World Facts

Washington DC Flag

The Washington DC flag was adopted on October 5, 1938.


The design of the Washington DC flag is inspired by the court of arms of the family of George Washington. The symbolism and meaning of the various features of the flag that is the colors, stars and bars are unknown. However, it has been thought that the three stars represent the three commissioners that once headed the District of Columbia.

Design of the Washington, DC Flag

The flag of Washington DC is made up of a rectangular white field. The ratio of the length to the width of the flag is 2:1. On the lower part of the white field lie two horizontal red bars. Above the bars are three five-pointed red stars. The stars are commonly referred to as mullets. The dimensions of the Washington DC flag are described in reference to the vertical height or the hoist of the flag. The basal white portion of the flag covers two-tenths of the vertical height of the flag. Each of the two horizontal red horizontal stripes also covers two-tenths of the hoist. The white area between the two red bars covers a tenth of the vertical height of the flag while the uppermost white portion of the flag is three-tenths of the vertical height of the flag.

The three stars above in the upper white portion of the flag are designed in a manner so that the spacing the stars is equidistant and the diameter of each of the stars covers two-tenths of the vertical height of the flag.

History of the Flag

The District of Columbia did not have an official flag for over a century. Several unofficial banners were flown across the city. The most frequently flown banner was the flag of DC National Guard. The first version of the current Washington DC flag was submitted to the Evening Star Newspaper by Charles A. R. Dunn in February 1924. Dunn’s design of the flag featured three five-pointed stars which were cobalt blue in color and two horizontal red stripes on a field of white.

In 1938, a commission was established by the Congress tasked to choose an official flag for the District of Columbia. Once again, Charles Dunn submitted his design, the cobalt blue stars replaced with the red stars. The design submitted by Charles Dunn was picked by the Congress. Charles Dunn’s design of the flag was an armorial banner with the imitation of the court of arms of President George Washington family.

The flag was adopted as the official flag of Washington DC on October 5, 1938. It was first flown on October 23, 1938. However, its usage in the District of Columbia was limited to about 20 years after its adoption.

In 2002, a proposal was submitted by the DC Council to change the design of the flag. According to the proposal, the new flag was to have the letters DC added to the middle star and the words 'Taxation Without Representation' added in white to the two red horizontal bars. The bill passed but its support soon eroded and therefore the bill was never signed by the then mayor of DC, Anthony A. Williams.


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