Every State’s Flag and What It Represents

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New Mexico
> Flag design: A red sun symbol of the Zia people on a field of gold
> Officially adopted on: 1925

The colors on the state flag are the red and yellow of the Spanish flag — the territory was part of Spanish Empire until the 19th century. The symbol of the ancient Zia sun represents the character of New Mexico. The Zia Indians of New Mexico view the sun, shown in the form of a red circle with rays pointing in four directions, as sacred. Four is the sacred number of the Zia, meaning the four points of the compass, the four seasons of the year, the four periods of each day, and the four stages of life.

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New York
> Flag design: State seal in the middle of dark blue field
> Officially adopted on: 1901

The center shield in the design of the flag displays a ship and a sloop on the Hudson River, symbolizing commerce. Liberty and Justice support the shield, and Liberty’s left foot treads on a crown, which represents freedom from Great Britain. Justice is blindfolded, symbolizing impartiality and fairness. A banner shows New York’s state motto in Latin, “Excelsior,” which means “ever upward.”

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North Carolina
> Flag design: A blue union, with white star in the middle, an ‘N’ in gilt on the left, and ‘C’ in gilt on the right
> Officially adopted on: 1885

The date May 20, 1775, on the upper ribbon on the flag is believed to refer to the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. April 12th, 1776, on the bottom ribbon commemorates the Halifax Resolves, a document that places North Carolina in the front rank of those that demanded unconditional freedom and absolute independence from any foreign power.

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North Dakota
> Flag design: Banner carried by the state’s troop in the Philippine-American War
> Officially adopted on: 1911

The olive branch that the bald eagle is holding on North Dakota’s state flag is a symbol of peace. The eagle carries a ribbon in its beak that reads the state motto, “E Pluribus Unum,” which is Latin for “out of many, one,” referring to the U.S. A shield with 13 stripes on the eagle’s breast represents the original colonies. The state flag conforms to the color, design, and size of the regimental flag used by North Dakota Infantry in the Spanish-American War in 1898.

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Ohio
> Flag design: 5 stripes alternating between red and white with an azure chevron containing a white and red ‘O’ and 17 white stars
> Officially adopted on: 1902

The unique swallowtail design of Ohio’s state flag was the creation of John Eisemann. The blue triangular field represents the state’s hills and valleys. The flag has 17 white stars — 13 around the circle for the original colonies and four at the apex of the triangle to raise to 17, representing Ohio as the 17th state to join the Union. The red and white stripes represent the roads and waterways of the state.

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