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What Is the History of Vermont's State Flag?

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  • Written By: Emily Espinoza
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 20 September 2016
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There are three versions of Vermont's state flag, the first from when Vermont became a part of the Union in 1791. The first version of the flag was adopted in 1803 and had a very similar style to that of the United States flag. The second version still resembled the US flag, but incorporated a few changes. The final version of Vermont's state flag steered away from the previous style and adopted a unique image that has remained in use ever since.

After becoming a part of the Union, the people of Vermont took a little over a decade to officially adopt a state flag of their own. The decision was finally made in October, 1803, when Vermont's state flag was first created. This first version copied the stars and stripes style of the country's flag with 17 stars and 17 red and white stripes. This number was actually greater than the number on the country's flag at the time but might have been in anticipation of further growth in the Union. This flag did have one main difference from the United States flag: it said "Vermont" in capital letters above the stars and stripes.

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In 1817, the growth of the country prompted a change in its flag and the national Congress adopted the 13 stripes and a star for each state that still exists today. This change prompted the Vermont legislature to also make a change, which officially occurred in October, 1838. The new design reduced the number of stripes to 13, just like the national flag and had one white star on a blue background. In the middle of the star was Vermont's coat of arms. This version remained unknown to most of the population and was so similar to the United States flag that it was not easily distinguished when the two were flying next to each other.

Those problems prompted a final change in Vermont's state flag that took place in 1923 and resulted in the flag that is still in use. The new flag was actually not a new idea at all, as it had been carried in battles during the Civil War and the Spanish American War by regiments from Vermont and had also been used as the Governor's flag. It consists of a deep blue background with Vermont's coat of arms displayed in the middle. The seal in the middle of the coat of arms dates back to 1779, and the coat of arms itself was established in 1821, so it had long been a symbol of the state of Vermont. It depicts some of the most important symbols of the state including the Green Mountains, sheaves of wheat, and the state's motto, "Freedom and Unity."

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