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The New York State Flag

A modern version of a Revolutionary War flag, today's New York State flag displays the State Coat of Arms, adopted in 1778, and centered on a dark blue field.

New York state flag
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The shield depicts a cloudless sky with a rising sun behind three mountains, the highlands of the Hudson River. A three masted, square rigged ship and a Hudson River sloop navigate towards each other on the Hudson River representing commerce. The river is bordered by a grassy shore fringed with shrubs.

Beneath the shield on a white ribbon is the State Motto, "Excelsior (Ever Upward)," signifying a reach for ever higher goals. Above the shield, the crest shows a Bald Eagle, wings spread, perched atop a globe depicting the northern Atlantic Ocean. The eagle faces right, a good omen.

On one side of the shield stands "Justice," her hair decorated with pearls. She is blindfolded and carries a sword in one hand and a scale in the other hand. These symbols represent the impartiality and fairness of justice required to mete out punishment and reward. Justice is clothed in gold with a blue belt edged with red. A loose red robe hangs from her

Opposite Justice, stands "Liberty," holding a pole topped with the Phrygian cap. These caps were given to Roman slaves when emancipated and adopted by French Revolutionists as symbols of Liberty. A crown is at her left foot, thrown there to symbolize the failed control of the British Monarchy. Liberty is clothed in blue and wearing red sandals. Like Justice, a red robe hangs from her shoulder and her unbound hair is decorated with pearls.

New York Flag Law

The following information was excerpted from the Laws of New York, Title 1, Chapter 4.

Charge. Azure, in a landscape, the sun in fess, rising in splendor or, behind a range of three mountains, the middle one the highest; in base a ship and sloop under sail, passing and about to meet on a river, bordered below by a grassy shore fringed with shrubs, all proper.

Crest. On a wreath azure and or, an American eagle proper, rising to the dexter from a two-thirds of a globe terrestrial, showing the north Atlantic ocean with outlines of its shores.

Supporters. On a quasi compartment formed by the extension of the scroll.

Dexter. The figure of Liberty proper, her hair disheveled and decorated with pearls, vested azure, sandaled gules, about the waist a cincture or, fringed gules, a mantle of the last depending from the shoulders behind to the feet, in the dexter hand a staff ensigned with a Phrygian cap or, the sinister arm embowed, the hand supporting the shield at the dexter chief point, a royal crown by her sinister foot dejected.

Sinister. The figure of Justice proper, her hair disheveled and decorated with pearls, vested or, about the waist a cincture azure, fringed gules, sandaled and mantled as Liberty, bound about the eyes with a fillet proper, in the dexter hand a straight sword hilted or, erect, resting on the sinister chief point of the shield, the sinister arm embowed, holding before her her scales proper.

Motto. On a scroll below the shield argent, in sable, Excelsior.

State flag. The state flag is hereby declared to be blue, charged with the arms of the state in the colors as described in the blazon of this section.


Source: New York State Legislature, Laws of New York, (http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/menuf.cgi), October 24, 2007.
Source: Flags of the Fifty States and Their Incredible Histories: The Complete Guide to America's Most Powerful Symbols by Randy Howe. The Lyons Press; First edition edition (November 1, 2002).
Source: State Names, Seals, Flags and Symbols: A Historical Guide Third Edition, Revised and Expanded by Benjamin F. Shearer and Barbara S. Shearer. Greenwood Press; 3 Sub edition (October 30, 2001).
Source: State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers, and Other Symbols by George Earlie Shankle. Reprint Services Corp; Revised edition (June 1971).


Additional Information

New York (U.S.): FOTW "Flags of the World" Web Site.

State Flags: Complete list of state flags with links to large pictures and images suitable for coloring.

Flag Terminology: The parts of a flag and terms associated with its design.

Visit Our Flag Shop: Purchase all kinds of flags and banners, lapel pins, 50 state flag sets, decals, patches, college banners at the Flag Shop.

Purchase New York State Flags: You may purchase quality state flags from the United States Flag Store.

Flags of the Fifty States and their Incredible Histories: A complete guide to America's most powerful symbols by Randy Howe.

How Proudly They Wave: Flags of the Fifty States: This book, by Rita D. Haban, is geared toward younger readers.

 
 
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