New Jersey State Flag History

Oct 18th, 2016

New Jersey was the 3rd of the original American colonies to be admitted to the Union on December 18, 1787. It did not adopt an official state flag until 1896, 109 years after it became a state.


New Jersey Flag


The field is buff colored and features the state seal in its center. Buff was chosen in honor of New Jersey’s original Dutch settlers, and the dark blue in the seal was chosen because it was used by the Netherlands. The colors were chosen by General George Washington for use on New Jersey Continental Line regimental uniforms. In 1780, Continental War officers ordered regiments to carry the U.S. flag and a state flag that had the same colors as the uniform facings.


The state seal was created in 1777 by Pierre Eugene du Simitiere. The five symbols contained in the seal are directly related to New Jersey.


New Jersey Seal


·         Helmet and horse head: represents the independence of New Jersey as a state.

·         Liberty: This is the image of a woman holding a staff that has a liberty cap on top. Liberty caps were viewed as a symbol of freedom by former Roman slaves in ancient Rome. The caps became popular during the Revolutionary War.

·         Ceres: The Roman goddess of grain is shown on the right holding a cornucopia that is filled with New Jersey produced fruits and vegetables.

·         Shield: Three plows are featured on the shield to represent New Jersey’s agricultural tradition.

·         Scroll or Ribbon: 1776 is the year that New Jersey became a state, and the words “Liberty and Prosperity” is New Jersey’s state motto.


In a 2001 flag design survey conducted by the North American Vexillological Association, New Jersey’s flag was ranked 46 out of the 72 Canadian Provincial and U.S. state and territory flags that were rated. Most states that include the state seal or coat of arms ranked very low in the survey, especially those states that use a blue field.


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