West Virginia State FlagWest Virginia State Flag

Adopted on March 7, 1929.

The flag of the state of West Virginia consists of the state's coat of arms on a white field with a dark blue border. The coat of arms, primarily consisting of the state seal, is featured in the flag's center. The coat of arms symbolizes the state's principal pursuits and resources. The obverse side of the seal bears the legend "State of West Virginia" together with the state motto, Montani Semper Liberi ("mountaineers are always free"). A farmer stands to the left and miner to the right of a large ivy draped rock bearing the date of the state's admission to the Union, June 20, 1863. In front of the rock lie two rifles upon which rests a red Phrygian cap, or cap of liberty. The lower half of the coat of arms is wreathed by the rhododendron, the state flower. The white stands for purity while the blue border represents the Union. The current flag was adopted by the West Virginia legislature on 7 March 1929.

The West Virginia State Flag

Prior to the official adoption of the present State Flag by the Legislature on March 7, 1929, by Senate Joint Resolution No. 18, West Virginia had been represented by several flags. Prominently displayed on the pure white field of today's flag is a Coat of Arms, the lower half wreathed by Rhododendron, the State flower. Lettered across the top on a ribbon, is the constitutional designation - "State of West Virginia". The white field is bordered on four sides by a strip of blue.

West Virginia was admitted to the Union as a Free State with the agreement that current conditions of slavery would be phased out. President Lincoln approved the statehood bill for West Virginia on January 1, 1863. On April 20, 1863, West Virginia was proclaimed a State, effective 60 days later on June 20, 1863.

Another prominent component of the State flag is West Virginia's State flower, big laurel (Rhododendron maximum), adopted in 1903.

The following year, 1904, St. Louis, Missouri staged an exposition, "The Louisiana Purchase Exposition," also know as the Saint Louis World's Fair.

West Virginia needed a flag at the exposition to represent itself. A white flag with blue borders that featured the State flower on the front side and the West Virginia coat of arms on the back side was created. This flag was not an official representative of the State of West Virginia when it appeared at the exposition, but on February 24, 1905, the West Virginia Legislature made it so.

Evidently, this design sparked some discontent and, two years later on February 25, 1907, changes were officially approved. The coat of arms was moved to the front side of the flag and the big laurel was moved to the back side of the flag. Additionally, a red ribbon, reading "State of West Virginia" was added below the coat of arms.

Producing a flag with a difference between the front and back side was expensive. To correct this, big laurel, the coat of arms, and the red ribbon were combined to create a display to appear on both sides of the flag.

The West Virginia Legislature approved Senate Joint Resolution No. 18 on March 7, 1929. Resolution No. 18 described the West Virginia State flag the flies over the Capitol today.

West Virginia Senate Joint Resolution No. 18

Senate Joint Resolution No. 18

WHEREAS, The legislature of West Virginia, by joint resolution passed on the twenty-fourth day of February, one thousand nine hundred and five, adopted a state flag, prescribing the design thereof; and

WHEREAS, The design so adopted is impractical of manufacture, making the cost of purchase thereof prohibitive to the schools of the state and others desiring to purchase said flag; and

WHEREAS, There has been worked out a design embodying all of the features of the first West Virginia state flag so adopted, but so designed as to be practical of manufacture at a reasonable cost to those desiring to purchase the same; and

WHEREAS, It seems desirable to change the design of the West Virginia state flag; therefore, be it


That the Legislature of West Virginia hereby adopts a State Flag of the following design and proportions, to-wit:

The proportions of the flag of the State of West Virginia shall be the same as those of the United States ensign; the field shall be pure white, upon the center of which shall be emblazoned in proper colors, the coat-of arms of the State of West Virginia upon which appears the date of the admission of the State into the Union, also with the motto, 'Montani Semper Liberi' (Mountaineers Are Always Free). Above the coat-of-arms of the State of West Virginia there shall be a ribbon lettered, 'State of West Virginia,' and arranged appropriately around the lower part of the coat-of-arms of the State of West Virginia a wreath of Rhododendron maximum in proper colors. The field of pure white shall be bordered by a strip of blue on four sides. The flag of the State of West Virginia when used for parade purposes shall be trimmed with gold colored fringe on three sides and when used on ceremonial occasions with the United States ensign, shall be trimmed and mounted in similar fashion to the United States flag as regards fringe, cord, tassels, and mounting."

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