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Hawaii (U.S.)

Last modified: 2006-07-08 by rick wyatt
Keywords: hawaii | united states | union jack |
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image by Mario Fabretto, 24 February 1998

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In 1960, a star was added, representing Hawaii, bringing the total number of stars on the U.S. flag to 50. There are thirteen stripes representing the thirteen original colonies.

Legal Description

Hawaii Revised Statutes
Section 5-19. Description of the Hawaiian flag. The official description of the Hawaiian flag as authorized to represent the State of Hawaii on land and sea, and authorized for executive state agencies, second to the stars and stripes of the United States shall be:

  1. The Hawaiian flag shall consist of eight horizontal stripes, alternately white, red, blue, etc., beginning at the top, having a jack cantoned in the dexter chief angle next to the point of suspension;
  2. The jack shall consist of a blue field charged with a compound saltire (crossing) of alternate tincture white and red, the white having precedence; a narrow edge of white borders each red side of the saltire;
  3. A red cross bordered with white is charged (placed) over all;
  4. The proportion shall be as follows:
          (A) The fly (length) is twice the hoist (width);
          (B) The jack is half the hoist (width) in breadth and 7-16 the fly in length;
          (C) The arms of the red cross with border shall be equal in width to one of the horizontal stripes;
                the white border shall be one-third the width of the red cross;
          (D) The arms of the compound saltire (crossing) are equal in width to the red cross, the tinctures
                white, red, and the border being in the proportion of 3, 2, 1, respectively.
Joe McMillan, 11 February 2000

There is one difference between the regulations of 8 April 1896, and those in current use. The 1896 regulations call for a fimbriation to the Cross of St George of 1/6 the cross, whereas the modern ones ask for 1/3. Both sets call for "the arms of the red cross with border to be equal in width to one of the horizontal stripes", and whilst I interpreted the original to include the border and therefore, a total width of 1/8 the flag, I (along with FOTW and the official website) now interpret it to mean that the width of the red cross only should be 1/8 and the fimbriation extra (since to include a 1/3 fimbriation in the 1/8 would make an impossibly narrow cross and saltire.
Christopher Southworth, 29 July 2003



  • 1794-1816 Hawaii flew Union Jack as its National Flag
  • 1816-1843 Hawaii flew early version of present flag
  • 25 Feb - 31 July 1843 British occupation; all Hawaiian Flags were destroyed
  • 31 July 1843 King Kamehameha III spoke his famous prayer of thanksgiving, a part of which serves today as the State Motto while a Hawaiian Flag that included a dove and olive branch was hoisted.
  • 20 May 1845 present Hawaiian Flag adopted
  • 1 Feb - 1 April 1893 U.S. Flag flown in Hawaii
  • 1894 Republic of Hawaii readopts Hawaiian Flag
  • 1898-1959 Territory of Hawaii uses Hawaiian Flag (confirmed 1903)
  • 1959-present State of Hawaii uses Hawaiian Flag (confirmed 1959)
Dave Martucci, 19 April 1997

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Governor of Hawaii

image by Jaume Ollé, 7 April 1997

According to NAVA news (January 1984) the flag of the governor of Hawaii is blue over red with the word "Hawaii" in white in the center and, around the word, 8 white stars (8 islands perhaps?).
Jaume Ollé, 7 April 1997

State Military Crest

image by Joe McMillan, 21 April 2000

The state military crest, which is the crest used in the coats of arms of units of the National Guard, as granted by the precursor organizations of what is now the Army Institute of Heraldry. The official Institute of Heraldry blazon is "A dolphin embowed hauriant argent, in his mouth a key fesswise or."
Joe McMillan, 21 April 2000

Anyone familiar with the traditional heraldic depiction of a dolphin--as on the arms of the French Dauphins or the famous colophon of the Venetian printer Aldus Manutius--will be able to see at a glance that this is not an anatomically correct dolphin, but it's a dolphin (the mammal), not a mahi-mahi (dolphinfish), the seafood delicacy. Neither does the creature on the crest and the U.S. Navy submariner's badge remotely resemble a mahi-mahi/dolphin-fish, which lacks the snout of the heraldic (and natural) dolphin and has a single long dorsal fin extending the length of its back.
Joe McMillan, 8 April 2004