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Wyoming State Territorial Flag

Wyoming State Territorial Flag   Adopted: February 19, 1991
Wyoming state territorial flag
Representation of the Wyoming State Territorial Flag

For the majority of states (36), the road to statehood was a two step process. First a territory was carved out of a newly acquired parcel of land and second, when the specified criteria for statehood were met (organization, a constitution, population, etc.), a territory could apply to the United States Congress to be accepted into the Union.

Wyoming was one of the states that followed this process. The Wyoming Territory (1868-1890), was granted statehood on July 10, 1890,

Wyoming state senator Diemer True
State Senator Diemer True
Courtesy State of Wyoming Legislature

We can find no legislative evidence that the Wyoming Territory ever formally adopted a territorial flag but there is evidence that at least one did exist, In an article entitled "Wyoming-100 Years Old" written for the North American Vexillological Association's newsletter, Nava News, John A. Mokler wrote of "... a photo of a Wyoming Militia Unit on maneuvers at Cole Creek in 1910 which displayed a flag containing the Territorial seal. Thus, such a flag did exist."

Over 100 years after the Wyoming Territory was dissolved and statehood had been attained and over seventy years after adopting an official state flag, State Senator Diemer True introduced a bill, Senate File No. 240, proposing the adoption of a "state territorial flag."



State territorial flag.

Sponsored by: Senator(s) TRUE.



AN ACT to create W.S. 8-3-114 relating to a state territorial flag; providing for a state territorial flag as specified; and providing for an effective date.

Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Wyoming:

Section 1. W.S. 8-3-114 is created to read:

8-13-114. State territorial flag.

(a) The state territorial flag shall be a flag with a field of blue, the name "WYOMING" printed across the top of the flag and the phrase, "CEDANT ARMA TOGÆ" printed across the bottom of the flag. In the center of the flag shall be a shield with a border of gold divided into three (3) parts:

(i) The top half of the shield shall have the numbers "1869" across the top and depict mountains and a train;

(ii) The lower left part of the shield shall depict a staff, shovel, plow and pick; and

(iii) The lower right part of the shield shall depict and hand holding a sword.

(b) The provisions of W.S. 8-3-102 on the display and use of the state flag shall be applicable to the display and use of the state territorial flag.

Section 2. This act is effective immediately upon completion of all acts necessary for a bill to become law as provided by Article 4, Section 8 of the Wyoming Constitution.


Senate File No. 240 was introduced on January 21, 1991 and passed unanimously by the Senate, three days later, on January 24.

On February 12, 1991, Senate File No. 204 was passed unanimously by the House.

Wyoming Governor Michael John Sullivan
Michael John Sullivan

On February 19, 1991, in a real life "Back to the Future" experience, Governor Michael John Sullivan signed the legislation and the flag described by Act No. 61 of 1991 became Wyoming's official "state territorial flag."

As described by the 1991 legislation, the "state territorial flag" displays a Norman shield, as found on the territorial seal, in the center of a blue field. The state name sits above the shield. The Latin words "Cedant arma togæ," the territorial motto, rest below the shield.

Cedant arma togæ literally translates to "let arms yield to the gown."*

Section 2 of "AN ACT to Amend an Act Entitled 'An Act Adopting a Territorial Seal,' being Chapter 113 of the Compiled Laws of Wyoming Territory, Approved December 9th, 1869" describes the seal in this way.

SEC. 2. That the seal of the Territory of Wyoming seal shall be of the following design, namely: A Norman shield, on the upper half of which is emblazoned a mountain scene with a railroad train and the sun appearing above the horizon, the figures "1869" below the middle point of the shield on a red ground, an arm upholding a drawn sword; the shield to be surmounted by the inscription, "Cedant arma togæ," and the entire design surrounded by the words, "Territory of Wyoming great seal."

We would love to completely understand the reasoning behind this designation but, as yet, have no concrete information. Please contact us if you can shed some light on the purpose of this designated state symbol.

Beyond the evidence in a photograph and descriptions of an official territorial seal, Wyoming's territorial flag might have been lost to time. 1991's Senate File No. 240 has, at least, managed to keep the concept alive and keep us wondering.

* In her 1904 book, " The Government of Wyoming: The History, Constitution and Administration of Affairs," Grace Raymond Hebard explains the Latin inscription. "This was Wyoming's territorial motto and appeared on the territorial seal." "Let arms yield to the gown," or, "Let military authority give way to the civil power."


"§ 8-3-114. State Territorial Flag." Wyoming Statutes Annotated. LexisNexis®, 2015. Web. 27 May 2015.

Hebard, Grace Raymond. "The Government of Wyoming the History, Constitution and Administration of Affairs." 1904. Reprint. London: Forgotten Books, 2013. Web.

Mokler, John A. "Wyoming - 100 Years Old: Wyoming State Flag." NAVA News [PDF] July/August 1990, Vol. XXIII, No. 4. North American Vexillological Association. Web. 27 May 2015.

Shearer, Benjamin F. and Barbara S. State Names, Seals, Flags and Symbols: A Historical Guide Third Edition, Revised and Expanded. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 3 Sub edition, 2001.

True, Diemer. "1991 State Senate Bills, S.F. 0240." Wyoming Legislative Library. Wyoming State Library. Web. 27 May 2015.

Additional Information

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

More symbols & emblems: Complete list of official Wyoming state symbols from NETSTATE.COM.

The History and Government of Wyoming: The History, Constitution and Administration of Affairs
The History and
Government of Wyoming

Grace Raymond Hebard

The History and Government Of Wyoming: The History, Constitution And Administration Of Affairs, by Grace Raymond Hebard. 304 pages. Publisher: Nabu Press (November 2, 2013)

This is a reprint of the 8th edition of Grace Raymond Hebard's >The History and Government Of Wyoming, published in 1919 by C. F. Weber Co., Inc. in 1919. The first edition was published by the Whitaker & Ray Company in 1904.

After earning a Doctor of Political Science degree from Illinois Wesleyan University, Grace Raymond Hebard (1861-1936) drifted to Wyoming. A strong proponent of women's rights, Hebard championed women's suffrage before the Wyoming State Constitutional Convention in 1889. Hebard was admitted to the Wyoming bar in 1898. A fearless and feared woman, Hebard served on the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees for seventeen years and then went on to establish the University of Wyoming's first library and become its first librarian, serving from 1908 to 1919. She earned a full professorship. A prolific writer, Hebard published six books related to Wyoming history and women.

The Nifty Fifty State Flags
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State Flags

Paul Beatrice
Paul Rodhe

The Nifty Fifty State Flags, by Paul Beatrice, Paul Rodhe. 16 pages. Publisher: Applesauce Press (May 6, 2008) Reading level: Grades 3+.

The set features a 16-page booklet, 50 cards, a map of the USA, and a pad with colored paper so kids can design their own flag.

Each of the colorful cards displays a state flag, while the opposite side has detailed information on why it looks the way it does, what some of the flag’s symbols mean, and odd facts about that state. Kids will love finding out about towns with silly names (including Belchertown, Massachusetts and Bummerville, California), as well as unusual laws, cool sites to visit, and other great state stuff like its official song, dance, animal, and mineral. Many of the cards also feature entertaining family activities to try.

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US State and Territory Assorted Stickers. Includes one pack of 120 stickers. 50 US State and Territory flag sticker sets are great for games, rewards, incentives, education, envelope seals and souvenirs. Stickers are 1" x 1.5" and self adhesive.

The set includes 2 of each the 50 states, 2 of each of the U.S.'s five Territories and 2 each of three Historic and 4 United States' stickers.

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Flags of the Fifty States is an indispensable historical reference and a fascinating, beautiful pictorial guide to the rich diversity of America’s fifty states. It provides a colorful way to learn about how the United States grew and prospered and shaped itself and its banners over the years.

With full-color reproductions of each flag, this book offers a thorough and eminently readable account of how and why each flag was designed, what the various symbols and figures in the flags mean, and how each flag evolved. Throughout are interesting facts and sidebars that answer such questions as why Alaska is represented by the Big Dipper, what significance the diamond has in the flag of Arkansas, which state features the Union Jack on its flag, and what impact the Civil War had on designs of the state flags of the South.

Indoor American Cotton Flag, Flagpole, Base & Tassel (Metal Eagle, 8 Ft Oak Pole

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