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Texas (U.S.)

Last modified: 2006-08-26 by rick wyatt
Keywords: texas | united states | mexico | republic of texas |
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[Flag of Texas] image by Mario Fabretto, 24 February 1998

Municipal Flags

Texas municipalities with incomplete flag information
County Flags of Texas (index page)

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In 1846, a star was added, representing Texas, bringing the total number of stars on the U.S. flag to 28. There were thirteen stripes representing the thirteen original colonies.

Legal Description

Effective September 1, 2001, the laws related to the Texas flag were repealed and re-enacted as a part of the Texas Government Code as follows:

Sec. 3100.001. STATE FLAG. The state flag is the 1839 national flag of the Republic of Texas.

      (a) The state flag is a rectangle that:
            (1) has a width to length ratio of two to three; and
            (2) contains:
                  (A) one blue vertical stripe that has a width equal to one-third the length of the flag;
                  (B) two equal horizontal stripes, the upper stripe white, the lower stripe red, each having
                        a length equal to two-thirds the length of the flag; and
                  (C) one white, regular five-pointed star:
                        (i) located in the center of the blue stripe;
                        (ii) oriented so that one point faces upward; and
                        (iii) sized so that the diameter of a circle passing through the five points of the star is
                              equal to three-fourths the width of the blue stripe.
      (b) The red and blue of the state flag are:
            (1) the same colors used in the United States flag; and
            (2) defined as numbers 193 (red) and 281 (dark blue) of the Pantone Matching System.
      (c) The red, white, and blue of the state flag represent, respectively, bravery, purity, and loyalty.

Sec. 3100.003. DESCRIPTION UNDER GOVERNOR'S RULES. In addition to each requirement prescribed by Section 3100.002, the governor by executive order published in the Texas Register may prescribe changes or other rules relating to the description of the state flag.

      (a) If the state flag is mounted on a flagstaff:
            (1) the flag should be attached at the peak of the staff;
            (2) the staff should be at least 2_1/2 times as long as the flag's hoist; and
            (3) if the staff has a finial, the finial should be a star or a spearhead.
      (b) If the state flag is permanently mounted on a flagstaff:
            (1) the flag may be decorated with gold fringe; and
            (2) the staff may be decorated with gold cord or tassels.

The former Texas Flag Code is now Government Code sections 3100.051 to 3100.072. The pledge of allegiance to the Texas flag is Government Code sections 3100.101 to 3100.104. The flag retirement ceremony is Government Code sections 3100.151 to 3100.152. State symbols are Government Code sections 3101.001 to 3101.003 (state seal and state arms), 3101.004 (state motto), 3101.005 to 3101.006 (state song), 3101.007 (state bird), 3101.008 (state flower), 3101.009 to 3101.010 (state tree), and 3101.011 (state plays). The authorization for the governor's ability to adopt a governor's flag (which still has not been done) is Government Code section 401.104. Texas Flag Day (March 2) is Government Code section 662.048.

Charles Spain, 18 December 2001

Six National Flags over Texas

[Flag of Republic of Mexico] [Flag of Spain] [Flag of Royal France] [Flag of Texas] [Flag of CSA] [28 Star Flag of U.S.]

The reverse of the State Seal of Texas features the "Six Flags Over Texas" (not to be confused with the amusement park of the same name). Running clockwise, starting in the 7 o'clock position, they are:

Republic of Mexico
Spain (post-1785)
Royal France (White, semy de lys gold)
Republic of Texas (same as the current state flag)
Confederate States of America (first national, with 7 stars)
United States of America (28 stars - Texas was the 28th state)

The obverse of the seal was adopted in 1836, but the reverse described above was designed in 1961 and isn't really seen very often.
Andrew Rogers, 18 March 1997

Republic of Texas

[Flag of Texas]

The Republic of Texas was the name of Texas before it joined the Union and the current flag was the legal national flag from 10 December 1836 until 25 January 1839 (that's why the "Republic of Texas" proponents use it).
Norman Martin, 20 June 1999

Maritime Flag

[Naval flag of Texas] image by Ed Qualls, 4 October 2001

Texas has had two naval ensigns, the 1824 green-white-red flag adopted in 1835 and the 1836 13 red-and-white striped flag with a white lone star in the blue canton. The 1836 flag replaced the 1835 flag, and the 1836 flag ceased to exist when Texas joined the U.S. on 29 Dec 1845. Texas currently has no maritime flag.
Charles Spain, 5 June 1996

This version of the Texan Naval Ensign is found on several 19th century flag sheets, but the documentary evidence, as published by Charles Spain in the South Texas Law Review, Feb. 1992, Vol.33, No. 1, pp. 215-259, is that the authorized version of the Texan Naval Ensign from 1836 to 1839 had a blue canton proportioned as in the US flag, with the lone star.

The 1839 legislation, which adopted the current State flag as the flag of the Republic of Texas, implicitly repealed the 1836 law regarding the naval ensign, in section 4, when it authorized the President to establish a flag for the naval service.

I have asked Kin Spain whether the version with the blue vertical hoist, which matches the 1839 national flag, but with 13 stripes replacing the 2 white and red horizontal bars of the 1839 national flag, as evidenced by the mid-19th century flag charts, might be the naval ensign with the 1839 legislation directs the President to approve, but for which no documentary evidence has yet been found in the Texas archives.
Devereaux Cannon, 5 October 2001

Pilot Flag

[Pilot flag of Texas] image by Devereaux Cannon, 9 September 1998

Charles A. Spain in his "The Flags and Seals of Texas" states that this flag is just a "Pilot Flag" used only as an auxiliary flag similar to the U.S. Coast Guard ensign. Since he is on the spot with the Texas primary sources, I am inclined to defer to his opinion.
Devereaux Cannon, 9 September 1998

Governor's Flag

[Governor of Texas] image by Joe McMillan, 27 February 2000

The Texas legislature enacted a comprehensive rewrite of the laws relating to its flag and seal in 1993 (which I drafted). The statute specifically granted the governor the authority to adopt a flag for the governor's official use, but neither the former or current governor (Ann W. Richards and George W. Bush, respectively) has done so. What I hear through unofficial channels is that the governor's office (both former and current) is concerned that adopting a flag will appear "imperial," and thus be a political liability. I thought we were giving the governor flexibility, but it apparently was a mistake not to impose a specific design. I am working on correcting this in the 1997 session of the legislature.

By the way, there has been a de facto governor's flag from the late 1960s-early 1970s to the late 1980s. It consists of the state arms (a lone star encircled by live oak and olive branches) on a light blue circle, all on a dark blue field with a white star in each corner.
Charles Spain, 5 June 1996

State Pledge

According to the Flag Law of Texas:

Art. 6139b. Pledge of allegiance to the state flag.
(a) The pledge of allegiance to the state flag is, "Honor the Texas flag; I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one and indivisible."

(b) The pledge of allegiance to the state flag should be rendered by all present except those in uniform by standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Individuals who are not in uniform and who are wearing a headdress that is easily removable should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, with the hand over the heart. Individuals in uniform should remain silent, face the flag, and render the military salute.

(c) The pledge of allegiance to the state flag may be recited at all public and private meetings at which the pledge of allegiance to the United States flag is recited and at state historical events and celebrations.

(d) The pledge of allegiance to the state flag should be recited after the pledge of allegiance to the United States flag if both are recited.

Phil Nelson, 13 December 2002

Originally the pledge began with the right hand over the heart while saying the opening words "I pledge allegiance..." The arm was then straightened out, palm upward, in the direction of the flag as one said "to the flag..." and remained extended through the rest of the pledge. Once Hitler came to power in Europe, some Americans were concerned that this position of the arm and hand resembled the Nazi or Fascist salute. In 1942 Congress also established the current practice of rendering the pledge with the right hand over the heart.
Joe McMillan, 13 December 2002

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 mullet argent encircled by a garland of live oak and olive proper."
Joe McMillan, 21 April 2000