New York State Flag

The New York state flag features the New York state seal, designed in 1788.
The New York state flag features the New York state seal, designed in 1788.

The New York State flag is predominantly dark blue in color with the seal of the state in the middle. Adopted in April 1901, it consists of three colors mainly blue, white, and orange. On a blue ribbon at the bottom are the words “Excelsior”. An eagle perched on the world map is on top of the seal.

Design and Features of Flag

Though the flag designers are not documented, the coat of arms that features on the flag was designed by John Jay, John Sloss Hobart, and Gouverneur Morris. The flag came into existence during the World War revolution movement of 1777. On a dark blue background, the coat of arms with the Hudson River is vividly displayed with a couple of vessels sailing near its shores and the sun casting its rays on a mountain. These features signify economic value of the river in terms of ancient commerce and trade. At the side of the river are a green field and a rising sun, symbolizing a brighter beginning. The blue color is a symbol of boldness, loyalty, and surveillance. The shield as a whole symbolizes the rule of justice and liberalization that the state embraces.

Perched on top of the shield is an eagle on the map of the world. The globe signifies the integration of the ancient to the modern state and the changes experienced. The eagle predicts the days ahead which will be characterized by boldness, protection, and dominance.

Below the shield is a ribbon, well shaped to display the words “Excelsior,” meaning that the state aims at higher levels all the time. The flag depicts two tall women on either side of the shield. One is “the ancient Roman goddess of justice” with her hair pleated and added pearls while one of her feet stepping on a beautiful queens crown symbolizing the fall of British colonial empire. She is holding a pole. On the rod she is holding is a cap which represents the headgear worn by freed slaves, hence the freedom. On the other hand “the goddess of justice” is in orange dress holding an ancient weigh scale with a piece of cloth around her eyes. Her other hand has a sword pointing upwards. The sword symbolizes punishment for evil actions. The blindfold shows that the state will not take sides but will be fair in making any major decision.

History of the Flag

In 1609, Henry Hudson, a ruler which biggest river in the state is named after, captured the State, leading to colonization up to April 1777 when the state was granted independence and the maiden constitution written. The independence was followed by designing the first coat of arms in 1788. In 1858, Militia law demanded a flag whose design incorporates the coat of arms placed on a white background. In 1896, another law was passed to match the background color of the flag to the uniform worn by the continental soldiers. In 1901 color blue was adopted. The flag as displayed today was initially based on war flag during the revolution. Though a major amendment was done in April 1901, most of the initial features still remain.


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