New Mexico State FlagNew Mexico State Flag

Adopted in 1925.

The state flag of New Mexico was adopted in 1925. The flag of the state of New Mexico consists of a red sun symbol of the Zia (Red symbol) on a field of yellow.

 Four is the sacred number of the Zia and can be found repeated in the four points radiating from the circle. The number four is embodied in the four points of the of the compass, North, East, South and West; in the four seasons of the year Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter; in the 24 hours of each day by sunrise, noon, evening and night; by four seasons of life, childhood, youth, adulthood and old age. The Zia also believed that with life came four sacred obligations: development of a strong body, a clear mind, a pure spirit and devotion to the welfare of people/family. All of these things are bound together within the circle of life.

The colors honor the flag of Aragon Realm and was brought by the conquistadors. It is one of only four US State Flags to not contain blue.

The New Mexico State Flag

Since 1912, when New Mexico entered the union, two official state flags have flown over this southwestern state.

The unofficial first flag of New Mexico

The first flag of New Mexico statehood was designed by New Mexico historian Ralph Emerson Twitchell, as authorized in 1915 during the San Diego World's Fair of 1915, the fair featured an exhibit hall in which all the state flags were displayed. Since New Mexico did not have an official flag, an unofficial flag was displayed, consisting of a blue field with a miniature United States flag in the upper left corner, the state's great seal in the lower right corner and "New Mexico" embroidered diagonally across the field from the lower left to the upper right corner.

New Mexico Flag of 1925

In 1920, the New Mexico Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) advocated the adoption of a flag representative of New Mexico's unique character. Three years later, the DAR conducted a design competition which was won by the distinguished Santa Fe physician and archeologist, Dr. Harry Mera. The doctor's wife, Reba, made the winning flag design with a symbolic red Zia on a field of yellow. In March of 1925, Governor Arthur T. Hannett signed the legislation which proclaimed the Mera design as the official state flag.

The State Flag of New Mexico has a modern interpretation of an ancient symbol of a sun design as seen on a late 19th century water jar from Zia Pueblo. This pueblo is thought to have been one of the Seven Golden Cities of C?ola, which explorer V?quez de Coronado sought. The red sun symbol was called a "Zia" and is shown on a field of yellow. This distinctive design reflects the pueblo's tribal philosophy, with its wealth of pantheistic spiritualism teaching the basic harmony of all things in the universe. Four is the sacred number of Zia, and the figure is composed of a circle from which four points radiate. To the Zia Indian, the sacred number is embodied in the earth with its four main directions; in the year with its four seasons; in the day, with sunrise, noon, evening and night; in life, with its four divisions - childhood, youth, adulthood and old age. Everything is bound together in a circle of life, without beginning, without end. The Zia believe, too, that in this great brotherhood of all things, man has four sacred obligations: he must develop a strong body, a clear mind, a pure spirit, and a devotion to the welfare of his people.

The red and yellow are the colors of Isabel of Castilla which the Spanish Conquistadors brought to the New World. The symbol's proportions are fixed by legislative act, with the four groups of rays set at right angles, the two inner rays one-fifth longer than the outer rays. The diameter of the circle in the center is one third the width of the symbol.

The flags of Spain, the Republic of Mexico, the Confederate States of America, and the United States of America have all flown over the "Land of Enchantment" during the long history of the state.

The words to the salute were composed by Mrs. T.K. Martin, Mrs. W.B. Oldham, Mrs. Thomas E. Mears, Jr., and Mrs. James D. Turner of the Portales Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Mr. Thomas E. Mears, Jr. wrote the proposal for presentation to the 26th Legislature which adopted the salute on March 13, 1963. The Spanish version was translated by Maria E. Naranjo of Larragoite School in Santa Fe, and adopted by the 31st Legislature in 1973.

New Mexico Flag Law

New Mexico Statutes and Court Rules, Chapter 12, Article 3.

CHAPTER 12 Miscellaneous Public Affairs Matters
ARTICLE 3 State Seal, Song and Symbols
12-3-2. [Adoption of flag for state of New Mexico.]

That a flag be and the same is hereby adopted to be used on all occasions when the state is officially and publicly represented, with the privilege of use by all citizens upon such occasions as they may deem fitting and appropriate. Said flag shall be the ancient Zia sun symbol of red in the center of a field of yellow. The colors shall be the red and yellow of old Spain. The proportion of the flag shall be a width of two-thirds its length. The sun symbol shall be one-third of the length of the flag. Said symbol shall have four groups of rays set at right angles; each group shall consist of four rays, the two inner rays of the group shall be one-fifth longer than the outer rays of the group. The diameter of the circle in the center of the symbol shall be one-third of the width of the symbol. Said flag shall conform in color and design described herein.

History: Laws 1925, ch. 115, § 1; C.S. 1929, § 128-101; 1941 Comp., § 3-1302; 1953 Comp., § 4-14-2.

12-3-3. Salute to state flag.

The official salute to the state flag is: "I salute the flag of the state of New Mexico, the Zia symbol of perfect friendship among united cultures."

History: 1953 Comp., § 4-14-2.1, enacted by Laws 1963, ch. 120, § 1. 

12-3-7. Spanish language salute to the state flag.

The official Spanish language salute to the state flag is: Saludo la bandera del estado de Nuevo Mejico, el simbolo zia de amistad perfecta, entre culturas unidas.

History: 1953 Comp., § 4-14-4.2, enacted by Laws 1973, ch. 185, § 1.

State Flags
State Flags

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