History of the flags of the United States Article

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A 2.00 m × 1.70 m oil painting showing historical U.S. flags.

This article describes the evolution of the flag of the United States of America, as well as other flags used within the country, such as the flags of governmental agencies. There are also separate flags for embassies and boats.

National flags

Historical progression of designs

Since 1818, a star for each new state has been added to the flag on the Fourth of July immediately following each state's admission. In years which multiple states were admitted, the number of stars on the flag jumped correspondingly; the most pronounced example of this is 1890, when five states were admitted within the span of a single year ( North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Washington in November 1889 and Idaho on July 3, 1890). This change has typically been the only change made with each revision of the flag since 1777, with the exception of changes in 1795 and 1818, which increased the number of stripes to 15 and then returned it to 13, respectively.

As the exact pattern of stars was not specified prior to 1912, and the exact colors not specified prior to 1934, many of the historical U.S. national flags shown below are typical rather than official designs.

Other historical versions

Possible future designs

[ original research?]

With the addition of states, the U.S. flag increases the number of stars. Examples of possible designs for U.S. flags with up to 5 additional states are displayed here.

Executive branch flags

Office of the President

Office of the Vice President

Department of State

Department of the Treasury

Department of Defense

Department of Justice

Department of the Interior

Department of Agriculture

Department of Commerce

Department of Labor

Department of Health and Human Services

Department of Housing and Urban Development

Department of Transportation

Department of Energy

Department of Education

Department of Veterans Affairs

Department of Homeland Security

Other federal flags

Many agencies, departments, and offices of the U.S. federal government have their own flags, guidons, or standards. Following traditional American vexillology, these usually consist of the agency's departmental seal on a blank opaque background, but not always.

Uniformed services flags

Army

Marine Corps

Navy

Air Force

Coast Guard

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps (NOAA Corps)

State flags

Map showing the U.S. state flags of the 50 states

The flags of the U.S. states, territories and federal district exhibit a variety of regional influences and local histories, as well as different styles and design principles. Nonetheless, the majority of the states' flags share the same design pattern consisting of the state seal superimposed on a monochrome background, commonly every different shade of blue.

The most recent current state flag is that of Utah (February 16, 2011), while the most recent current territorial flag is that of the Northern Mariana Islands (July 1, 1985).

History

Modern U.S. state flags date from the 1890s, when states wanted to have distinctive symbols at 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]

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 design. [2] (Georgia adopted a new flag in 2003; Nebraska's state flag, whose design was rated second worst, remains in use to date.)

Current state flags

Dates in parentheses denote when the current flag was adopted by the state's legislature.

Territorial and commonwealth flags

Uninhabited territory flags

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 in use on five of these nine insular areas:

Associated state flags

While the countries mentioned are recognized independent nations with UN seats, the U.S. maintains and exercises jurisdictional control over the countries in defense, security, and funding grants.

County flags

Municipal organizations

City flags

Municipal organizations

Maritime flags

Ensigns

National

Since 1777, the national ensign of the United States has also simultaneously served as its national flag. The current version is shown below; for previous versions, please see the section Historical progression of designs above.

States

Other

Jacks

Native American tribal flags

Historical flags

American Revolutionary War

Former federal flags

Other states

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The Mississippi flag was first adopted in April 1894. However, it was repealed in 1906, remaining in de facto usage until its official re-adoption in April 2001.

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. ^ "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. ^ a b State of Mississippi (February 7, 2001). "Miss. Code Ann. § 3-3-16: Design of state flag". Mississippi Code of 1972. LexisNexis. HISTORY: SOURCES: Laws, 2001, ch. 301, § 2, eff from and after February 7, 2001 (the date the United States Attorney General interposed no objection under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, to the addition of this section.)
  6. ^ "Official State Symbols of North Carolina". North Carolina State Library. State of North Carolina. Retrieved 2008-01-26.
  7. ^ "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.
  8. ^ "Enrolled Senate Bill No. 1359". Oklahoma State Courts Network. May 23, 2006. Retrieved January 26, 2015. This act shall become effective November 1, 2006.
  9. ^ Text states that Oregon adopted its flag in 1925
  10. ^ Dan Bammes (2011-02-17). "Legislature: Fixing the Flag". KUER-FM. Retrieved 2011-02-17.
  11. ^ "Utah State Flag Concurrent Resolution, 2011 General Session, State of Utah". Retrieved February 17, 2011.
  12. ^ Keith McCord (12 February 2011). "Resolution aims to correct state flag goof". KSL-TV. Retrieved 16 February 2011.
  13. ^ Dennis Romboy (9 March 2011). "Utahns celebrate first State Flag Day". KSL-TV. Retrieved 10 March 2011.
  14. ^ 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.)
  15. ^ "Symbols of Washington State". Washington State Legislature. Archived from the original on 2007-03-05. Retrieved 2007-03-11.
  16. ^ 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.

External links