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What Is the History of the State Flag of Connecticut?

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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 02 October 2014
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The state flag of Connecticut was officially adopted in 1897, by a vote of the Connecticut General Assembly. It is believed that the flag they adopted had already been in informal use as the state flag of Connecticut for a number of years. The Anna Warner Bailey Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution is credited with drawing Connecticut Governor O. William Coffin's attention to the need for an official state flag. Governor Coffin made his proposal for such a flag to the Connecticut General Assembly on 29 May 1895, and the assembly is said to have immediately appointed a committee to design the flag. The official design of the state flag of Connecticut calls for a white coat-of-arms of rococo design, decorated with three grapevines and bordered with acorns and white oak leaves, beneath which a white banner bears the state motto of Connecticut, Qui Transtulit Sustinet (He who transplanted [us] continues to sustain [us]).

The five sets of oak leaves and acorns that typically decorate the border of the Connecticut flag's state shield are believed to symbolize strength, endurance, and age. The leaves and acorns are believed to represent the charter Oak, a large and venerable oak where colonists are said to have secreted their charter against attempts by King James II of England to revoke it in 1687.

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The three grape vines pictured on the state flag of Connecticut are believed to refer to the three original colonies that coalesced to form the larger colony known as Connecticut in about 1665. These three colonies were New Haven, Hartford, and Saybrook. The symbol of the three grapevines is believed to have been derived from the Saybrook Colony's official seal. This seal is believed to have once been the personal seal of Colonel George Fenwick, second governor of the colony from 1639 to 1644. The vines are said to represent luck, friendship, happiness, and peace.

Connecticut's Latin motto, which appears on a white banner at the base of the state flag of Connecticut, is believed to have been derived from the Latin Vulgate Version of the Christian Bible. The motto "Qui Transtulit Sustinet" translates to "He who transplants sustains," and it is believed to reference Psalms 70:3, "Thou has brought a vine out of Egypt: Thou has cast out the heathen, and planted it." The motto is also believed to have originally come from Colonel Fenwick's personal seal, and is said to express the belief that God ordained the foundation of the state of Connecticut and continues to preside over its prosperity.

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sunnySkys
Post 3

I actually saw a Connecticut state flag at a flag store recently. I have to say (and I mean no disrespect to residents of Connecticut) that I wasn't very impressed with the design.

However, apparently I'm not alone. A few weeks after that I read that an organization dedicated to studying flags had taken a survey about American state flags. Apparently, the Connecticut state flag ranked quite low among the flag experts!

starrynight
Post 2

@KaBoom - I believe most states decided on an official state flag are different points in time. As you said, it's not exactly a pressing concern.

I'm not surprised the Connecticut state flag has a religious saying on it. Although, I wonder if that will be challenged in the future. We seem to be moving more towards a real separation of church and state over the last few years. People have challenged prayer in school and things like that. It might be only a matter of time before someone challenges Connecticuts state flag!

KaBoom
Post 1

It's very interesting that Connecticut didn't have a state flag til almost 1900! For whatever reason, I always thought that most states had state flags since the Revolutionary war.

Although, I suppose picking a state flag probably wasn't the first order of business when the Founding Fathers were organizing the government and building this great nation!

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