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What Is the History of the State Flag of Kansas?

Kansas joined the Union in 1861 but did not adopt a state flag until 1927.
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  • Written By: Emily Espinoza
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  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2014
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The state flag of Kansas was adopted in 1927 and contains a crest along with the state's official seal. Kansas became an official state in the Union in 1861, but it wasn't until 1927 that a state flag was adopted. On the top of the flag, the state's crest, with a meaning that dates back to the creation of Kansas as a state, is displayed. The Great Seal of the State of Kansas takes up the center of the flag and depicts several symbols that are important to the state's history and identity.

In 1927, the original design for the state flag of Kansas was adopted by the state legislature. It has a blue background with the state crest on the top, the state's seal in the middle, and "Kansas" in golden capital letters across the bottom. This flag was first used by Governor Ben Paulin at Fort Riley and for the Kansas National Guard. The design has basically been the same since it was first adopted, but it originally had only the seal and the crest. The state's name was added to the bottom in 1963.

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Some important symbols of the history of Kansas are shown in the crest that is displayed at the top of the state flag of Kansas. The top of the crest is a sunflower, which is the official flower of the state. Below the flower is a bar of blue and gold stripes, meant to symbolize the Louisiana Purchase. The Louisiana Purchase took place in 1803, when president Thomas Jefferson bought 828,000 square miles (1,332,536.83 sq. km) of land west of the Mississippi River, from France. This land doubled the area of the United States and allowed the creation of several new states, one of which was Kansas.

Long before the state flag of Kansas was designed, the seal was created during the first session of the state legislature in 1861. The seal has 34 stars which represent Kansas's place as the 34th state to join the Union, and the background depicts the hills near Fort Riley, where the flag was first used, and a rising sun in the east. A farmer plowing fields in front of his cabin is meant to depict the agriculture of the state, while a steamboat floating down the Kansas River represents the state's commerce. Some of Kansas' history is represented by the images of prairie schooners and American Indians hunting bison. Across the top of the seal is the state's motto, Ad astra per aspera, which means, "To the stars through difficulties."

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stl156
Post 4

I am wondering a little bit about the state flag of Kansas. I know that the Kansas state seal is what is depicted in the state flag, but were the designers of the state flag afraid to put its history into the flag due to the state being founded and known across the Union as Bleeding Kansas?

The only history I hear associated with the state of Kansas either concerns the founding of the state during the Civil War or it being the home state of President Dwight D Eisenhower. Besides those two historical tid bits there is little history I can see depicted in the flag.

That being said Bleeding Kansas was a very brutal area of the country during the early days of the Civil War, but it also established Kansas's place in the Union as a free state. I simply wonder if it was such a violent time in the state history that they chose to ignore it and not put it into their flag.

titans62
Post 3

@cardsfan27 - I have to say that the states in the Great Plains somewhat live a simpler life than those who live in other areas and that is because of what the land gives them and their very few urban centers.

Most of the states in the Great Plains have a focus towards agriculture or have a history that revolves around the settlement of the area in their state flags.

The only other route for them to follow as far as picking a state flag that makes sense is to pick something that is just official looking in order to make sure they have a decent state flag.

cardsfan27
Post 2

@matthewc23 - I understand what you mean. I come from Illinois and we have a flag that is more official looking and does not really reflect the culture of the state well or has much symbolism or history in the flag itself.

I feel like most flags do at least make a concerted effort to depict their state appropriately in the flag to at least provide a symbol for the people of the state to look at, but some of the states in the Great Plains have trouble depicting culture and history in their state flag, because they simply do not have as much to work with as other states on the Coasts.

Most of the flags in the Great Plains have to have more official looking flags and Kansas at least made some sort of attempt to incorporate culture and history into the state flag.

matthewc23
Post 1

I'm going to be totally honest, I do not like a lot of state flags that I see because I do not feel they reflect the history or the culture of the state well. I do not feel this way about Kansas's state flag, but I also do not feel like there is a whole lot to the flag itself.

I have been to Kansas and can see that although the people are nice there and there is some culture compared to other states East of the Mississippi, there is very little that can be chosen to be depicted in the flag.

I will say I do at least like the effort they put into the symbolism on the flag, that the flag itself has some state history and they put a sunflower in the seal, which has some association with the state.

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