Flag of Tuvalu
|Design||A Light Blue Ensign with nine yellow five-pointed stars on the outer half of the flag. |
The first inhabitants of Tuvalu were Polynesian people. The islands came within the British Empire's sphere of influence in the late 19th century. The Ellice Islands were administered by Britain as part of a protectorate from 1892 to 1916 and as part of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony from 1916 to 1974. In 1974 the Ellice Islanders voted for separate British dependency status as Tuvalu, separating from the Gilbert Islands which became Kiribati upon independence. Tuvalu became a fully independent Commonwealth realm in 1978. 
Like many former and current British dependencies, the Tuvaluan flag is a blue ensign based on the Union Flag, which is shown in the upper left canton of the flag; but has a sky blue field rather than the conventional blue. The stars represent the nine islands which comprise Tuvalu; the arrangement is geographically correct, with the east towards the top (i.e. north to the left).