Arkansas State Flag
History of the Arkansas Flag
The Arkansas Flag features a red background with a large white diamond in the center surrounded by a thick blue border. Inside the blue border are 25 white stars. In the center of the diamond, is bold text that reads, "Arkansas." Above the word, "Arkansas" is one blue star and beneath the word is three blue stars in a triangle pattern. All of the stars are 5-point stars, with the top point reaching upwards, except the bottom star, which reaches downwards.
In 1912 the Pine Bluff chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution sought to present an Alabama State Flag to celebrate the new battle ship, USS Arkansas. The organization reached out to Alabama Secretary of State, Earle W. Hodges, who informed them that the state had no official flag. After learning of this, the organization began a campaign to create a state flag. Earle Hodges agreed and created a committee to review submissions. Newspaper advertisements were placed, soliciting designs for the new flag and 65 submissions were received. The winning design was created by Mrs. Willie Kavanaugh Hocker who was coincidentally a member of the Pine Bluff chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The winning entry was very similar to the current Arkansas flag, however, the diamond contained only 3 blue stars in a straight line and did not contain the word, " Arkansas." The committee requested the addition of the word, "Arkansas," so Mrs. Hocker rearranged the three blue stars, placing one above the word and two below.
The Red, White, and Blue colors used on the flag pay homage to the official colors of the United States, while the diamond formation in the center of the flag symbolizes the fact that Arkansas was home to the only diamond in the country at the time. The 25 stars around the border signify Arkansas as the 25th state to be admitted to the union. The three original stars represented three different symbolic meanings:
- Arkansas was ruled by three nations throughout its history: Spain, France, and the United States.
- Arkansas was the third state created from the Louisiana Purchase.
- The Louisiana Purchase took place in 1803
In 1923, the Arkansas State Legislature voted to add a fourth blue star to the flag to represent the fourth country which ruled over the state, which was the "Confederate States of America." The new star was placed above the word, "Arkansas," with the three other stars positioned below the word.
Arkansas is a Southeastern state that shares borders with Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Mississippi, and Tennessee. The capital city and most populated city is Little Rock, whose name is derived from "La Petite Roche" which is a rock formation along the river. The name Arkansas is derived from the word "Arkansa" which described one of the early tribes in the area called the Quapaws. Arkansas translates as "Southwind."
Arkansas has many nicknames including, the "Bear State," the "Toothpick State," the "Wonder State," the "Land of Opportunity" and the "Natural State." The nickname, "The Bear State" pays homage to the large population of Louisiana black bears in the first half of the 19th century, while the "Toothpick State" nickname references the early custom of men who carried sheathes or belt-knives. The "Wonder State," was a nickname coined by Governor Charles H. Brough in his writings about about the beautiful sights and attractions he observed as he traveled throughout the state. The nickname, "Land of opportunity" was introduced in the early 1940s when a group of business men called, "The committee of 100" were trying to promote economic development and created the catch phrase to describe the state. Finally, the nickname, the "Natural State" was coined in 1980 when the Parks System in Arizona was trying to promote the state to highlight the beautiful and diverse landscape.
Following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, Arkansas became a separate territory in 1819 and achieved statehood in 1836.