve principle
rays and both golden sun and crown are placed directly upon the field of
David Prothero, 01 Dec 1999
The sun, its rays and the greater part of the crown should be a slightly orange yellow. The cap of the crown should be red. The crown should be very slightly larger, and the sun slightly smaller. The rays are symmetrical elongated tear-drops. The smaller rays are miniature versions of the large rays, in that the width/length ratio is maintained.
On the Union Jack, the badge is on a white disc surrounded by the standard laurel
leaf garland and blue ribbon. On the Red and Blue Ensigns the number of
rays is increased to 12 large and 12 small.
David Prothero, 03 December 1999
The British flag books published in 1882 and 1902 shows British East
Africa Union Flag with 16 rays (8 longer 8 shorter) and the crown in white
disc and Blue and red Ensign with 24 rays (8 longer 16 shorter) and the
crown without white disc.
Nozomi Kariyasu, 03 December 1999
Badge for Union Jack of the Imperial British East African Company; no
garland. Scan from amendment to 1889 Admiralty Flag Book, and ensign badge
full size. All yellow except for cap of crown which is red.
Each flag badge was different. Sun on Union badge had 16 rays, but on ensigns had 24. Crown on Blue ensign was red and yellow but, because the red cap was not visible on a red field, only yellow on the Red Ensign.
David Prothero, 08 Aug 2002
Scan from amendment to 1889 Admiralty Flag Book, and ensign badge full
size. All yellow except for cap of crown which is red.
David Prothero, 08 Aug 2002