The "Pink, White and Green" is a flag of 19th-century origins that enjoyed popularity in portions of the island in the late 19th century. It was flown on some vessels into the 20th century. It was never adopted by the Newfoundland government.
A 1976 article reported that the tricolour flag was created in 1843 by then Roman Catholic Bishop of Newfoundland, Michael Anthony Fleming. The colours were intended to represent the symbolic union of Newfoundland's historically dominant ethnic/religious groups: English, Scottish and Irish. Though popular, there is no historical evidence to support this legend.
Recent scholarship suggests that the flag was first used in the 1870s or later by the Roman Catholic "Star of the Sea" fishermen's association. It resembled the unofficial flag of Ireland. The tri-colour flag remained relatively unknown outside of St. John's and the Avalon peninsula until the growth of the tourist industry since the late 20th century. It has been used as an emblem on items in gift shops in St. John's and other towns. Some tourists assume it is the Irish flag.
The "Pink, White and Green" has been adopted by some residents as a symbol of ties with Irish heritage and as a political statement. Many of the province's Protestants, who make up approximately 60% of the province's total population (with 57% claiming British Isles descent), consider it a Catholic flag.
Similarly, many of the province's Catholics, approximately 37% of the total population (with roughly 22% of the population claiming Irish ancestry), think that the current provincial flag does not satisfactorily represent them. But, a government-sponsored poll in 2005 revealed that 75% of Newfoundlanders rejected adoption of the Tricolour flag as the province's official flag.