North Dakota became the 39th US State on November 2, 1889 when President Benjamin Harrison signed a bill creating the Dakota Territory. Around the end of the 1870s, people wanted the Dakota Territory to enter Union as both a single state and as two states. The Dakota Territory successfully became North and South Dakota in 1889.
North Dakota’s state flag was adopted in 1911, about 22 years after the state’s admission into the Union. The flag was introduced by Colonel John. H. Fraine. The state flag is a dark blue with bald eagle in the center, holding an olive branch in its right talon and arrows in its left talon. The eagle is grasping a gold lined red ribbon in its beak, which reads E Pluribus Unum, which is Latin for “Out of one, many”. There are two symbols of the original thirteen territories on this flag: one is a shield of thirteen stripes on the eagle’s chest and thirteen yellow stars above its head, with a fan shaped design above the stars. Underneath the eagle is a small red scroll which says “North Dakota” and yellow scrolls swirling outside of it. In 1951, a state flag commission had been established to consider changing the state flag because it “too closely resembled the coat of arms of the United States of America and that the flag was not symbolic of North Dakota”. However, the legislation was rejected.
State Flower: While North Dakota’s state flower is the Prairie Rose, the state actually grows the most sunflowers than any other state.
Theodore Roosevelt: The 26th President of the United States was very important to the state of North Dakota. He spent some of his younger years in the state and helped found the national park system. In fact, there is a national park named after him that was established in 1978.
The flag of the state of North Dakota was adopted on March 3, 1911. The flag is rectangular with a dark blue background. The flag features a bald eagle with a red, white, and blue shield. In its feet, the eagle holds an olive branch and a bundle of arrows. A gold sunburst and thirteen gold stars appear above the eagle. The eagle holds a ribbon in its mouth; on the ribbon is the text, “One nation made up of many states.” A red and gold scroll appears below the eagle with the text “North Dakota.”
Rather than containing images symbolic of state, land, and people of North Dakota, the flag of North Dakota contains images important to the United States as a whole. The image of the bald eagle with the olive branch, bundle of arrows, and shield, for example, closely resembles the United States Coat of Arms, Great Seal of the United States, and the Seal of the President of the United States.
The bald eagle symbolizes freedom and the founding fathers often compared the United States to the characteristics of this powerful bird. The shield lies on the eagle’s breast without any support, representing the thought that the United States must rely on its own virtues. The thirteen stripes on the shield—as well as the thirteen gold stars above the eagle—represent the original thirteen colonies of the United States. The olive branch symbolizes the power of peace, while the arrows symbolize the power of war.
The red, white, and blue colors in the shield contain the same symbolic meanings as the colors of the American flag. The white symbolizes innocence and purity; the red represents valor and strength, and the blue represents justice and perseverance.
The flag of the state of North Dakota is nearly identical to the flag the North Dakota infantry carried during both the Spanish American War and the Phillipine-American War. In 1953, a bill was introduced in the North Carolina Legislative Assembly to change the flag on the basis that it too closely resembles the United States Coat of Arms and other national seals; however the bill was promptly defeated in the same year.