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National Symbols of the Bahamas

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March on Bahamaland
composed by Timothy Gibson

Lift up your head to the rising sun, Bahamaland;
March on to glory your bright banners waving high.
See how the world marks the manner of your bearing!
Pledge to excel through love and unity.

Pressing onward, march together to a common loftier goal;
Steady sunward, tho' the weather hide the wide and treachrous shoal.

Lift up your head to the rising sun, Bahamaland,
'Til the road you've trod lead unto your God, March On, Bahamaland.

Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)

Flamingos are found in three major nesting groups in the West Indian region -- Great Inaugua island in The Bahamas; Yucatan, Mexico; and Bonaire Island in the Netherlands Antilles. The more than 50,000 birds inhabiting the 287 square miles of Inagua are protected by wardens employed by the Society for the Protection of the Flamingo in The Bahamas, through the Bahamas National Trust, a statutory body set up in 1959.

National Bird

The COAT OF ARMS is a composition of things indigenous to these islands. The preliminary design of the coat of arms was prepared by Bahamian artist Hervis Bain. The crest of the arms, a light pink conch shell, symbolizes the marine life of The Bahamas. The top of the crest is composed of wavy green palm fronds, symbolic of the natural vegetation. The Santa Maria, flagship of Christopher Columbus, appears on the shield. Wavy barrulets of blue symbolize the waters of The Bahamas. The shield is charged with a radiant sun to signify the world-famous balmy resort climate, as well as the bright future of the islands. A flamingo, the national bird, and a silvery blue marlin, the national fish, support the shield. The national motto, "Forward Upward Onward Together," is draped across the base of the coat of arms. It heralds the direction and manner in which the Bahamian nation should move. The motto was chosen after a national competition, which was won by two 11-year-old schoolchildren -- Vivian F. Moultrie of Inagua Public School and Melvern B. Bowe of the Government High School in Nassau.

Coat of Arms

Blue Marlin (Makaira nigricans)

Found in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, many persons first encounter this fish in Ernest Hemingway's book The Old Man and the Sea. Hemingway was a frequent visitor to The Bahamas, especially the island of Bimini, where the blue marlin is highly prized among the game-fishing community. A powerful and aggressive fighter, the blue marlin can run hard and long, sound or dive deep, and leap high into the air in a display of strength.

National Fish


Black represents the vigor and force of a united people. The triangle pointing represents the enterprise and determination of the Bahamian people to develop and process the rich resources of land and sea, symbolized by gold and aquamarine, respectively.

flag of the Bahamas

Yellow Elder

Selection of the yellow elder over many other flowers was made through the combined popular vote of members of all four of New Providence’s garden clubs of the 1970s – the Nassau Garden Club, the Carver Garden Club, the International Garden Club, and the YWCA Garden Club. They reasoned that other flowers grown here – such as the bougainvillea, hibiscus, and poinciana – had already been chosen as the national flowers of other countries. The yellow elder, on the other hand, was unclaimed (although it is now also the official flower of the United States Virgin Islands).

National Flower

written by Rev. Philip Rahming

I Pledge my allegiance to the flag and to
the Commonwealth of The Bahamas
For which it stands,
one people united in love and service.

God Bless Our Sunny Cline
lyrics by Rev. Philip Rahming
music by Timothy Gibson and Clement Bethel

God Bless our sunny clime, spur us to height sublime.
To keep men free, let brothers, sisters stand
Firm, trusting hand in hand, throughout Bahamaland
One brotherhood, one brotherhood.

Let gratefulness ascend, courageous deeds extend
From isle to isle. Long let us treasure peace,
So may our lives increase, our prayers never cease.
Let freedom ring! Let freedom ring!

The long, long night has passed, the morning breaks at last,
From shore to shore, sunrise with golden gleam
Sons n' daughters, share the dream, for one working team
One brotherhood, one brotherhood.

Not for this time nor for this chosen few alone
We pledge ourselves. Live loyal to our God.
Love country, friend and foe, oh help us by thy might!
Great God our King! Great God our King!

Tree of Life (
Lignum vitae)

The extremely hard and heavy self-lubricating wood from this tree is especially well suited for bearings and bushings of propeller shafts on steamships, as well as for bearings in steel mills, for bowling balls, and pulleys. The bark is used for medicinal purposes, and many Bahamians steep the bark and drink it as an aphrodisiac. For many years, dating back to World War II, shipments of the wood were made from The Bahamas to the United Kingdom and the United States by the New Providence firm of Duncombe and Butler.

National Tree

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This page was last updated on 12/23/2017.