The Wyoming state flag is composed of a dark blue field surrounded by red and white lines. In the middle of the flag is a white silhouette of American bison, which bears the seal of the state. The white color symbolizes uprightness and purity. The red represents the Native Americans and blood of the pioneers who sacrificed their lives to reclaim the soil. The blue color on the other hand, represents majestic mountains and vast sky. It is also a symbol of virility, fidelity, and justice. Furthermore, the bison is a symbol of the indigenous fauna, strength and livestock of Wyoming State.
History of the Wyoming State Flag
In 1916, Wyoming was among the few states in the union that could not claim official ownership of the state flag. The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) announced the competition to design Wyoming official flag. They placed a prize of $20 to the best design in the competition, which attracted 37 applicants. The competition took place in Sheridan Conference in the late summer. DAR chose a drawing by Verna Keays who had just graduated from Art Institute of Chicago. On January 31, 1917, the then governor Robert D. Carey acted on the state flag bill. The bill came under law and the Bison flag was adopted.
Changes to the Flag
Later, Regent Grace Raymond Hebard, a professor at Wyoming University, suggested some changes. In Keay’s original design, the bison faced towards the fly. This represented the states' former freedom to roam the Wyoming plains. Grace argued that, if the bison were to face towards the hoist, then the design would be more balanced. Generally, animals were to face the hoist on flags as they would the wind.
Finally, the leaders agreed that all the Wyoming flags, from the first batch to subsequent productions, the bison had to face the hoist. However, Wyoming legislatures did not consider this change. As a result, the Wyoming flag was ranked 23rd in design quality. American Vexillological Association did the ranking in 2001. This position was out of the 72 US territory flags, US state flags, and Canadian provincial flags.
The Flag Seal
On the middle of the Wyoming flag there is a great seal. The seal also goes by the name The Monarch of the Wyoming Plains. It represents the custom of livestock branding by Wyoming people. The second legislature adopted the great seal in 1893. Later, in 1921, the sixteenth legislature revised the seal.
The years 1869 and 1890 on the seal, commemorate the organization of the territorial government. They also represent when Wyoming’s gained admission to the American union. The flag has a draped figure at the center. The figure bear the words, "Equal Rights." These words are a symbol of the political status women enjoy in Wyoming State. Wyoming was the first sate and territory in the United States to give women office holding and voting rights. The pictures of the miner and a cowboy represent the mining industries and livestock of the state.
There is also a bald eagle above the shield and five-pointed star bearing the number 44. This number shows Wyoming being part of the union as the 44th state. Further, above the pillars are lamps burning representing the light of knowledge to Wyoming school going children. The scrolls enclosing the two pillars bear the words "livestock, mines, oil, and grain", four major Wyoming industries.