Alaska State Flag History

Aug 26th, 2016

Alaska became the 49th state admitted to the Union on January 3, 1959. It officially adopted a state flag that same year. The flag has a blue field containing eight gold stars. Seven stars form the Big Dipper and the eighth symbolizes the North Star.


Alaska State Flag


The flag was designed by 13 year old Benny Benson in 1927. The Alaska American Legion held a flag design contest for the territory of Alaska. It could only be entered by all Alaskan children attending grades 7 through 12. Benny’s design was chosen out of more than one hundred entries.


Benny included a description with his entry outlining the meaning in his design:


·         Blue field: The Alaska sky and the Alaskan flower, the forget-me-not.

·         Big Dipper: The great bear as a symbol of strength

·         North Star: Represents Alaska when it becomes the northern most state in the Union.


As a reward, Benny received an engraved watch and a $1,000 scholarship. His flag design was officially adopted by the Territory of Alaska that same year.


Alaska became a territory in 1867 when it was purchased by the U.S. from Russia, but did not become a state in the Union until 1959. Benny had looked to the future of Alaska for his flag design rather than its then current status as a territory of the United States.


From 1867 until 1927, the Territory of Alaska did not have a state flag. It used the United States national flag to represent itself as a part of the United States.


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