Delaware State Flag: History, Design, Trivia
DATE FIRST USED
Delaware State Flag
Blue with a beige diamond containing the Delaware coat of arms in the center. The date "December 7, 1787" is positioned below the coat of arms.
Symbols: A coat of arms against a diamond background. Much of the emblem points to the importance of farming in the state's early history. The cow in the center stands for animal care and management; the farmer with the hoe, wheat, and corn stands for agriculture. The blue stripe in the center represents the Delaware River. A militia member demonstrates Delaware's role in the revolution and the importance of American liberty. The date "December 7, 1787" below the diamond commemorates the day Delaware ratified the Constitution of the United States, becoming the first state. The diamond shape represents the state as a whole. Delaware has the nickname the "Diamond State" because of its small size and great value given its position on the Atlantic Ocean and its historical leadership contributions.
Colors: Blue and beige. Officially "colonial blue" and "buff," these are meant to represent the color combination of the American Revolutionary War soldiers' uniforms (see Legends, Controversies, and Trivia section below). The people and objects in the coat of arms are shown in realistic colors.
Proportions: 2:3 or 3:5
Variations: The governor's flag is the same as the state flag but also has a gold fringe. It must be hoisted on a pole that has a blue hen's fighting rooster finial.
The Dutch raised their flag over Delaware starting in about 1631 with their first permanent settlement. The Swedish also tried to stake a claim, but the colony fell under the British flag shortly thereafter. During the American Revolution, the American flag probably flew for the first time as a battle flag in Delaware. The state seal that's currently on the state flag was created almost immediately after Delaware became the first state in the Union, but the state flag was not.
In fact, there seemed little need for a state flag until the early 1900s, when it was created with a minimum of controversy. The state appointed a commission to design the flag, and the commission chose to emphasize Delaware's important colonial heritage as much as possible. It chose the state seal, originally designed shortly after independence, as the flag's main feature. The seal includes elements that represent all three of Delaware's counties. The flag's main colors were chosen from a picture in an official Army publication that showed Washington wearing a blue uniform with buff trim.
The Delaware flag should always be treated with care and respect. It should never touch the ground and never be deliberately torn or marked. It should be hoisted briskly and lowered reverently. The Delaware state flag takes precedence over all other flags in the state except the U.S. flag and any other national flags. When the flag of Delaware flies with the U.S. flag, it must always be hoisted at a lower height. Flags that become dirty or tattered through normal use should be replaced and disposed of privately, usually by burning.
LEGENDS, CONTROVERSIES, AND TRIVIA
The colors of Delaware flag are ostensibly based on Revolutionary War uniforms. General Washington stipulated that soldiers should have blue coats with light colored trim, but in fact, relatively few soldiers had uniforms at all. Supplies were limited, and they were simply not a priority.
Thomas Jefferson supposedly said Delaware was a "jewel" among states because of its important coastal position, and this led to the "Diamond State" nickname. Although the quote is attributed to Jefferson, it is quite possible it was said by another revolutionary leader, or is entirely just a myth.
-World Trade Press