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Florida State Flag History And Design

Written by
Rob Brittain
Published on
March 17, 2021 at 11:24:00 PM PDT March 17, 2021 at 11:24:00 PM PDTth, March 17, 2021 at 11:24:00 PM PDT

The History Behind the Florida State Flag Design

Nicknamed “The Sunshine State” state, Florida was the 27th state to be admitted to the Union by an act of Congress on March 3, 1845. As of March 2021, the state of Florida has celebrated its 176th birthday. Since March is Florida’s birthday month, now is an ideal time to learn more about the history and the design of the state flag. 

Since becoming a state in 1845, two official and several unofficial flags have flown over the state of Florida. Here is a timeline and description of Florida’s most prominent state flag designs:

1845 Unofficial Design: To commemorate the inauguration of William D. Moseley, Florida’s first governor in Tallahassee on June 25, 1845, Floridians created a multi-colored flag for the celebration. The flag featured five horizontal stripes. Each stripe was a different color. Listed in order from top to bottom, the colors of the stripes were: blue, orange, red, white and green. The American flag was featured at the top left of the 1845 flag design and covered a portion of the blue and the orange stripes. A white scroll with a blue outline was sewn on top of the orange stripe. Inside the scroll was a blue, three-word motto: “LET US ALONE.” Because the motto sparked controversy, the 1845 flag design was abandoned.

1861 Unofficial Design: On January 13, 1861, only three days after seceding from the Union, Colonel William H. Chase recommended a provisional state flag design. Known as the “Lone Star Flag,” Colonel Chase’s design featured 13 horizontal stripes that alternated in color from red to white. A blue square was positioned at the top left of the design and a single white five-pointed star was centered inside the blue square. Befitting its nickname, Colonel Chase’s flag design was identical to the one used by the Republic of Texas Navy from 1836-1845.

1861 First Official Design: Approximately two months after the introduction and use of the Lone Star Flag design, Florida’s general assembly directed Governor Madison S. Perry to oversee the creation of a new state flag. On September 13, 1861, the new design was adopted, which became Florida’s first official state flag. The design featured:

  • A blue left half of the flag, with an early version of the state’s seal centered on top of the blue background. Reflecting Florida’s military might, the seal prominently featured a cannon, rifles and artillery. The outer border of the seal included the words “IN GOD IS OUR TRUST” and “FLORIDA.”
  • Three equally-sized horizontal stripes on the right half of the flag, with red stripes on the top and the bottom of the design and a white stripe in the middle.

1868 Second Official Design: Florida’s second official state flag design was adopted on August 6, 1868, which earned Florida the distinction of being the first Southern state to adopt a new state flag design after the end of the Civil War. This 1868 flag design called for the state seal to be centered in the middle of a white flag that was “six feet six inches fly and six feet deep.” Also on August 6, 1868, Florida state legislators determined that the state seal would consist of “a view of the sun’s rays over a high land in the distance, a cocoa tree, a steamboat on water and an Indian female scattering flowers in the foreground, encircled by the words, ‘Great Seal of the State of Florida: In God We Trust.’”

Since its adoption in 1868, three key changes have been made to the 1868 Florida state flag design:

  • On November 6, 1900, Floridians approved a constitutional amendment that called for the addition of diagonal red bars to the design of the state flag. The rationale for adding the red bars was that, when the flag wasn’t flying, the state seal, at its center, couldn’t be seen, and the flag could be mistaken as a solid white flag of surrender.
  • In 1968, constitutional size dimensions for the state flag were replaced with proportional language for each flag element.
  • In 1985, the Florida state seal artwork was modernized to reflect the current state flag design that is in use today.

Even today, more than 120 years after the vertical red bars were added to Florida’s state flag, their addition remains bathed in controversy and public debate. Some see the red bars as a nod to the Spanish flag that flew over Florida in the 1500s. Others view them as forming a St. Andrew’s Cross. Many see them as nothing more than a large red “X,” while others consider them to pay homage to the Confederate battle flag. Although the later stance has been found to have no historical validity, the possibility of this symbolism continues to spark modern-day controversy.


Florida Outdoor Flag Options

Today, you can celebrate the state of Florida’s 176th birthday by displaying your own Florida state flag. Carrot-Top Industries’ outdoor Florida flags are made in the U.S.A. and come in two of Carrot-Top’s exclusive fabric brands: Patriarch® polyester and Beacon® nylon. These flags are expertly crafted with unsurpassed quality by the most experienced flag makers in the industry. Our flags feature fade-resistant colors, durable fabric and fray-resistant stitching. Both the Patriarch® polyester and the Beacon® nylon outdoor Florida flags are digitally printed with a single-reverse finish. Backed by the flag industry’s best six-month guarantee, we are committed to your satisfaction. Our guarantee covers any defects, fading or tearing, starting on the date of purchase. 

Our Patriarch® Polyester Florida flags are built with a super-strong, two-ply polyester that has the texture and feel of cotton. These flags are best for coastal zone locations and areas that frequently experience severe winds. Our Patriarch® Polyester Florida flags are available in a variety of sizes from 3’ x 5’ to as large as 5’ x 8’. Our Beacon® Nylon Florida flags are tailored with tough, durable, lightweight nylon that dries quickly and waves beautifully in the air. These flags are designed for low and moderate wind areas and are available in sizes from 12” x 18” to 8’ x 12’.

Florida outdoor flags, indoor flags, flag sets, flag banners and mini flags are available for order online. To determine the best outdoor flag material for your location and flagpole, please call 800-628-3524 to speak with a Customer Care Professional. You can also submit any questions about your flag order by email or schedule a convenient time for a consultation through Contact Our Team. We offer fast shipping on all of our in-stock products. 

Online References: Encyclopedia Britannica, Florida Department of State and MiamiHerald

Flag Images from Florida Department of State


Email us at marketing@carrot-top.com to share your comments or questions about this blog. You may also email us if you have a topic you would like us to cover or are interested in submitting an article as a guest writer.

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