10 Facts About the State Flag of Texas

Texas flags at the 60th Stonewall Peach JAMboree and Rodeo. Photo by Will van Overbeek

Today is National Flag Day, and it’s no secret that Texans have a special affection for their national flag. Found everywhere from stately buildings to individual homes and sporting an unlimited selection of merchandise, including cowboy boots, it’s more than just a piece of cloth – it represents Texas’ intricate history, pride of its people and its unique identity as a state. This Flag Day, we’ve compiled a list of Texas state flag facts that every Texan should know.

1. The six flags of Texas

If you’ve ever taken a Texas history class, you know that the famous Lone Star flag is just one of many flags that have flown over Texas at one time or another. There were six flags corresponding to the six different countries that controlled the territory of Texas: Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America and the United States of America. The six flags tell the story of the deep history behind the state of Texas and lend a popular texas amusement park her name.

2. The designer of the Lone Star flag is unknown

Vexillologists (people who study flags) have been unable to identify the designer of the Texas state flag. In a 2016 interview with KUT, Houston Court of Appeals judge and vexillologist Charles A. Spain explained the difficulty of identifying the creator. The official flag design was proposed by an 1836 convention of 59 delegates along with the Texas Constitution and Declaration of Independence. “The problem is that because the convention records are incomplete, we have a reference that there was a drawing on a certain date but the drawing is not described,” Spain said. Until historians or vexillologists are ever able to track down the original creator, his identity will remain a mystery.

3. Texas flag ranked second in North America

So close, but… not so far, really. In 2001, the North American Vexillological Association asked its members and the public to rate 72 flag designs of the United States and Canada on a scale of 0 to 10. Over 29,000 individual votes were cast in 20 countries , and half of the US state flags had mean scores below four. Texas came in second place just behind New Mexico, with Quebec in third. It may be time to re-investigate.

4. A seventh flag over Texas

Some Texas towns such as Laredo flew a seventh flag: the flag of the Republic of the Rio Grande. The republic lasted only 10 months in 1840 and was never officially recognized, but it still established a legacy in that short time. The rulers of the republic have erected a capital, a president, a cabinet and a flag, according to the Rio Grande Republic Museum. The flag has a layout similar to the state flag of Texas, with white and black horizontal stripes on the right side of the flag and a red vertical stripe on the left containing three white stars.

5. Find historic flags on display

In the Texas Capitol, San Jacinto’s original battle flag hangs from the House of Representatives since 1933. Visitors hoping to see it can book a tour of the Texas Capitol, but may be disappointed – when the House is not in session, the flag is replaced with a reproduction while the original is kept behind the drapery in darkness. Keep an eye out for historic flags at the Bullock Museum, where flags are occasionally displayed, although none are currently on view.

6. You may be posting it wrong

Texas flag code provides a series of guidelines for the display and use of the Texas flag. Although it is officially Texas law, there are no penalties for violating the flag code, and it is generally used as a formal etiquette rather than a binding requirement. For example, the flag should never be used for advertising or merchandising purposes per the flag code, but you will still see the flag proudly displayed on cowboy boots, license plates, and belt buckles. Additionally, the flag should never be flown in inclement weather or displayed outdoors at night. When displayed horizontally, the white stripe should be on top, except in distress.

7. Fact Check: Displaying the Stars and Stripes and the Lone Star Flag

There is a common misconception that Texas is the only state capable of displaying its flag at the same height as the flag of the United States. The truth is, all states are allowed to display their flags at the same height as Old Glory. However, American flag code offers more information on displaying the state and national flag together. When the flags are displayed on the same flagpole, the state flag shall be flown below the United States flag, and when the two are carried in procession or on separate poles, the United States flag shall be flown to the right of the state flag (viewer’s left) .

8. The Largest Texas Flag

Measuring 100 feet wide by 150 feet long, the world’s largest Texas flag is managed by the Alpha Phi Omega Chapter of the University of Texas at Austin, a national co-ed service fraternity. The flag weighs 450 pounds and it takes about 60 chapter members to manage it. The flag was originally a gift to Texas Governor Price Daniel from Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett at the 1962 Cotton Bowl between the Texas Longhorns and Ole Miss. .

9. Colors have a deeper meaning

The red, white, and blue of the Texas flag are more important than just aesthetic appeal. According to the flag code, the colors represent bravery (red), purity (white) and loyalty (blue). When the flag was adopted in 1839, it was proposed that red represent war, white peace, and blue friendship, but the suggestion was not adopted by the Texas Congress. The flag also shares the symbolism of its colors with the flag of the United States.

10. There is no flag like the Lone Star

The Texas flag has a unique quality compared to other state flags: according to the Texas House of Representatives, it is the only American state flag to have served as the flag of a recognized independent country. Given the pride Texans have in their independence, it’s only fitting that this part of the state’s history be displayed with a mighty flag.

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