The official state flag of West Virginia was approved by the state legislature on March 7, 1929.
West Virginia State Flag
West Virginia’s flag comprises a field of pure white. Bordering the white field on all the four sides is a dark blue stripe. Placed at the center of the white field is West Virginia’s coat of arms. The coat of arms features a boulder with the inscription, June 20, 1863, the date when the state of West Virginia was admitted into the Union. At the front of the boulder lies two cross hunting rifles with a cap of liberty also referred to as a Phrygian cap. The boulder is flanked by two men, a farmer, and a miner. The farmer stands on the left side of the boulder holding a plow and an ax. Behind him is a cornstalk. The miner stands on the right-hand side of the boulder holding a pickax. Behind the miner are a sledgehammer and an anvil. At the bottom of the state flag lies a red ribbon. The words ‘MONTANI SEMPER LIBERI’ are inscribed in the ribbon. When translated into English these words mean ‘mountaineers are always free.’ The lower part of the court of arms is surrounded by a bouquet of Rhododendron maximum. West Virginia adopted Rhododendron as the official state flower in 1903. At the top of the coat of arms is a red ribbon with the words ‘STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA’.
Symbolism of the Flag
The white field of West Virginia state flag is a symbol of purity. The blue color represents the Union. The coat of arms inside of the flag signifies the resources and the principal pursuits of the state. The farmer with a plow and an ax stands for West Virginia agriculture. The miner holding a pickax, sled hammer and anvil represents West Virginias industry, mining, and mineral resources. The Phrygian cap or the cap of liberty stands for the significance of the sates fight for freedom. The year inscribed on the boulder, June 20, 1863, stands for the year when the state of West Virginia was admitted into the Union.
History of the Flag
The state of West Virginia attained its statehood in 1863. Since the attainment of its statehood, the state was represented by many flags. In 1863, the first legislature of West Virginia assigned Joseph H. D. Debar to design the great seal of the state. The seal designed by Debar was officially adopted by the legislature on September 26, 1863. Part of the seal was designated into the West Virginias coat of arms which was in turn incorporated in the first flag that was white with a blue border. It was not until February 24, 1905, that the legislature of West Virginia recognized the flag. The legislature, later on, switched positions of the flowers and state arms in 1907. At the same time, a scroll was added at the bottom of the coat of arms reading ‘STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA.’ Further adjustments in 1929 moved the scroll above the coat of arms.