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Vexillopedia

Flag of Arizona

Arizona
Ratio 2:3
Adoption 1917
Design 13 rays of red and weld-yellow on the top half of a blue field charged with a five-point copper star. [0]
Colors
#BF0A30
#FED700
#CE5C17
#002868

History

While Colonel Harris is credited with the creation of the Rifle Team flag, several individuals appear to have played a role in the creation of the state's first official flag. W. R. Stewart of Mesa was working in conjunction with Colonel Charles W. Harris, who was the Arizona Adjutant General and head of the Arizona National Guard. Stewart, as President of the Mesa Rifle Team, felt compelled to design a flag for competition. Stewart's wife (Mae) sewed the first flag for competition from a sketch he had made on the back of an envelope. Carl Hayden, Arizona's first US Congressman, was reported to have been involved with Colonel Harris in designing the first state flag, and his wife, Nan Hayden, was responsible for sewing the first state flag. Rachael Berry, a leader in women's suffrage and the first woman elected to the First Arizona Legislature during Arizona's first year of statehood in 1912, also is reported to have codesigned the Arizona flag with another woman (likely Nan Hayden) in the years preceding statehood. Many individuals likely were involved in its conception, design, and production, rather than one or two individuals working independently; the specific language used in official state of Arizona materials likely has merit.

The Stewart/Harris version of the competition flag's origin is due to Stewart dropping some copper dye and white material into boiling water and the result was the copper color now seen on the flag. While some sources claim the rising sun of the earlier proposals was thought to resemble the Japanese flag and was therefore changed to the present star, most official sources (including official state documents) cite the Spanish flag and the influence of the early Arizona explorers conquistadores Cabeza de Vaca and Coronado as they searched unsuccessfully for the lost (gold) City of Cibola as the inspiration for the colors. It is worth to remind, nonetheless, that these early Arizona's explorers never used the current Spanish flag, which is of a much recent invention (1785).

The flag was adopted on February 17, 1917, by the 3rd Arizona Legislature. It was passed into law without the signature of Governor Thomas Campbell. The governor did not officially state his reasons for taking no action on the bill. [0]

Meaning

The 13 rays of red and weld-yellow on the top half, the colors of the flag of Spain, represent the 13 original states. The red and yellow also symbolize Arizona's picturesque sunsets. The copper star represents the copper mining industry in Arizona. The rest of the flag is colored blue, representing the Colorado River. [0]