North Dakota State Flag

The state flag of North Dakota features the US Coat of Arms.
The state flag of North Dakota features the US Coat of Arms.

The flag of North Dakota has been listed as the 41st best out of 51 flags ranked by the North American Vexillological Association.

History of the Flag

When North Dakota was admitted to the Union in 1889, it began using a blue flag that featured the Coat of Arms of the US at the center. The only distinctive feature between the 1889 flag and the current flag is the ribbon below the eagle with the words “NORTH DAKOTA”. In 1898 after the end of the Spanish American War, Colonel John Fraine made a proposal that the flag be considered as the official state flag. This came to success on March 3, 1911, when the flag was recognized and adopted as the official state flag.

Design of the North Dakota Flag

The flag recognized in 1911 could easily be confused with the official Coat of Arms of the US. This necessitated the need for a new design. The new Coat of Arms was displayed on a green field with its colors being yellow and green. This flag was however later restricted to the use of the state governor. In 1951, there were proposals that the flag of North Dakota be changed completely due to its resemblance to the US Coat of Arms. These proposals were rejected by the North Dakota legislature.

The material used for the North Dakotan flag can be silk, nylon, or material that can withstand the elements on the pike and fly. Colors in the flag are blue, black, brown, red, yellow, and white. The symbols can either be stamped or embroidered on the flag.

Symbolism of the Design

The North Dakotan flag is a flag endowed with many symbols. The color blue forms a large part of the flag. On the blue background, is the symbol of a brown eagle with its wings spread out and facing left. In its left claws, the eagle grips a bundle of arrows as well as an olive branch in its right claws. The eagle has a red ribbon in its beak. The red ribbon has “E Pluribus Unum” written in yellow on it. Slightly over the eagle’s head are 13 stars with a sunburst shape over the stars. Below the eagle, lies a red ribbon with the words “NORTH DAKOTA” inscribed on it. The eagle also has a shield at its breast.

An eagle symbolizes strength and power of the Union. The eagle grips in its claws an olive branch and arrows to represent peace and readiness to defend freedom and liberty. The 13-stripped shield represents the original 13 states of the US while the 13 stars above the eagle connote the birth of a new nation. The sunburst over the 13 stars is a symbol of hope, progress and bright future for the North Dakotans. “E Pluribus Unum’ are Latin for “One nation made up of many states’’ to symbolize the spirit of unity, brotherhood, and togetherness.


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