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West Virginia State Flag

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West Virginia State Flag

The history of the West Virginia state flag, like that of the state itself, begins with the American Civil War. The flag of West Virginia began as a military banner that was carried into battle by the state's regiments, but it soon found its way into use as a general West Virginia flag in the years after the war's conclusion.

Colors and Symbolism of the West Virginia Flag

The field of the West Virginia flag is white with a dark blue border. The center of the flag contains the state's seal, which is surrounded by a wreath of great rhododendron leaves and flowers. The state seal depicts a farmer and a miner with a stone between them that proudly displays the date that West Virginia joined the United States. A pair of rifles are crossed beneath a liberty cap near the boulder, and the state's name and motto are written around the seal.

The white field of the West Virginia state flag is intended to represent purity, while the blue border represents the state's dedication to the Union. The crossed rifles and liberty cap represent the state's willingness to fight in the defense of liberty, while the two men on the seal represent the primary sources of the state's wealth. 

History of the Flag of West Virginia

West Virginia used a wide variety of unofficial flags in the period before it joined the Union, but none of them were ever given official status as state flags. Many of the flags were carried into battle during the American Civil War, but the majority of them were given to the soldiers by their supporters rather than the state government. 

The first official flag was designed specifically for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1905. It had the same field as the current flag, but it used a sprig of mountain laurel in place of the state's seal. It was replaced with a new flag of West Virginia which featured the state's seal in 1907. The flag of 1907 was replaced with the current flag in 1929. The change was motivated by a desire to make the flag cheaper to produce so that it could be given to every school in the state without straining the state's budget. The 1929 design has served its purpose well and has not changed since it was adopted.

A short history of the West Virginia State flag
West Virginia's official flag was adopted on March 7, 1929. The flag has a pure white field bordered by blue. The state seal is encircled by a garland of the state flower (rhododendron), in the center of the flag is pictured two men (a farmer and a miner) around a rock bearing the date June 20, 1863 (the day West Virginia split from Virginia during the Civil War, and became a state). One man is holding a pickax and the other a woodsman's ax, two hunting rifles are crossed in the foreground with a cap of Liberty upon them (a symbol of freedom). A red ribbon below the guns has the state motto, "Montani Semper Liberi" (meaning "Mountaineers are always free"). A large red ribbon above the seal reads, "STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA."

A short history of West Virginia (The Mountain State)
West Virginia became a state on June 20,1863 and their flag was adopted on March 7, 1929. Explorers traveled through the area in the 1660's, and settlers began to move there in the 1730's. West Virginia petitioned the Continental Congress for a separate government in 1776, and it finally separated from Virginia in 1863.

Became a State: June 20, 1863
Capital: Charleston
Current Flag Adopted: 1929
State Motto: Montani Semper Liberi ("Mountaineers are always free")