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Montana State Flag

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State Flag of Montana

The Montana state flag has a simple design that emphasizes the state's natural bounty. It shares many of its design elements with other state flags, which reflects the close bond that Montana has with the other states in America.

Colors and Symbolism of the Montana State Flag

The State flag of Montana consists of a dark blue field with the Montanan state seal in the center and the state's name above the seal. The blue field resembles the blue of the national flag, which emphasizes Montana's place as part of a larger union. The state seal reflects Montana's unique heritage, so the combination of the two design elements emphasizes the fact that Montana remains a unique part of a greater whole.

The state seal in the middle of the Montana state flag depicts the Great Falls of the Missouri River, which are among the state's most recognizable landmarks. A pick, a shovel, and a plow are next to the falls and they represent the occupations that helped to drive the state's early economic development. The bottom of the seal features the state's motto, "Oro y plata." The motto is one of the few in America that is officially rendered in Spanish, and it can be translated as "Gold and silver."

History of Montana State Flags

Montana state flags began as military banners during the Spanish-American war. The earliest such flag was carried by the First Montana Infantry in 1898. The regiment was originally meant to be represented by a national flag, but the the unit's commanding officer thought that his men should have a unique banner of their own. He commissioned a banner on his own initiative, and that banner featured the Montana state seal on a blue field. It also displayed the regiment's name where the state's name can be found on modern Montana state flags. The First Montana Infantry carried that flag into battle for the duration of the war.

The regimental banner was adapted to make the state flag of Montana by removing the regimental name in 1905. The state's name was added to the flag in 1981, and the font was specified in 1985. The flag has remained in use without any changes since that time.

A short history of the Montana State flag
When troops from Montana fought in the Philippine War of 1898, they carried a flag based on the old tradition of the state seal on a blue background, and there were additions of various inscriptions. In February 1905 this flag was adopted, but without the inscriptions. In 1864, Montana became a Territory, and the seal was seen for the first time the following year. It consisted of landscape of the Great Falls of the Missouri River, and the Rocky Mountains. On the original version various animals were seen but have since been removed. Montana has become a rich agricultural state due the extensive irrigation, which is indicated by the plough in the foreground. The mining implements remind us that the state is also abundant in minerals. The motto refers not only to the district's period under Spanish rule, but also to the minerals located in the state. In October of 1981 the military dimensions of the flag were changed to the more usual ones, and the states name was placed above the seal.

A short history of Montana (The Treasure State)
Montana lies on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, which gives it its name. It became part of the U.S.A. with the Louisiana Purchase, and settled sparsely until the gold strikes of the 1860's. In 1864 it became a Territory, and a state on November 8, 1889.

Area of Montana: 147,138 sq. miles
Capital: Helena
Major Products: Oil, copper and other minerals, wheat, tourism
State Motto: Oro y plata ("Gold and silver")