Did you know that you’d be breaking state law if you mispronounce the word “Arkansas” while in the state? Arkansas was named by French settlers, so, like many French words, the “s” at the end of “Arkansas” is silent. Make sure you practice before visiting!
Esthetically speaking, unlike the Arizona state flag, not many people are fond of Arkansas’ flag. To its defense, it may appear to be simple, but in fact, it is rich in symbolism. According to the Arkansas Secretary of State, the large diamond represented its status as “the only diamond-bearing state in the Union” at the time it was designed (before diamonds were found in Montana and Colorado).
The 25 stars bordering the diamond reminds us that Arkansas was the 25th state admitted to the Union, while the three blue stars below the state’s name in the center of the flag have a double meaning. Arkansas has been part of three countries: Spain, France, and the United State, and it was also the third state to come out of the Louisiana Purchase. Three seems to be a pretty significant number in the state’s history.
The top lone star, added in 1923, represents the Confederacy, and you may also notice how the border around the white diamond evokes the iconic saltire on the Confederate battle flag.
Many (non-Alaskan) Americans may not realize that Alaska is the largest state in the union! It's twice the size of Texas and approximately 1/5 of the entire U.S.A.
In 1926, the Alaskan-American Legion, in cooperation with the territorial governor, held a flag-designing contest for children. The unanimous winner was a flag designed by 13-year-old , John “Benny” Benson, from an orphanage in Unalaska, Alaska.
Benson said that he looked to the sky for inspiration, as his design incorporated the familiar constellation he'd admire every night. Eight stars- the Big Dipper constellation, and the North Star, on a field of blue, also a reference to the Alaskan sky and its prominent Forget-me-Not flower (which later officially became the state flower).
Benson had even attached his interpretation of the design with his submission: “The North Star is for the future of the state of Alaska, the most northerly in the Union. The Dipper is for the Great Bear—symbolizing strength.” He was awarded US$1,000 and an engraved watch for his great achievement.
Fun fact: Did you know that the current flag of the U.S.A, with 50 stars and 13 stripes, was also designed by a teenager? In 1958, 17-year-old, high school student, Robert G. Heft, of Lancaster, Ohio submitted his flag design in competition, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower chose it out of 1,500 entries!
Arizonans are usually very proud of their state flag, and they aren't the only ones who admire it! Back in 2001, in a poll conducted by the North American Vexillological Association, the Arizona flag ranked sixth of 72 North American flags, making it one of the "10 best flags on the continent,".
The Arizona state flag was adopted in 1917. According to the Arizona Secretary of State, the flag was purposely designed to consist of two distinct halves.
The top includes 13 alternating red and yellow rays represent the original 13 colonies. The yellow and red colors are an ode to the Spanish flags carried by Francisco Vázquez de Coronado when he explored Arizona but also represent the state's picturesque horizon.
The bottom half is solid blue, a tribute to the U.S.A. flag, while the large copper-hued star in the center represents Arizona’s status as the number one producer in the nation. What a beautiful flag indeed!
If you can't bear a crowd (no pun intended), then stay away from California, or at least from its big cities. With 39.56 million residents, it is the USA's most populous state, and three out of the ten largest cities in the country are located in California: Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Jose
Officially adopted in 1911, the flag of California made its debut way before then in 1846, as an act of rebellion against Mexico, its governer at the time. The California grizzly bear, once ubiquitous to state, symbolizes strength but was also intended to intimidate Mexican authorities. The red star is said to be an ode to the “lone star of Texas.”
If the image of a bear doesn't exactly bring a picture of California to mind, it's because they're no longer there. California was formerly known as the Grizzly Bear State; however; the once iconic California grizzly bear is now extinct. So, California later became known as “the Golden State.”
Today, some Californians have expressed their desire for a new state flag. Not only is the bear image misleading but some feel that it's strongly associated with a period that no longer reflects the state's spirit.
What do you think? Can you think of any U.S. flags that are due for a makeover?
Coloradans most likely know that their state's name is Spanish for 'red-colored', referring to its red-hued earth.
Colorado's is another state flag that was adopted in 1911, and it was heavily inspired by its scenic nature. The blue represents the state’ open blue skies and the white stripe symbolizes its snowcapped Rockie mountains.
The letter “C” in the center of the flag is the same red used in the U.S. flag but also represents Colorado's rich red earth, and the golden disk inside the “C” celebrates the state’s abundant sunshine.