On first glance, the Iowa State Flag looks strikingly similar to the design of the French Flag. The background of the Iowa State Flag consists of three stripes of blue, white and red – exactly the same as the design of the Flag of France. However, there is one defining feature that makes the Iowa Flag different from all others – the image of an eagle placed directly in the center.
The design of the Iowa Flag was actually intended to appear very similar to the French Flag. The blue, white and red stripes on the flag are representative of the fact that Iowa was originally part of the French Louisiana Territory.
Unlike the French Flag, the white stripe in the center of the Iowa flag is actually much wider than the other two stripes. Directly in the center sits the image of a bald eagle, one of the symbols of the United States of America. The eagle is holding a banner in its mouth, containing the words “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain”, which is taken directly from the Great Seal of the State of Iowa. The word IOWA is printed in red, directly below the image of the eagle on the flag.
The Flag of Iowa was originally approved in May 1917; however, it was not officially adopted as the state banner until a few years later in 1921. It was first approved by the Iowa State Council for Defense. Just as with many other state flags, the Iowa Flag owes its roots to the Daughters of the American Revolution. The Iowa State Flag was originally designed and created by a Knoxville resident named Mrs. Dixie Cornell Gebhardt, a member of the organization. The Iowa State Flag truly does show deep rooted ties to not only America, but to its original governing country, France, as well.
The Flag of Kentucky was originally adopted in 1918 and was finalized in its present form in 1928. The flag is a relatively simple design; it is made up of little more than the seal of Kentucky placed upon a field of blue. Unbeknown to most, Kentucky is not officially classified as a state in the United States of America. Kentucky is a commonwealth, just as is Pennsylvania, Virginia and Massachusetts.
The Flag of Kentucky was originally designed by an art teacher named Jesse Cox who resided in Frakfort, Kentucky. In the center of Mr. Cox’s flag is the seal of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Depicted in the Commonwealth’s seal are two men who appear to be shaking hands. By most accounts, the man on the left of the seal is meant to be Daniel Boone, who was most responsible for exploring Kentucky. On the right stands who is believed to be Henry Clay, Kentucky’s most famous statesman. Officially, however, the seal is meant to symbolize all frontiersmen and statesmen, rather than anyone specific. Encircling the two men on the seal are the words “United We Stand, Divided We Fall”, with “United We Stand” positioned on top and “Divided We Fall” on the bottom. These words are derived from “The Liberty Song”, which was a popular patriotic song during the American Revolution.
Around the entire seal on the Kentucky Flag sit the words “Commonwealth of Kentucky” on top, along with a peculiar design on the bottom. At first glance, the design at the bottom looks utterly meaningless, but it does indeed have a bit of symbolism attached. The design is meant to represent the Goldenrod, the state flower of the state of Kentucky. The Kentucky Flag was officially recognized as the state’s flag on March 26, 1918 by the Kentucky General Assembly.
The Maryland Flag was voted one of the top 10 flags in all of the United States and Canada by the North American Vexillogical Association in 2001. The flag was originally flown in 1880, however, it was not officially adopted until much later on March 9, 1904. The Maryland Flag is the only flag of any state in the United States of America to be based upon British Heraldry, as it is based upon the banner of George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore.
The Marylang Flag is split up into four quadrants, with two sets of designs. The black and gold design on the flag is based upon the coat of arms of the Calvert family. The banner was originally given to George Calvert in reward for storming a castle in battle. In the black and gold design of the Maryland Flag, a few vertical bars can be noticed – representative of the bars of the palisade from Calvert’s battle.
The red and white design on the Maryland flag is actually another depiction of a coat of arms – it represents the coat of arms of the Crossland family. The Crossland family was the family of George Calvert’s mother, and since his mother was an heiress, Calvert was allowed to use both coats of arms in his banner.
The current flag of Maryland was originally flown on October 11, 1880 at a celebration marking the 150th anniversary of the founding of the city of Baltimore. The Maryland Flag was not however officially adopted as the state’s flag until some 24 years later in 1904. One interesting note about the Maryland Flag is that the state of Maryland is the only flag that has specific guidelines not only about the flag itself, but also guidelines as to how the flagpole should look as well.
The Flag of Kansas was originally adopted in 1927, and contains one of the most interesting, yet simple designs of any American state flag. The Kansas Flag is made up of a depiction of the Great Seal of Kansas emblazoned atop a blue background, with the image of a sunflower above and the name of the state positioned directly below.
The Kansas Flag was originally designed in the year 1925; however, it would not be officially adopted until two years later in 1927 by the Kansas State Legislature. In the two years between the flag’s design and its adoption, the state of Kansas flew a state banner rather than a flag.
At that time, the Kansas State Banner depicted a design very similar to today’s Kansas State Flag. The Kansas State Banner consisted of the image of a large sunflower and the word “Kansas” placed atop a blue field. Interestingly enough, the Kansas State Banner was originally intended to be hung from a horizontal bar instead of a traditional flag pole. The Kansas State Banner was given a very unique design that was meant to avoid “competition” with the flag of the United States of America. However, the banner was actually rejected for display in Washington, DC, due in part to the flag’s awkward method of hanging.
It was during this time that the Kansas State Legislature began the creation of a new flag for the state. Shortly thereafter, the legislature adopted today’s Kansas Flag, which features many of the same features as the original banner as well as the word “Kansas” on the bottom. Also, the Great Seal of the State of Kansas was added to the center of the flag. Since its original creation, the Flag of Kansas has remained the same, except for the addition of the word “Kansas” in 1961.
The Flag of Maine was originally created and approved in the year 1909. Since then, the flag has remained completely unchanged. The flag consists of an interesting design, made up of little more than the Maine Coat of Arms placed upon a blue background. The exact colors for the Coat of Arms have never been specified; however, the blue background has officially been determined to be the same blue as on the US flag.
Interestingly enough, the state of Maine was actually and enclave of Massachusetts until the year 1820. As a result of Maine’s sudden growth in population, it became the 23rd state in on March 15th, 1820, due in part to the Missouri Compromise.
In the center of the Maine Flag sit the Maine Coat of Arms. The coat of arms is a peculiar design. On the left of the coat of arms stands a farmer, resting on a scythe. On the right sits a seaman, resting on an anchor. Above the two men sits a star (the North Star) along with the word “DIRIGO”. Dirigo (I lead), is the official state motto of Maine. Below the entire design, just as with many other state flags, sits the name of the state – “MAINE”, written in bold large letters.
At first glance, the flag of Maine doesn’t appear to have any major defining characteristics that make it stand out from other flags. Due to the plainness in design of the Maine Flag, the flag was actually voted one of the worst designs of any flag in North America by the North American Vexillogical Association in 2001. Out of 72 flags surveyed in Canada and the United States, the Maine Flag was voted 13th worst.
The Connecticut flag has perhaps one of the simplest designs of any American state flag. It consists of a simple design on top of a light blue background. In the middle of the Connecticut flag sits a white baroque shield along with three grapevines which each bear three bunches of purple grapes. The banner below the white shield of the Connecticut flag displays the state motto, “Qui Transtulit Sustinet” or, “He who transplants, sustains”.
The design for the Connecticut flag is directly derived from the seal of Saybrook Colony, when it was established in the year 1639. In the original Saybrook Colony seal, there was a display of 15 grapevines along with a hand in the upper left hand corner displaying the words “Sustinet qui transtulit”. The Saybrook Colony seal was eventually transferred to Connecticut in the year 1644, when Connecticut bought the colony.
On October 15, 1711, the seal was altered again. The Connecticut governor and legislature altered the seal to contain only 3 grapevines instead of the original 15. This was meant to symbolize the original 3 Connecticut settlements of Windsor, Wethersfield, and Hartford.
The Connecticut General Assembly of 1897 provided an official description of the Connecticut flag. The official dimensions of the flag are meant to be 5′ 6” in length and 4’4” in width. The official colors of the Connecticut flag are an azure blue silk background with the armorial bearing in argent white silk. The design of the crest on the Connecticut flag should be displayed in natural colors and the border of the shield should be embroidered in gold and silver. Below the shield should be a white streamer, cleft at each end, bordered in gold and brown. The motto on the streamer should also be dark blue in color.
The Colorado flag consists of one of the simplest, yet perhaps most interesting designs of any flag in the Union. The Colorado flag consists of three horizontal stripes of equal width. The middle stripe is white, while the top and bottom stripes are colored blue. On top of the 3 stripes of the Colorado flag sits a red “C” filled with a golden circle.
According to numerous reports, the colors of the Colorado flag represent the following:
- The blue stripes on the Colorado flag are meant to represent the Colorado skies
- The golden circle inside of the red “C” is meant to represent the sunshine enjoyed by the state of Colorado
- The white stripe across the middle of the Colorado flag represents the snowcapped mountains
- The red of the “C” is meant to represent the earth
The Colorado flag was originally designed by a man named Andrew Carlisle Carson in 1911. On June 5th of that same year, this same Colorado flag was officially adopted by the state’s General Assembly. The official colors of the flag were not, however, decided upon by the General Assembly until 18 years later on February 29, 1929. It was eventually declared that the red and blue of the Colorado flag would be the same exact colors as the American flag. Years later, on March 31, 1964, the legislature further declared that the diameter of the gold disc should be equal to the width of the center white stripe.
One interesting thing to note about the Colorado flag is the fact that it is incorporated into all of Colorado’s state highway signs. Also, in a 2001 survey by the North American Vexillogical Association, the Colorado flag was ranked as the 16th best flag as compared by 72 other state, provincial, and territory flags in North America.
The California flag has perhaps one of the most interesting histories of any state flag in the Union. The original version of the California flag was first flown in the year 1846 during the Bear Flag Revolt. Because of the obvious Bear in the middle of the California flag, the California flag has also been called the Bear Flag.
The California flag was first designed by William L. Todd, the nephew of Mary Todd – wife of Abraham Lincoln. According to reports, the star on the California flag was actually influenced by the 1836 California Lone Star Flag. The original California flag was actually designed in blackberry juice, and the bear on the California flag was designed to be a symbol of strength and unyielding resistance.
The first version of the California flag represented California for only a brief time – from June 14th to July 9th, 1846. On July 7th, 1846 Commodore John Drake Sloat of the US Navyfirst raised the 28-star American flag at the capital of California, thus claiming the territory for the United States. Two days later, on July 9, 1846, Joseph Warren Revere of the United States Navy hauled down the California Bear Flag in Sonoma, and replaced it with the American Stars and Stripes. The California Bear Flag was then given to a young man by the name of John E. Montgomery, who later wrote in a letter to his mother, “Cuffy came down growling”. “Cuffy” was Montgomery’s nickname for the bear on the California flag.
The original California flag was eventually returned to California in 1855 when it was given to California Senators William M. Gwin and John B Weller. The original California Flag was preserved at the Pioneer Halls in San Francisco until it was destroyed on April 18, 1906 in the fires that followed the great San Francisco earthquake.
The Arkansas Flag consists of a red field decorated with a large white diamond with a blue border. The Arkansas flag contains twenty nine five-pointed stars. Twenty-five small white stars appear within the blue border, and four larger blue stars appear in the white diamond. The word “ARKANSAS” appears in blue inside the white diamond, with one star above and three below.
The design for the Arkansas Flag was created by Willie Kavanaugh Hocker of Wabbaseka in the year 1912. In 1912, Daughters of the American Revolution of the Pine Bluff chapter wanted to create an official Arkansas Flag to present for the commissioning of the battleship USS Arkansas.
When it was originally discovered that Arkansas did not yet have a state flag, the Daughters of the American Revolution decided to sponsor a contest to design an official Arkansas Flag. Willie Hocker, a member of the Pine Bluff chapter of the Daughters, won the contest with a design that is similar to the current Arkansas Flag. Mrs. Hocker designed a flag that consisted of three blue stars in the middle of a white diamond, however the word “ARKANSAS” was omitted. At the request of Secretary of State Earle Hodges, chairman of the Arkansas Flag committee, Hocker eventually added the word “ARKANSAS” and also rearranged the stars to their current design and location. This version of the Arkansas Flag was adopted by the legislature on February 26, 1913.
In 1923, the legislature decided to alter the Arkansas Flag, and added a fourth star to represent the Confederate States of America. This fourth star was originally placed on the Arkansas Flag so that there were two stars above the state name along with two below. This design for the Arkansas flag was meant to include the Confederacy alongside France, Spain, and the United States. This however disturbed the other two meanings of the original three stars, and so it was corrected by the legislature in 1924. The Confederate star was eventually above “ARKANSAS” and the original three stars were placed below it, just as it is today.
The Alaska flag truly does have an interesting history. Although the Alaska flag was not adopted for official state use until 1959, it was actually created much earlier– in 1926.
The Alaska Flag of consists of eight gold stars, that together form the Big Dipper and the North Star, all emblazoned upon a dark blue field. The first seven of the stars on the Alaska Flag are supposedly from the constellation Ursa Major (the Big Dipper). The eighth star on the Alaska Flag represents the North Star, symbolizing Alaska’s being the northern most state. The blue field of the Alaska Flag represents the sky, the sea and mountain lakes, and also Alaska’s wildflowers.
The Alaska flag was designed in 1927 by a 13-year-old Native American boy named Bennie Benson, who resided in Seward. There was a contest established to create a flag for Alaska- what was then simply the “Alaska Territory”. Benson’s design for the Alaska Flag was chosen over roughly 700 other submissions from schoolchildren ranging from grades 7-12 territory-wide.
In celebration of his achievement, Benson was awarded $1,000 along with an engraved watch. Most of the other students’ entries featured variations on the traditional territorial seal, the midnight sun, northern lights, polar bears, and others of the like.
Until this time, Alaskans had generally flown only the U.S. flag since the territory was purchased from Russia in 1867, however the Alaska Legislature soon adopted Benson’s Alaska Flag design. Benson’s Alaska Flag design became the official Alaska Flag for the Territory of Alaska on May 2, 1927. The very first flag made based on Benson’s design was made of blue silk and gold stars, and was inaugurally flown on July 9, 1927. Benson’s original design for the Alaska Flag was retained as the official Alaska State Flag upon declaration of statehood in 1959.