Iowa State Flag History

Sep 25th, 2016

Iowa became the 29th state to join the Union on December 26, 1846. The state did not adopt an official flag until 1921.


Iowa State Flag


In 1917, Iowa guardsmen on duty at the Mexican border did not have a state banner that would identify their regiment. Other states did have flags, so the guardsmen requested that one be sent to them. It was then that the governor discovered the state did not have a flag or banner. He ordered that a design be chosen quickly. Several designs were submitted. Out of those Dixie Cornell Gebhardt submitted the winning design, and it was officially adopted by the Iowa General Assembly in 1921. She was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.


Gebhardt’s design is steeped in Iowa history. The state was under French rule twice before becoming an American state. The flag colors were chosen because they resembled France’s national flag. She indicated that the colors and features represent the following:


·         Blue: Loyalty, justice and truth

·         Red: Courage

·         White: Purity, and the unwritten history when the state began with Indians and the first Americans living on its prairies

·         Eagle: Strength, and to symbolize United States and the fact that Iowa is a part of that nation

·         “Our Liberties We Prize, and Our Rights We Will Maintain”: The state motto


A North American Vexillological Association survey conducted in 2001 ranked Iowa’s flag 42 out of the 72 flags rated. Flag designs included Canadian provincial and U.S. states and territories.


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