Flag of Martinique
Martinique, an overseas territorial collectivity of France located in the Caribbean, has no flag with official status other than the French national flag. The local council (Collectivité territoriale de Martinique) has adopted a flag in 2019 to be used in international events to represent Martinique sports team, cultural association, and other bodies.
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The "Snake flag" (drapeau aux serpents) features a white cross on a blue field with a white snake in each quarters; these are fer-de-lance vipers (Bothrops lanceolatus, French trigonocéphale) native to Martinique. It was used by the French military on their buildings and/or uniforms. Members of the National Gendarmerie beared the coat-of-arms version of the flag. It stood next to the French flag on some public buildings of the island—such as the prefecture and the police station of Fort-de-France.
This symbol dates from an edict issued 4 August 1766, specifying that vessels of the French Colony of Martinique and Saint Lucia should fly a version of the French ensign, which at the time was a white cross on a blue field, with L-shaped (for Lucia) snakes in each quarter of the cross. The same design is used for the lesser coat of arms. Usage is controversial, because of its historical origin: upon adoption, the "Snake flag" flag fluttered on ships engaged in triangular trade—and thus the Atlantic slave trade.
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