The history of the state flag of Mississippi includes the state's secession from the Union, Reconstruction, and a vote in the 21st century to change the old design. Mississippi didn't have a flag on record until it seceded from the Union in 1861 and created one to represent the new sovereign nation of Mississippi. In 1894, the state legislature decided to create a new flag to coincide with the state's place in the reunited country. That flag had served as the official state flag of Mississippi for 107 years when a vote was held on whether or not to change the traditional design.
The decision of the people of Mississippi to secede from the Union prompted the need for a state flag of Mississippi. They initially adopted the Bonnie Blue Flag that had been used by the former Republic of Florida. This flag was simply a blue background with a white star in the middle and was only the official flag for a couple of weeks. The legislature quickly changed it by moving the blue square and white star to the corner of a white background, adding a magnolia tree to the middle and a red bar to the side.
Once the states were reunited at the end of the Civil War, Mississippi created a new flag with a Confederate battle flag in the corner and a red, a white, and a blue stripe going across it. This flag sent a mixed message about its origin. For example, the Confederate battle flag looked to most people like a symbol of Mississippi's membership in the Confederacy, but the official description of the flag calls it a Union square. There are 13 stars that fill the cross that could symbolize either the 13 original colonies or the 13 states that were a part of the Confederacy.
This kind of ambiguity in the meaning of the state flag of Mississippi led some people to question its validity in the 20th century. In 2001, Governor Musgrove signed a bill, allowing the people of Mississippi to vote to either keep the old flag or change to a new design that would cause less controversy. The new design had the same red, white, and blue stripes, but the corner square changed to a blue background with 19 little stars and one big star which represented Mississippi and the 19 other states that were a part of the Union in 1817. An overwhelming majority voted for the state flag of Mississippi to remain as it had been for over 100 years.