Alabama State Flag

The Alabama state flag features the crimson cross of St. Andrew.
The Alabama state flag features the crimson cross of St. Andrew.

Alabama joined the Union of United States in 1819. The state did not have its own flag until its withdrawal from the union in 1861. The current flag of Alabama State was adopted in 1895.

History of Alabama Flag

The Alabama Secession Convention held on January 11, 1861, passed a motion to design their official flag. Montgomery women designed the flag and Francis Corra from the same city did the final touches. The front side of the flag had a picture of the Liberty Goddess holding a sword in her right hand. The Goddess’s left hand had a small blue flag with a gold star. The top of gold star had the word "ALABAMA" written in capital letters. Above this figure, was an arc bearing the words "Independent Now and Forever." The back of the flag featured a cotton plant picture surrounded by a rattlesnake. Below the plant were the words "Noli Me Tangere" translated as "Touch Me Not" written in Latin. This was the official Alabama State flag until February 10, 1861. The usage of the flag ceased upon its destruction by heavy storms.

Present Alabama Flag

The present flag of Alabama State was adopted in 1895. The Representative, John W.A. Sanford junior, introduced legislation on what the flag should bear. According to Sanford’s legislation, Alabama’s flag design features a crimson cross of St. Andrew. The crimson cross lies on a white field. The crosses ought to be no more than six inches. The legislation further states that the bars forming the cross ought to be diagonal from side to side on the flag.

John W.A. Sanford senior, the father to Sanford junior, had given a command regarding the design of the flag during the 60th Alabama Infantry Regiment. This was during the U.S. Civil War that he came up with a design on the battle flag. The regimental flag had a white saltire over a blue field with white stars surrounding the cross of St. Andrew. The adopted design resembled the flag raised in 1862 by Hilliard’s Legion. The regimental flag was used up to the end of war then surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse.

Alabama’s flag white saltire resembles Florida’s flag saltire, which is a heritage from Spanish Cross of Burgundy. This is due to the fact that, South Alabama initially was part of Spanish Florida. Today’s Alabama flag has a St. Andrew’s cross, similar to the Cross of Burgundy. The cross represents the one St. Andrew was crucified on. However, people in Alabama also believe that the crimson saltire on Alabama’s current flag resembles Confederate Battle Flag. Despite this view, the Confederate Battle Flag has a blue saltire. Most battle flags by that time had a square format and that is the reason why Alabama’s flag is square. On the other hand, a historian John M. Coski, concludes that Alabama’s State flag coincides with Jim Crow laws and segregation.

Alabama State Governor’s Flag

The Alabama governor’s flag is different from the State flag. His flag’s top saltire bears the State coat of arms while the bottom saltire has the State military crest. It also has a cotton plant whose ball is fully open.


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