Map showing the flags of the 50 states of the United States, its five territories, and the capital district, Washington, D.C.
Map showing the flags of the 50 states of the United States, its five territories, and the capital district, Washington, D.C.

The flags of the U.S. states, territories, and the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.) exhibit a variety of regional influences and local histories, as well as different styles and design principles. Modern U.S. state flags date from the turn of the 20th century, when states considered distinctive symbols for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. Most U.S. state flags were designed and adopted between 1893 and World War I.[1]

The most recently adopted state flag is that of Mississippi, adopted on January 11, 2021, while the most recently adopted territorial flag is that of the Northern Mariana Islands, adopted on July 1, 1985. The flag of the District of Columbia was adopted in 1938. Recent legislation in Utah (2018–21) and Massachusetts (2021) has started the process of redesign for those state flags.

Despite a variety of designs, the majority of the states' flags share the same design pattern consisting of the state seal superimposed on a monochrome background, commonly a shade of blue, which remains a source of criticism from vexillologists. According to a 2001 survey by the North American Vexillological Association, New Mexico has the best-designed flag of any U.S. state, U.S. territory, or Canadian province, while Georgia's state flag was rated the worst.[2] Georgia adopted a new flag in 2003, making Nebraska's state flag the worst one still in use.

Current state flags

Current federal district flag

This is the current flag of the District of Columbia.

Current territory flags

These are the current official flags of the five permanently-inhabited territories of the United States. Dates in parenthesis denote when the territory's current flag was adopted by its respective political body.

Current state ensigns

Maine and Massachusetts have ensigns for use at sea.

Commemorative state flags

In 2021, Utah commemorated its 125th year anniversary as a state with a special flag, coinciding with the formation of a task force to redesign the state flag.

Historical state and territory flags

Former state flags

Former territory flags

American Civil War

See also: Flags of the Confederate States of America

Pre-Texan Revolution

Texan Revolution

California Republic

Other

Native American flags

Further information: Flags of Native Americans in the United States on Wikimedia Commons

Many Native American nations have tribal sovereignty, with jurisdiction over their members and reserved land. Although reservations are on state land, the laws of the state(s) do not necessarily apply.[23] Below are the flags of some of the largest Indian tribes reservations by population and area:

Unofficial flags of atolls, reefs, and other islands

The U.S. national flag is the official flag for all islands, atolls, and reefs composing the United States Minor Outlying Islands. However, unofficial flags are sometimes used to represent some of the insular areas in the U.S. Minor Outlying Islands:

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Current variant adopted in 1965.
  2. ^ Current variant adopted in 1879, officially used since 1933.
  3. ^ a b c The current Utah design was formally adopted in 1913, slightly modifying a 1911 definition which in turn modified the unofficial 1903 flag. In practice, however, flags continued to use the 1903 design until 1922. In 1985 it was discovered that the post-1922 de-facto standard did not match the 1913 definition; this persisted until 2011, when the legislature reaffirmed its 1913 definition and requested flag manufacturers to change to it.[12]

References

  1. ^ Artimovich, Nick. "Questions & Answers". North American Vexillological Association. p. 8. Archived from the original on April 17, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-20.
  2. ^ Kaye, Ted (2001-06-10). "NEW MEXICO TOPS STATE/PROVINCIAL FLAGS SURVEY, GEORGIA LOSES BY WIDE MARGIN". North American Vexillological Association. Archived from the original on October 19, 2013. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
  3. ^ a b c "State Flag of Alabama". Alabama Emblems, Symbols and Honors. Alabama Department of Archives & History. 2006-04-27. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
  4. ^ Anderson, Ed (November 22, 2010). "New Louisiana state flag with bleeding pelican is unfurled". The Times-Picayune. Archived from the original on November 24, 2010. Retrieved November 24, 2010.
  5. ^ Ramseth, Luke (November 4, 2020). "Mississippi voters approve new magnolia design for state flag. Here's what happens next". clarionledger.com. Clarion Ledger. Retrieved 4 November 2020.
  6. ^ "Mississippi Legislature 2020 Regular Session House Bill 1796". billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/. July 21, 2020. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  7. ^ "Official State Symbols of North Carolina". North Carolina State Library. State of North Carolina. Archived from the original on 2008-02-06. Retrieved 2008-01-26.
  8. ^ "The Oklahoma State Flag". NetState. NState, LLC. February 6, 2014. Retrieved January 26, 2015. Colors shall be colorfast and shall not bleed one into another. Added by Laws 1925, c. 234, p. 340, § 1. Amended by Laws 1941, p. 90, § 1; Laws 2006, c. 181, § 1, eff. Nov. 1, 2006.
  9. ^ "Enrolled Senate Bill No. 1359". Oklahoma State Courts Network. May 23, 2006. Retrieved January 26, 2015. This act shall become effective November 1, 2006.
  10. ^ "Oregon Almanac Topics - Dance to Hops - Flag, State". Retrieved 29 Jun 2020. Oregon is the only state whose flag has different patterns on each side. The design for the Oregon flag was adopted by the legislature in 1925.
  11. ^ Text states that Oregon adopted its flag in 1925
  12. ^
  13. ^ Commonwealth of Virginia (February 1, 1950). "§ 1-506. Flag of the Commonwealth". Code of Virginia. Virginia: Commonwealth of Virginia. Retrieved January 28, 2015. The flag of the Commonwealth shall be a deep blue field, with a circular white centre of the same material. Upon this circle shall be painted or embroidered, to show on both sides alike, the coat of arms of the Commonwealth, as described in § 1-500 for the obverse of the great seal of the Commonwealth; and there may be a white fringe on the outer edge, furthest from the flagstaff. This shall be known and respected as the flag of the Commonwealth. (Code 1950, § 7-32; 1966, c. 102, § 7.1-32; 2005, c. 839.)
  14. ^ "Symbols of Washington State". Washington State Legislature. Archived from the original on 2007-03-05. Retrieved 2007-03-11.
  15. ^ State of Wisconsin. "286". Section: 1.08: State flag. Laws of 1979. Retrieved August 21, 2015. The department of administration shall ensure that all official state flags that are manufactured on or after May 1, 1981, conform to the requirements of this section. State flags manufactured before May 1, 1981, may continue to be used as state flags.
  16. ^ a b Florida Constitution Revision Commission (August 4, 2005). "Amendments, Election of 11-6-1900". The Florida State University. Archived from the original on October 8, 2014. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  17. ^ General Assembly of Indiana (1903). Legislative and State Manual of Indiana. W.B. Burford. Retrieved May 25, 2022.
  18. ^ [1] Archived 2014-08-12 at the Wayback Machine While this flag was officially adopted by Louisiana in 1861 there is no indication that it actually flew over state buildings up to 1912. In that year (1912) the blue pelican flag was officially adopted after nearly 100 years of unofficial use.
  19. ^ "U.S. States L-M". WorldStatesmen.org. Retrieved May 23, 2022.
  20. ^ 1896-specification flag
  21. ^ New Mexico's First Flag (U.S.)
  22. ^ New Mexico Flag Hasn't Always Had a Zia Symbol; Earliest Version Boasted Quartz Crystals, by Rick N athanson
  23. ^ https://www.bia.gov/frequently-asked-questions BIA. U.S. Department of the Interior. Bureau of Indian Affairs. Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved September 7, 2019.
  24. ^ Klimeš, Roman (January 2011). "Lesser-Known Symbols of Minor U.S. Possessions" (PDF). NAVA News. 209.
  25. ^ Klimeš, Roman (January 2000). "The Flag of Wake Island" (PDF). NAVA News. 33.