Last modified: 2020-11-07 by rob raeside
Keywords: bahamas | abaco | the bahamas |
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image by Jaume Ollé, 8 May 2003
The Abaco Islands are a group of islands (the largest of which
is Great Abaco) in the Bahamas. In the early 1970s, there
was an Abaco Independence Movement (AIM), which sought an
independent or separate Abaco in the event that the British
government granted independence to the colony of the Bahamas
(which it did in July 1973). AIM representatives flew to
London and lobbied the British Government (Commons, Lords, and
petition to Queen) to allow Abaco to become separate from any
independent Bahamas. The requests were denied, and the
entire Bahamas became independent.
The AIM flag showed a lighthouse (presumably the lighthouse at Hopetown) amidst a sunburst. A picture of the flag (in B/W) appears in Steve Dodge's: "Abaco: The History of An Out Island and Its Cays" (Decatur: White Sound Press 1983), page 129. This book also has a good discussion of the AIM and the reasons behind its activities.
James T. Liston, 4 May 2003
There were other flags flown in and around Abaco just prior to
the Bahamas' independence. According to my friend, Brian
Sinclair, a New York restaurateur, sailing enthusiast, owner of
the islet in the Abaco group, and frequent visitor to Hopetown,
the vast majority of the Abaco islanders, not having any desire
to be included in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, were trying to
convince the UK government to let them retain a status of British
dependency on the Anguilla model (presidency).Some even opted for
outright independence (AIM). In the months
before the Bahamas' independence the islanders were vigorously
displaying the Union flags and multitudes of yachts and sailing
boats were also flying a proposed flag for Abaco - the British
Blue Ensign charged with the Abaco badge - a sailing ship on the
light blue background resting on six dark blue and five white waves. Above the ship there was a golden scroll with
"ABACO" on it. The badge, in the form of the shield, was
framed in gold.
As Mr. Liston stated, to the dismay of the islanders, the British didn't show any interest in the plight of the Abaco islanders and abandoned them to the new Commonwealth of the Bahamas. So, the little island group submerged in significant obscurity, has nevertheless quite rich vexi-history.
Chrystian Kretowicz, 7 May 2003
I do not know much about the "governor"-like flag,
except that it was one of the designs for the flag of an eventual
administrator of the wished-for entity under the British rule.
The blue ensign charged with the badge of the islands did exist.
See also wikipedia.org.
Chrystian Kretowicz, 24 April 2008
image by Chrystian Kretowicz, 24 April 2008
image by Olivier Touzeau, 30 October 2020
I heard about the flag that was proposed for
"independent" Abaco island in Bahamas. Abaco was
settled by many Europeans from USA and it is an island which is a
bit different from the rest of Bahamas. The Phoenix Foundation
(anarchist-capitalist group) tried to establish the island
independence. A party called Abaco Independence Movement was
created and a new flag was proposed. At the end the movement
couldn't reach popular support.
I don't know how the flag was, but probably it was blue, with white lighthouse with rays of gold and black radiating from it.
Anyone can confirm it?
Jaume Ollé, 13 March 2000
Yes, there was such a flag proposed. There was no anarchist
group on Abaco but rather a group advocating continued dependence
and government under the U.K. There were petitions sent to Queen
and Government but all fell through when the plan was rejected by
the House of Commons. There was a newspaper established to
support the movement and several demonstrations were held during
a speech from the Primer when he was speaking on independence in
Marsh Harbour, Abaco. Three quarters of the adult population of
Abaco supported this move but supported slumped as the years went
on. The independence movement ended around 1974-5.
Dexter Russell, 31 May 2000
The text talks about a (proposed) flag with lighthouse and a
UK blue ensign with badge in the fly, but the image show UJ with
badge in the middle, kind of like governor's flag. What's that
flag, and is that the same badge as it was in the blue ensigns
(reportedly used on yachts as an ensign!) ?
Željko Heimer, 15 January 2004
The flag of the Abaco Independence Movement is shown as a drawing in the book by Steve Dodge
"Abaco - The History of An Out Island and Its Cays"
published in 1983 and 1984 (LCCN 83-700772). It well reflects
what the AIM was standing for: The major landmark - the lighthouse
at Marsh Harbour - and the sunburst of "freedom".
Chrystian Kretowicz, 24 April 2008
The history of Abaco Independence Movement has not only to do with local
separatism, but with micronational libertarianism:
Abaco’s population is divided between West Indian blacks, and white descendants of English settlers. Many whites on Abaco opposed the independence of the Bahamas, attempting to retain colonial status under the British crown. In June of 1973, a month before independence, the Abaco whites gained the financial support of Michael Oliver, who had earlier attempted to set up the nation of Minerva. Oliver hoped to turn Abaco into a libertarian enclave. Oliver bankrolled a newspaper and organized a militia, which he planned to fly to Georgia for military training by Chuck Hall, who supported the Abaconian whites for less savory reasons. Hall backed out at the last moment, however, and the Abaconian revolution ran out of steam. Oliver later attempted a similar action on Espiritu Santo, trying to support the republic of Vemerana.
Source: former website Footnotes to History by James L. Erwin
Some more source elements on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abaco_Independence_Movement
Olivier Touzeau, 30 October 2020