Most historians believe that the Alabama Flag was originally designed to resemble the blue saltire of the Confederate Battle Flag. The Battle Flag was square-shaped, and often times, the Alabama flag is displayed as a square as well.
Interestingly enough, there is a long standing debate as to the proper shape of the Alabama Flag. The legislation that originally created the Alabama state flag never actually specified if the flag was meant to be square or rectangular.
According to the authors of a 1917 article in National Geographic, the Alabama flag should be square, as it was originally meant to be based upon the Confederate Battle Flag. In 1987, however, the office of Alabama Attorney General Don Siegelman issued a differing opinion. Attorney General Siegelman concluded that the proper shape of the Alabama flag should be rectangular, just as it had been depicted numerous times in official publications.
Unbeknownst to most, the saltire design of the Alabama flag bears a striking resemblance to several other flags. The Alabama flag is actually identical to the flag of Saint Patrick, which has since been incorporated into the Union Flag of the UK. Also, some historians believe that the Alabama flag owes its origins to a simplification of the Cross of Burgundy Flag. This flag was used by the Spanish in the New Spain, and also was the basis of many military flags.
Another remote, but possible inspiration for the Alabama flag was that of the flag carried by The Alabama 7th Cavalry. The regiment was the only Alabama regiment in Rucker’s Brigade that was commanded by Col. Edmund Rucker of Tennessee, who would later command troops in Alabama as well. The brigade flag consisted of a white background with a red saltire that was decorated with 13 bluish-green stars upon it. This flag was meant to be used as Col. Rucker’s Color Guard. It is currently held as part of the Alabama Civil War Period Flag Collection by the Alabama Department of Archives and History.
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