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History of the flags of the United States

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A 2.00 m × 1.70 m oil painting showing historical USA flags.

This is a list of flags in the United States who describes the evolution of the flag of the United States, as well as other flags used within the United States, such as the flags of governmental agencies. There are also separate flags for embassies and ships.

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 in which multiple states have been admitted, the number of stars on the flag has jumped correspondingly. The greatest example so far was in 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 3 July 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.[citation needed]

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) have had varied designs.[citation needed]

Other historical versions

Possible future designs

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 five 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 the Army

Army

Department of the Navy

Marine Corps
Navy

Department of the Air Force

Air Force
Space Force

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

Coast Guard

Legislative branch flags

Congress

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.

State and territory flags

Map showing the flags of the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the 5 major U.S. territories

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 Mississippi (November 3, 2020, officially January 11, 2021), 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.

Current federal district flag

Current territory 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 two of these nine insular areas:

County flags

City flags

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


Associated state flags

While the countries mentioned are recognized independent nations with United Nations seats, the United States maintains and exercises jurisdictional control over the countries in defense, security, and funding grants.

Historical flags

[U.S.] American Revolutionary War

Former federal flags

Other states

Former territories and administered areas

See also

Notes

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. ^ "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.
  6. ^ "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.
  7. ^ "Enrolled Senate Bill No. 1359". Oklahoma State Courts Network. May 23, 2006. Retrieved January 26, 2015. This act shall become effective November 1, 2006.
  8. ^ Text states that Oregon adopted its flag in 1925
  9. ^ Dan Bammes (2011-02-17). "Legislature: Fixing the Flag". KUER-FM. Retrieved 2011-02-17.
  10. ^ "Utah State Flag Concurrent Resolution, 2011 General Session, State of Utah". Retrieved February 17, 2011.
  11. ^ Keith McCord (12 February 2011). "Resolution aims to correct state flag goof". KSL-TV. Retrieved 16 February 2011.
  12. ^ Dennis Romboy (9 March 2011). "Utahns celebrate first State Flag Day". KSL-TV. Retrieved 10 March 2011.
  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.

External links


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