EarthView team bios, guidelines, and more.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mystery Solved

Neckties are among the favorite props of the EarthView team. When the EarthView program began, Professors Domingo and Hayes-Bohanan each grabbed a favorite flag tie, and continued to wear them to most EarthView appearances.

Although we are geographers, our knowledge of vexillology is not complete (nor is our knowledge of geography, of course). So we were sometimes stumped when students asked us what countries are represented by particular flags on each tie. Recently, we created online quizzes for each tie (see Domingo tie and Hayes-Bohanan tie), both to help students and to make sure we would know all the flags. Most of the flags were easy to identify on lists of national flags, but the flag shown above did not appear on any such list.

It is difficult to search images without any descriptive words, so we put the question of this flag's identity to geographer Matt Rosenberg, who manages the popular Geography page on He in turn sent the question out through his social networks, and quickly learned that this is the flag of Sint Maarten.

Sint Maarten is a constituent country within the kingdom of the Netherlands. It shares the Lesser Antilles island of Saint Martin with the French overseas collectivity that is known at Saint-Martin.

During our recent visit to North Andover Middle School, some students asked where these ties could be purchased. Even though my tie (Dr. Hayes-Boh) was purchased long ago, it is still available at the Tie Store, as is another world flag tie in a different design  .

Saint Martin (the island shared by Saint-Martin and Sint Maarten) is among the northernmost of the Lesser Antilles, an arc of islands to the east of the Caribbean Sea. It is located just to the south of Anguilla. Because of the small size of the islands and the relatively great distance among them, panning and zooming in the map below is a good way to learn the spatial relationships in the Lesser Antilles.

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