Flag of Texas

Last updated
State of Texas
Flag of Texas.svg
Name The Lone Star Flag
Use Civil and state flag
AdoptedJanuary 25, 1839 (by the Republic of Texas)
Readopted: August 31, 1933 ( De facto use 1879–1933) [1]
Design⅓ of the hoist is blue containing a single centered white star. The remaining field is divided horizontally into a white and red bar.
Designed byUnknown [2]

The flag of Texas is the official flag of the U.S. state of Texas. It is well known for its prominent single white star which gives the flag its commonly-used name: "Lone Star Flag". This lone star, in turn, gives rise to the state's nickname: "The Lone Star State." The flag, flown at homes and businesses statewide, is highly popular among Texans and is treated with a great degree of reverence and esteem within Texas.

Texas State of the United States of America

Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, and has a coastline with the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast.


Flag design

The state flag is officially described by law as:

a rectangle that: (1) has a width to length ratio of two to three; and (2) contains: (A) one blue vertical stripe that has a width equal to one-third the length of the flag; (B) two equal horizontal stripes, the upper stripe white, the lower stripe red, each having a length equal to two-thirds the length of the flag; and (C) one white, regular five-pointed star: (i) located in the center of the blue stripe; (ii) oriented so that one point faces upward; and (iii) sized so that the diameter of a circle passing through the five points of the star is equal to three-fourths the width of the blue stripe. [3]

History and adoption

Lone Star Flag, flying on the Houston Ship Channel tour boat, on April 2, 2016. TexasFlagHoustonShipChannelTourBoat02Apr16.jpg
Lone Star Flag, flying on the Houston Ship Channel tour boat, on April 2, 2016.

Legislation authorizing this flag was introduced in the Congress of the Republic of Texas on December 28, 1838, by Senator William H. Wharton [1] and was adopted on January 25, 1839, as the final national flag of the Republic of Texas. [1] "Accompanying the original Act ... is a drawing by Peter Krag of the national flag and seal ... although in the original President Lamar's approval and signature are at the top and upside down[.]" [4] When Texas became the 28th U.S. state on December 29, 1845, the national flag became the state flag. From 1879 until 1933 there was no official state flag, although the Lone Star Flag remained the de facto state flag; in adopting the Revised Civil Statutes of 1879, [5] the Legislature repealed all statutes not expressly continued in force; since the statutes pertaining to the flag were not among those renewed, Texas was formally flagless until the passage of the 1933 flag law. [1]

Republic of Texas independent sovereign nation in North America that existed from March 2, 1836, to February 19, 1846

The Republic of Texas was a sovereign state in North America that existed from March 2, 1836, to February 19, 1846. It was bordered by Mexico to the west and southwest, the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast, the two U.S. states of Louisiana and Arkansas to the east and northeast, and United States territories encompassing parts of the current U.S. states of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico to the north and west. The citizens of the republic were known as Texians.

William H. Wharton early colonist, political leader, diplomat, Senator, and orator in Texas

William Harris Wharton was an American colonist, diplomat, senator and statesman in early Texas.

National flag flag of a country or nation

A national flag is a flag that represents and symbolizes a country. The national flag is flown by the government of a country, but can usually also be flown by citizens of the country. A national flag is designed with specific meanings for its colours and symbols. The colours of the national flag may be worn by the people of a nation to show their patriotism, or related paraphernalia that show the symbols or colours of the flag may be used for those purposes.

The actual designer of the flag is unknown. [1] Some claim that Dr. Charles B. Stewart is either the designer of the flag or drew the image used by the Third Congress when enacting the legislation adopting the flag. [6] [7] However, Stewart's drawing "looks suspiciously like a tracing of the Peter Krag art, including the upside down signature of President Lamar." [4]  

Charles Bellinger Tate Stewart was an American-born pharmacist, doctor, and political leader in the Republic of Texas. He was born in Charleston, South Carolina, but moved to Texas in 1830. Stewart was a delegate from the Municipality of Austin to the Convention of 1836 where he signed the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico. He was a member of the committee that drafted the Constitution of the Republic of Texas. On March 8, 1836, two days after The Alamo fell, Stewart absented himself from the Convention for a few days to get married. On March 11, 1836, he married Julia Shepperd in the Lake Creek Settlement. Stewart returned to the Convention on March 16, 1836 and signed the Constitution of the Republic of Texas on March 17, 1836. He moved to Montgomery, Texas in 1837 and later attended the state constitutional convention of 1845. He represented Montgomery County in the Texas House of Representatives.

Colors and symbolism

The exact shades of red, white, and blue to be used in the flag are specified by Texas statute [8] to be the same as those of the flag of the United States, which are:

Flag of the United States National flag

The flag of the United States of America, often referred to as the American flag, is the national flag of the United States. It consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton bearing fifty small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows, where rows of six stars alternate with rows of five stars. The 50 stars on the flag represent the 50 states of the United States of America, and the 13 stripes represent the thirteen British colonies that declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and became the first states in the U.S. Nicknames for the flag include the Stars and Stripes, Old Glory, and the Star-Spangled Banner.

Color Cable color Pantone [9] Web color [10] RGB Values
     Red70180193 C#BF0D3E(191,13,62)
     Dark Blue70075281 C#00205B(0,32,91)

The Texas Flag Code assigns the following symbolism to the colors of the Texas flag: blue stands for loyalty, white for purity, and red for bravery. [11] The code also states that the single (lone) star "represents ALL of Texas and stands for our unity as one for God, State, and Country."

Symbol something that represents an idea, a process, or a physical entity

A symbol is a mark, sign or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, object, or relationship. Symbols allow people to go beyond what is known or seen by creating linkages between otherwise very different concepts and experiences. All communication is achieved through the use of symbols. Symbols take the form of words, sounds, gestures, ideas or visual images and are used to convey other ideas and beliefs. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a blue line might represent a river. Numerals are symbols for numbers. Alphabetic letters may be symbols for sounds. Personal names are symbols representing individuals. A red rose may symbolize love and compassion. The variable 'x', in a mathematical equation, may symbolize the position of a particle in space.

The idea of the single red stripe and single white stripe actually dates back to the short-lived Republic of Fredonia, a small state near modern Nacogdoches which seceded from Mexico in 1826 before being forcibly re-integrated. The new state was formed through an alliance between local Anglo settlers and Native American tribes and the Fredonian flag used a white and red stripe to symbolize the two ethnic/racial groups from which the state was formed. [12] Though this rebellion ultimately failed it served as an inspiration to the later Texas Revolution.

The idea of the "lone star" is, in fact, an older symbol predating the flag which was used to symbolize Texans' solidarity in declaring independence from Mexico. [13] A similar lone star was on the "Burnet Flag," which was resembled the flag of the short-lived Republic of West Florida. [14] The "Lone Star" is still seen today as a symbol of Texas' independent spirit, and gave rise to the state's official nickname "The Lone Star State."

Pledge of allegiance and flag protocol

Proper vertical display of the Texas flag Flag of Texas (proper vertical display).svg
Proper vertical display of the Texas flag

The pledge of allegiance to the state flag is as follows:

The pledge was instituted by the Texas Legislature in 1933, and originally referred to the "Texas flag of 1836" (which was the Burnet Flag, and not the Lone Star Flag then in use). In 1965, the error was corrected by deleting the words "of 1836." In 2007, the phrase "one state under God" was added. [15] The addition of "under God" has been challenged in court, though an injunction was denied. [16] As of 2001 (amended 2017) [17] , recite the pledge by holding your head cover with your right hand and placing that hand over your heart. However, if in uniform, render a military salute.

The flag is required by law to be displayed on or near the main administration building of each state institution during each state or national holiday, and on any special occasion of historical significance, [3] permanently above both doors of the Texas State Capitol, alone at the north door, and under the U.S. flag at the south door, with the exception being if the flags are at half mast or if the POW/MIA flag is being flown with the U.S. flag; in which event the Texas flag shall only fly at the North Door. [18] State law also requires that the state flag be flown at or near any International Port of Entry. [19] When displayed vertically, the blue stripe should be at top and, from the perspective of an observer, the white stripe should be to the left of the red stripe. [20]

Historical flags of Texas

National flags over Texas

Pre-Revolutionary flags

Revolutionary flags

During revolutionary eras of Texas history, during the Spanish Texas period, Mexican Texas period, and the times of the Texas Revolution, a great number and variety of flags appeared.

The Lone Star and Stripes/Ensign of the First Texas Navy/War Ensign flag was widely used by both Texan land and naval forces. This flag was simply the United States flag with a Lone star in the canton. This flag echoes an earlier design, carried by the forces of James Long in failed 1819 and 1821 attempts to separate Texas from Spanish control. This earlier flag was exactly the same, save for the canton having a red background rather than blue. There is evidence that the Lone Star and Stripes was used at the battles of Goliad, the Alamo, and San Jacinto, and the first Congress of the Republic of Texas as convened under it in 1836. Although interim President David Burnet issued a decree making the Lone Star and Stripes the first official flag of the Republic of Texas, it never became the legal national flag. It did remain the naval flag of Texas until annexation, and was noted for being "beneficial to our [Texan] Navy and Merchantmen" due to its resemblance to the U.S. flag. Despite its unofficial status, the flag remained well known inside the region and internationally as the symbol of Texas. The official blue and gold "Burnett Flag," on the other hand, was little known by Texans, and no contemporary illustrations of it have been discovered except for on the first series 2 dollar note of the Texas Dollar. An 1837 chart of national flags printed in Philadelphia showed the Lone Star and Stripes as the national flag of Texas, and Texas Senator Oliver Jones, who led the 1839 committee which approved the Lone Star Flag, was unaware that the Lone Star and Stripes was not the current official flag. [23] Later, prior to the American Civil War, this flag was carried by Floridian militiamen in Pensacola during the seizure of U.S. property in that city.[ citation needed ]

The "Come and Take It Flag" was created by the people of Gonzales, featuring the phrase, a black five pointed star, and the image of the town cannon Mexican forces had demanded they turn over. In March 1831, Juan Gomez, a lieutenant in the Mexican Army, granted a small cannon to the colony of San Antonio. It was then transported to Gonzales, Texas and later was the object of Texas pride. At the minor skirmish known as the Battle of Gonzales, a small group of Texans successfully resisted the Mexican forces who had orders to seize their cannon. As a symbol of defiance, the Texans had fashioned a flag containing the phrase along with a black star and an image of the cannon which they had received six years earlier from Mexican officials.

The so-called "Alamo Flag" or "1824 flag" was created by replacing the Eagle in the center of the Mexican tricolor with the year "1824," referencing the 1824 Constitution of Mexico, in support of which Texas was fighting. This was the first flag approved for use by rebel forces by a Texan legislative body. In 1835, the Texan provisional government approved the use of this flag for privateers preying on Mexican commerce. It has often been said that the 1824 flag was flown by Texan forces at the Battle of the Alamo. However, this was never alleged until 1860, long after the battle had occurred. Modern writers have pointed out that the presence of the 1824 flag at the time and place of the battle is highly unlikely. A similar flag was flown at least briefly by Texan Tejano forces, featuring two black, six pointed stars in place of the date. It is likely that the actual "Alamo flag" referred to by accounts of the time was the Lone Star and Stripes, which had been depicted in use at earlier battles such as Goliad, and was widely referred to as the "Texian flag." [24]

The Dodson Tricolor or Dodson flag was designed and sewn by a Mrs. Sarah Dodson during the Revolution. It resembled the flag of Revolutionary France, but with longer proportions and the Texan Lone Star in the canton. Stephen F. Austin was initially so alarmed by the obvious symbolism that he requested the flag not be used, but it nevertheless flew over Texan forces in Cibolo Creek, and may have been the first Texan flag raised over San Antonio. The flag was one of two that flew over the small cabin in which Texas delegates ratified their declaration of independence.

Republic of Texas flags

The Burnet Flag was adopted by the Texan Congress on December 10, 1836. The name refers David G. Burnet, who was provisional president of the Republic of Texas when the flag was adopted. [1] It consisted of an azure background with a large golden star, inspired by the 1810 "Bonnie Blue Flag" of the Republic of West Florida. [25] Variants of the Burnet Flag with a white star, virtually identical to the Bonnie Blue Flag, were also common. Other variants featured the star (of either color) upside down, and/or ringed with the word TEXAS, with each letter filling one of the gaps of the star.

State flags over Texas

Secession flags of Texas, 1861

In early 1861, between the secession of Texas from the U.S. and its accession to the Confederacy, Texas flew an unofficial, variant flag of Texas with fifteen stars, representing the fifteen slave states. No drawings exist of the flag; there are only imprecise descriptions. The flag may have been based on the state flag or the Bonnie Blue Flag. [26]

Centennial flag of Texas, 1936

The 1936 Centennial Exposition was a world fair located in Dallas to mark the 100th anniversary of Texas independence. [27]

Urban legend

The Texas flag flying below the US flag at the Texas State Capitol Texas Capitol Flags.jpg
The Texas flag flying below the US flag at the Texas State Capitol

It is a common urban legend that the Texas flag is the only state flag that is allowed to fly at the same height as the U.S. flag. Allegedly, Texas has this right inherently (as a former independent nation) or because it negotiated special provisions when it joined the Union (this version has been stated as fact on a PBS website). [28] However, the legend is false. [29] Neither the Joint Resolution for Annexing Texas to the United States nor the Ordinance of Annexation [30] contain any provisions regarding flags. According to the United States Flag Code, any state flag can be flown at the same height as the U.S. flag, but the U.S. flag should be on its right (the viewer's left). Consistent with the U.S. Flag Code, the Texas Flag Code specifies that the state flag should either be flown below the U.S. flag if on the same pole or at the same height as the U.S. flag if on separate poles. [11]

Similar flags

Proposed Governor's flag

The Texas governor currently uses a flag consisting of the state coat of arms (a lone star encircled by live oak and olive branches) on a light blue circle, all on a dark blue field with a white star in each corner. The flag has been in use since the late 1960s or early 1970s. The design has never been formally adopted by executive order or legislation. Legislation was introduced to the Texas Legislature in 2007 [34] and 2009 [35] to adopt the 1839 pilot flag/civil ensign of the Republic of Texas as the official flag of the Governor of Texas. While the 2007 bill died in committee, the 2009 bill was passed by the House but died in a Senate committee. Amendments to the Texas Flag Code, signed into law in 1993, authorize the Governor to adopt a flag of his or her own choosing, but this executive authority has not been exercised. [36]

See also

Related Research Articles

Texas Revolution military conflict

The Texas Revolution was a rebellion of colonists from the United States and Tejanos in putting up armed resistance to the centralist government of Mexico. While the uprising was part of a larger one that included other provinces opposed to the regime of President Antonio López de Santa Anna, the Mexican government believed the United States had instigated the Texas insurrection with the goal of annexation. The Mexican Congress passed the Tornel Decree, declaring that any foreigners fighting against Mexican troops "will be deemed pirates and dealt with as such, being citizens of no nation presently at war with the Republic and fighting under no recognized flag." Only the province of Texas succeeded in breaking with Mexico, establishing the Republic of Texas, and eventually being annexed by the United States.

Battle of San Jacinto decisive battle of the Texas Revolution

The Battle of San Jacinto, fought on April 21, 1836, in present-day Harris County, Texas, was the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution. Led by General Sam Houston, the Texian Army engaged and defeated General Antonio López de Santa Anna's Mexican army in a fight that lasted just 18 minutes. A detailed, first-hand account of the battle was written by General Houston from Headquarters of the Texian Army, San Jacinto, on April 25, 1836. Numerous secondary analyses and interpretations have followed, several of which are cited and discussed throughout this entry.

Flags of the U.S. states and territories Wikimedia list article

The flags of the U.S. states, territories, and the District of Columbia exhibit a variety of regional influences and local histories, as well as different styles and design principles. Nonetheless, the majority of the states' flags share the same design pattern consisting of the state seal superimposed on a monochrome background, commonly a shade of blue.

The Convention of 1836 was the meeting of elected delegates in Washington-on-the-Brazos, Texas in March 1836. The Texas Revolution had begun five months previously, and the interim government, known as the Consultation, had wavered over whether to declare independence from Mexico or pledge to uphold the repudiated Mexican Constitution of 1824. Unlike those of previous Texas councils, delegates to the Convention of 1836 were younger, more recent arrivals to Texas, and more adamant on the question of independence. As delegates prepared to convene, Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna led a large army into Texas to quell the revolt; the vanguard of this army arrived at San Antonio de Bexar on February 23.

Goliad Campaign

The Goliad Campaign was the 1836 Mexican offensive to retake the Texas Gulf Coast during the Texas Revolution. Mexican troops under the command of General José de Urrea defeated rebellious immigrants to the Mexican province of Texas, known as Texians, in a series of clashes in February and March.

Manuel Fernández Castrillón was a major general in the Mexican army of the 19th century. He was a close friend of General and Mexican President Antonio López de Santa Anna. During the Texas Revolution, Castrillón advocated for mercy for captured Texian soldiers. He was killed at the Battle of San Jacinto, despite attempts by Republic of Texas Secretary of War Thomas Rusk to save his life.

James Fannin American soldier

James Walker Fannin Jr. was a 19th-century American military figure in the Texas Army and leader during the Texas Revolution of 1835–36. After being outnumbered and surrendering to Mexican forces at the Battle of Coleto Creek, Colonel Fannin and nearly all his 344 men were executed soon afterward at Goliad, Texas, under Santa Anna's orders for all rebels to be executed.

Six flags over Texas slogan

"Six flags over Texas" is the slogan used to describe the six nations that have had sovereignty over some or all of the current territory of the U.S. state of Texas: Spain, France (1685–1690), Mexico (1821–1836), the Republic of Texas (1836–1845), the Confederate States of America (1861–1865), and the United States of America.

Lorenzo de Zavala 19th-century Mexican politician

Lorenzo de Zavala, born Manuel Lorenzo Justiniano de Zavala y Sanchez, was a Yucatán-born Tejano physician who became a career politician, diplomat and author. Zavala had a keen intellect and was fluent in many languages. He was closely involved in drafting the constitution for the First Federal Republic of Mexico in 1824 after it won independence from Spain. Years later, through a remarkable series of events, he also helped in drafting a constitution for Mexico's rebellious enemy at the time, the Republic of Texas, to secure independence from Mexico in 1836.

Battle of Agua Dulce battle

The Battle of Agua Dulce Creek was a skirmish during the Texas Revolution between Mexican troops and rebellious colonists of the Mexican province of Texas, known as Texians. As part of the Goliad Campaign to retake the Texas Gulf Coast, Mexican troops ambushed a group of Texians on March 2, 1836. The skirmish began approximately 26 miles (42 km) south of San Patricio, in territory belonging to the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.

Seal of Texas Official government emblem of the U.S. state of Texas

The Seal of the State of Texas was adopted through the 1845 Texas Constitution, and was based on the seal of the Republic of Texas, which dates from January 25, 1839.

José de Urrea Mexican general

José de Urrea was a Mexican general. He fought under General Antonio López de Santa Anna during the Texas Revolution. Urrea's forces were never defeated in battle during the Texas Revolution. His most notable success was that of the Goliad Campaign, in which James Fannin's 400 soldiers were surrounded and induced to capitulate under terms, but were massacred in Urrea's absence on the orders of Santa Anna. Urrea also fought in the Mexican–American War.

Texian Army Army that fought for the independence of what became the Republic of Texas

The Texian Army, also known as the Army of Texas and the Army of the People, was a military organization consisting of volunteer and regular soldiers who fought against the Mexican army during the Texas Revolution. Approximately 3,700 men joined the army between October 2, 1835, during the Battle of Gonzales through the end of the war on April 21, 1836, at the Battle of San Jacinto. After gaining independence the Texian Army would be officially known as the Army of the Republic of Texas. In 1846, after the annexation of Texas by the United States, the Army of the Republic of Texas merged with the US Army. Sam Houston became the new commander in chief of the new Texas army.

Presidio La Bahía

The Presidio Nuestra Señora de Loreto de la Bahía, known more commonly as Presidio La Bahia, or simply La Bahia is a fort constructed by the Spanish Army that became the nucleus of the modern-day city of Goliad, Texas, United States. The current location dates to 1747.

Philip Dimmitt (1801–1841) was an officer in the Texian Army during the Texas Revolution. Born in Kentucky, Dimmitt moved to Texas in 1823 and soon operated a series of trading posts. After learning that Mexican General Martín Perfecto de Cos was en route to Texas in the year 1835 (??) to quell the unrest, Dimmitt proposed that the general be kidnapped on his arrival at Copano. The plan was shelved when fighting broke out at Gonzales, but by early October, 1835, it had been resuscitated by a group of volunteers at Matamoros. Not knowing that Cos had already departed for San Antonio de Bexar, this group decided to corner Cos at Presidio La Bahia in Goliad. Dimmitt joined them en route, and participated in the battle of Goliad.

The Matamoros Expedition was a planned 1836 invasion of the Mexican port town of Matamoros by rebellious Texians. As the Mexican government transitioned from federalism to a centralized government in 1835, many federalists offered armed opposition. In Mexican Texas, settlers launched a full rebellion, known as the Texas Revolution, in October. By the end of the year, the Texians had expelled all Mexican soldiers from their territory. Confident that there would be no more fighting within their lands, Texans began looking for ways to extend the fight.

William Ward, was a Macon, Georgia native, who answered the appeal from Texas, during the Texas Revolution. He recruited men from Georgia and led the Georgia Battalion.

Coat of arms of Texas

Texas is one of eighteen states that have adopted an official coat of arms. The current coat of arms developed from the original coat of arms used by the Republic of Texas before its annexation into the United States.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Flags of Texas from the Handbook of Texas Online
  2. Vexillological Assn. of the State of Texas. "The Stewart Myth" . Retrieved 2013-05-12.
  3. 1 2 "GOVERNMENT CODE CHAPTER 3100. STATE FLAG". state.tx.us. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
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  5. AL. "Revised Civil and Criminal Statutes of Texas, 1879". texas.gov. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
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  7. [Stewart, Charles Bellinger Tate from the Handbook of Texas Online]
  8. "GOVERNMENT CODE CHAPTER 3100. STATE FLAG". state.tx.us. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  9. The Pantone color equivalents for Old Glory Blue and Red are listed on U.S. Flag Facts at the U.S. Embassy's London site.
  10. The RGB color values are taken from the Pantone Color Finder at Pantone.com.
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  12. Preble, George Henry; Asnis, Charles Edward (1917). Origin history American flag naval yacht-club signals, seals arms, principal national songs United States, chronicle symbols, standards, banners, flags ancient modern nations. Philadelphia: Central Press Co. p. 635.
  13. Francaviglia, Richard V. (1996). The Shape of Texas: Maps as Metaphors. Texas A&M University Press. p. 80. ISBN   978-0-89096-664-8.
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  23. Maberry, Robert, Jr. (2001). Texas Flags. College Station: Texas A&M University Press. pp. 28–38. ISBN   978-1-58544-151-8.
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  25. Allman, T.D. (2013). Finding Florida The True History of the Sunshine State (First ed.). New York: Atlantic Monthly Press. p. 63. ISBN   978-0-8021-2076-2.
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  36. "73(R) HB 1463 Enrolled version - Bill Text". www.legis.state.tx.us. Retrieved 2017-02-19.

Further reading