The Bahamas became a crown colony of the United Kingdom within its colonial empire in 1717. Under colonial rule, the Bahama Islands used the British Blue Ensign and defaced it with the emblem of the territory. This was inspired by the ousting of the pirates, and consisted of a scene depicting a British ship chasing two pirate ships out at the high seas encircled by the motto "Expulsis piratis restituta commercia" ("Pirates expelled, commerce restored"). The emblem was designed in around 1850, but did not receive official approval until 1964.
The Bahama Islands were granted "internal autonomy" in 1964. After the 1972 elections, the territory started negotiations on independence.
A search for a national flag began soon after, with a contest being
held to determine the new design. Instead of choosing a single winning
design, it was decided that the new flag was to be an amalgamation of
the elements from various submissions. It was first hoisted at midnight on July 10, 1973, the day the Bahamas became an independent country. The new country also changed its name from the Bahama Islands to the Bahamas upon independence.
The colors of the flag carry cultural, political, and regional
meanings. The yellow alludes to the golden sand and the shining sun - as
well as other key land-based natural resources - while the aquamarine epitomizes the sea surrounding the country (specifically the Caribbean Sea). The black symbolizes the "strength",
"vigor, and force" of the Bahamian people, while the directed triangle
evokes their "enterprising and determined" nature to cultivate the
abundant natural resources on the land and in the sea.
Yellow is not a color in the Bahamian flag. Here is a partial
official description. "The colors embodied in the design of the
Bahamian flag symbolize the image and aspirations of the people of The
Bahamas; the design reflects aspects of the natural environment (sun,
sand, and sea) and the economic and social development. The flag is a
black equilateral triangle against the mast, superimposed on a
horizontal background made up of two colors on three equal stripes of
aquamarine, gold and aquamarine."