The current flag of Tuvalu was instated when the country became independent in 1978, after the separation from the Gilbert and Ellice Islands in 1976. ⠀ ⠀ 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 previous flag (with the Gilberts) was also based on the Union Flag but with the coat of arms created by Sir Arthur Grimble in 1932, the resident commissioner of the British colony. ⠀ ⠀ 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). ⠀ Tuvalu is officially the smallest Commonwealth realm. It is also the second smallest country by population in the world. Tuvalu, formerly known as the Ellice Islands, is a tiny little country in the Pacific Ocean. The country consists of three reef islands and six atolls. ⠀ ⠀ Recently, Tuvalu has gained significant media attention worldwide because its low-lying land is so susceptible to rising sea levels. The beaches surrounding the atolls are sinking due to erosion caused by waves and this is exacerbated by rising sea levels.