The flag of the state of Montana was originally adopted in 1905. The flag is rectangular with a blue background. The seal of Montana, which was adopted in 1865, is centered on the flag. The seal depicts the beautiful landscape of Montana, complete with mountains, plains, forests, the Great Falls, the Missouri River, and a big sky. The seal also contains important symbols of Montana’s farming and mining industry: a plow, a pick, and a shovel. The state’s territorial motto, Oro y Plata, is written on a banner at the bottom of the seal, which means “Gold and Silver” in Spanish. The text “MONTANA” appears across the top of the flag in gold letters.
The flag of the State of Montana was created in 1898, when the First Montana Infantry volunteers were training for the Spanish American War at Fort Harrison. Although the men had planned to carry a 45-star United States flag into battle, Colonel Kessler, the head of the First Montana Infantry, thought the troops needed a special flag to represent their state. The flag the men carried looked like the current Montana state flag, but instead of the word “MONTANA” across the top, the text “1st Montana Infantry U.S.V.” was stitched above the seal.
After the Spanish American war, Colonel Kessler gave the flag to the Governor, who displayed the banner throughout the state. The residents of Montana began to consider the banner an appropriate representation of their state, and in 1905, the Montana State Legislature officially adopted the first state flag of Montana: a blue banner with the Montana state seal in the center. The text “MONTANA” was added to the flag in 1981.