Alabama State Flag History

Aug 21st, 2016

Alabama was the 22nd state admitted to the Union on December 14, 1819. The state did not adopt an official flag until 1895. The flag consists of a white field with a red St. Andrew cross extending from side to side. The Act that adopted the state flag did not comment on whether the flag should be rectangular, square, or some other shape.

 

Alabama Flag

 

Over the years, there was confusion on what shape the flag should be produced in. Some manufacturers produced square while others produced rectangular Alabama flags. In 1987, the Alabama Attorney General Don Siegelman, was asked to investigate the matter and issue an opinion. Siegelman determined that the flag should be rectangular. In support of that opinion, he stated that, since the 1895 Act did not address the shape of the flag, precedent supported a rectangular flag. As precedent, he used the shapes of other state flags, the fact that the Alabama flag had been illustrated in a rectangular shape in publications since 1896, was illustrated as rectangular in the Alabama Official and Statistical Register since 1907, and had been manufactured in that shape millions of times over the years.

 

Alabama did have other official flags. In 1861, a resolution was passed by the Secession Convention that designated the adoption of an official convention flag. That flag featured the Goddess of Liberty with the words “Independent Now and Forever” arched above her head. The other side featured a coiled rattlesnake and a cotton plant. Below the plant were the words “Noli Me Tangere”, meaning touch me not. That flag was flown from January 11 to February 10, 1861 when it was removed after being damaged by severe weather. The flag was never raised again.

 

Ala Repub Flag Side 1 Side 1                                                          Ala Repub Flag Side 2 Side 2

 

From March, 1861, until April, 1865, the Confederate National flag was flown. When the civil war ended, Alabama flew the United States flag.

 

In 2001, the North American Vexillological Association conducted a survey of flags that included Canadian provinces and American states and territories. The Alabama state flag was rated 29th out of 72 flags.

 

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