New York State FlagNew York State Flag

Adopted in 1901.

The state flag of New York was adopted in 1901. A modern version of a Revolutionary War flag, today's New York State flag is the coat of arms on a solid blue background. The legislature changed the field of the flag from buff to blue by a law enacted on April 2, 1901. The state seal of New York is the coat of arms surrounded by the words "The Great Seal of the State of New York." The original is at the Albany Institute of History and Art.

The NewYork State Flag

Coat of arms of New York

The coat of arms of the State of New York was formally adopted in 1778, and appears as a component of the State's flag and seal.

The shield displays a mast ship and a sloop on the Hudson River river (symbols of inland and foreign commerce), bordered by a grassy shore fringed with shrubs and a mountain range in the background with a cloudless sky and the sun rising rising sun behind three mountains, the highlands of the Hudson River. The unheraldic nature of the Hudson River landscape reveals the modern origin of the design.

The shield has two supporters:

  • Left: Liberty, with the Revolutionary imagery of a Phrygian cap raised on a pole. These caps were given to Roman slaves when emancipated and adopted by French Revolutionists as symbols of Liberty. Her left foot treads upon a crown that represents freedom from the British monarchy that once ruled what is now New York as a colony. Liberty is clothed in blue and wearing red sandals. Like Justice, a red robe hangs from her shoulder and her unbound hair is decorated with pearls.
  • Right: Justice, " her hair decorated with pearls, wearing a blindfold (representing impartiality) and holding scales (representing fairness) and a sword. These symbols represent the impartiality and fairness of justice required to mete out punishment and reward. Justice is clothed in gold with a blue belt edged with red. A loose red robe hangs from her

A white banner below the shield shows the motto Excelsior, a Latin word meaning "higher", "superior", "lordly", commonly translated as "Ever Upward"Signifying a reach for ever higher goals.

The shield is surmounted by a crest consisting of an Bald Eagle, wings spread, perched atop a world globe depicting the northern Atlantic Ocean. The eagle faces right, a good omen.

The State Flag depicts the Great Seal of the State of New York on a blue background.

New York Flag Law

Laws of New York, Title 1, Chapter 4.

Chapter 57

§ 70. Description of the arms of the state and the state flag. The device of arms of this state, as adopted March sixteenth, seventeen hundred and seventy-eight, is hereby declared to be correctly described as follows:

Charge. Azure, in a landscape, the sun in fess, rising in splendor or, behind a range of three mountains, the middle one the highest; in base a ship and sloop under sail, passing and about to meet on a river, bordered below by a grassy shore fringed with shrubs, all proper.

Crest. On a wreath azure and or, an American eagle proper, rising to the dexter from a two-thirds of a globe terrestrial, showing the north Atlantic ocean with outlines of its shores.

Supporters. On a quasi compartment formed by the extension of the scroll.

Dexter. The figure of Liberty proper, her hair disheveled and decorated with pearls, vested azure, sandaled gules, about the waist a cincture or, fringed gules, a mantle of the last depending from the shoulders behind to the feet, in the dexter hand a staff ensigned with a Phrygian cap or, the sinister arm embowed, the hand supporting the shield at the dexter chief point, a royal crown by her sinister foot dejected.

Sinister. The figure of Justice proper, her hair disheveled and decorated with pearls, vested or, about the waist a cincture azure, fringed gules, sandaled and mantled as Liberty, bound about the eyes with a fillet proper, in the dexter hand a straight sword hilted or, erect, resting on the sinister chief point of the shield, the sinister arm embowed, holding before her her scales proper.

Motto. On a scroll below the shield argent, in sable, Excelsior.

State flag. The state flag is hereby declared to be blue, charged with the arms of the state in the colors as described in the blazon of this section.


State Flags
State Flags

The Flags of the US.