The History Behind the N.C. Flag Design
Nicknamed “The Tar Heel State” and “The Old North State,” North Carolina was one of the thirteen British colonies in North America that declared its independence from Great Britain in 1776. North Carolina was the 12th state to be admitted to the Union by an act of Congress on November 21, 1789, and it will celebrate its 231st birthday in November 2020.
The celebration of North Carolina’s birthday is also an ideal time to learn more about the history and design of the state flag. Today’s North Carolina state flag features the colors of blue, red, white and gold. The selection of the flag colors was purposeful. As an exercise in color coordination, the North Carolina General Assembly of 1945 resolved that the blue and the red colors that are featured in the North Carolina flag should match those of the American flag. Focusing on the composition of the flag and its elements, the left side of the North Carolina state flag features a vertical blue bar that extends from the top to the bottom of the flag and prominently features a white, five-pointed star at its center. As abbreviations for the state name, a gold “N” is positioned to the left of the star and a gold “C” is positioned to the right of the star.
Two historically significant dates are featured in curved gold scrolls above and below the white star and the “N” and the “C” abbreviations. The first date of May 20, 1775, appears in blue at the top left of the flag and signifies the date the first declaration of independence from Great Britain was made throughout all thirteen colonies. The declaration occurred in North Carolina’s Mecklenburg County -- home of the city of Charlotte. The second date of April 12, 1776, appears in blue at the bottom left of the flag and signifies the date the North Carolina Assembly authorized its delegates to attend the Continental Congress to vote for independence. That action made North Carolina the first of the colonial governments to call for total independence from Great Britain.
To the right of the state flag’s vertical blue bar are two horizontal bars of equal size -- a red bar on the top right of the flag and a white bar on the bottom right of the flag. The current North Carolina state flag design was adopted in 1885. However, the dimensions of the flag were changed in 1991 and the flag was widened. Originally, the flag length was one-third more than its width. In 1991, the total length of the flag was changed to be one-half more than its width.
A bit more North Carolina flag trivia: Did you know that the date of May 20, 1775, featured in the flag’s top gold scroll, is embroiled in controversy? Historians contend that there is no existing documentation to validate the claim that the first declaration of independence from Great Britain was made on May 20, 1775, in North Carolina’s Mecklenburg County. They balk at the claims made by the author of an April 30, 1819, newspaper article which said his father was at the May 20, 1775, Mecklenburg Declaration meeting in which leaders decided to “throw off British rule” by signing a document, which was very soon after that destroyed in a fire. Instead, historians suggest that a more appropriate date to feature atop the North Carolina state flag would be May 31, 1775, the date that the Mecklenburg Resolves were drafted. The Mecklenburg Resolves document said British authority would not be recognized in the thirteen colonies until the British Empire ceased its oppressive governance.
N.C. Outdoor Flag Options
Our Patriarch® polyester North Carolina 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 and harsh weather. Our Patriarch® flags are available in the following sizes: 3’ x 5’, 4’ x 6’ and 5’ x 8’. Our Beacon® nylon North Carolina 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 the following sizes: 12” x 18”, 2’ x 3’, 3’ x 5’, 4’ x 6’, 5’ x 8’, 6’ x 10’ and 8’ x 12’.
North Carolina outdoor flags, indoor flags, flag sets, flag banners, mini flags and lapel pins 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.
Take a closer look at our outdoor Patriarch® and Beacon® Outdoor North Carolina flags in our video.