Prior to ceding the country to British rule in 1874, the government of Fiji adopted a national flag featuring blue and white vertical stripes, with in the centre a red shield depicting a white dove.This flag ceased to be used when the colonial era began and Fiji relinquished its independence. Fiji was a British colony from 1874 to 1970.
The current flag of Fiji was adopted on October 10, 1970. The state arms have been slightly modified but the flag has remained the same as during the colonial period. It is a defaced sky-blue "Blue Ensign" (the actual Blue Ensign version of the flag is the Government ensign). It has remained unchanged since Fiji was declared a republic in 1987, despite calls from some politicians (such as Opposition Senator Atu Emberson-Bain) for changes. The flag was adopted in 1970, when Fiji achieved independence. Its bright blue background symbolizes the Pacific Ocean, which plays an important part in the lives of the islanders, both in terms of the fishing industry, and the huge tourist trade. The Union Jack reflects the country's links with Great Britain.
The shield is derived from the country's official coat of arms, which was originally granted by Royal Warrant in 1908. It is a white shield with a red cross and a red chief (upper third of a shield). The images depicted on the shield represent agricultural activities on the islands, and the historical associations with Great Britain. At the top of the shield, a British lion holds a cocoa pod between its paws. The upper left is sugar cane, upper right is a coconut palm, the lower left a dove of peace, and the lower right a bunch of bananas.