The Flag of Georgia: History, Meaning, and Symbolism

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Written by Taiwo Victor

Updated: January 20, 2023

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Georgia is a southeastern US state bordered by North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, the Atlantic Ocean, and Florida. Blessed with nearly 60 thousand square miles (153,911 kmĀ²), Georgia is home to almost 11 million people as of 2020. The state has also been deemed the largest state east of the Mississippi River.

Atlanta, the state’s largest city and capital, houses nearly 6 million people. This city is also ranked as the United State’s ninth most populated metropolitan area, which houses 57% of the Georgian population. Georgia also features different kinds of flora, fauna, and landscape and has several mountains, such as the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are part of the Appalachian Mountain system. It also features swamps and several soil types that spread from the Appalachian mountain to the Atlantic coast marshes.

Interestingly, Atlanta, the state’s capital, was also the host of the 1996 Olympics, the 100th anniversary of the modern Olympic Games. Linked with tremendous economic and population growth, Georgia has been ranked highly through its counties among the nation’s fastest-growing regions. 

Georgia is one of the 13 primary American colonies, and its flag is one of the most peculiar in the country. Read on to discover the Georgian flag’s history, meaning, and symbolism.

Founding of Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia covered in snow and ice

Georgia’s economy thrives on manufacturing, real estate, public utilities, construction, trade, transportation, and finance.

©iStock.com/trekandshoot

Georgia was first inhabited by the Cherokee Indians and the Creeks when Spanish missionaries landed in the 16th century. The province of Georgia was established in 1732, although the English settlement began at Savannah in 1733 when James Oglethorpe created a refuge for debtors. By 1752, Georgia became a British colony and was one of the last of the 13 primary colonies established. 

Initially, Georgia’s economy thrived on the slave trade plantation. As a result, it became one of the first states to secede in 1861 from the Union as it supported the Confederate States of America in the American Civil War, an action Georgia paid a high price for. Georgia greatly suffered for its activities in the war through the Union’s Army of Northern Georgia siege and the capture of Atlanta by Gen. William Sherman Tecumseh in 1984.

Characteristics of Georgia

Georgia is blessed with abundant wildlife, such as alligators, bears, deer, rabbits, raccoons, quail, opossums, sea turtles, grouses, and squirrels. There are also several fishes and birds, such as bonefish, and snooks, amongst others.

The Georgian economy thrives on manufacturing, real estate, public utilities, construction, trade, transportation, and finance. The state also has several acres of commercial rainforest, with plywood, paper, pine forests, and lumber being the major products of the Georgia timberland.

History of the Flag of Georgia

The first official flag of Georgia was adopted in 1879.

©iStock.com/rarrarorro

Georgia has changed its flag about eight times, making it the state with the most flag changes. Georgia’s current flag design was influenced by the first national flag of the Confederacy, also known as the “Stars and Bars.” Besides the states of Mississippi and Florida, Georgia is the only state flag of the United States that still bears the motto, “In God We Trust.”

The history of the flag of Georgia dates back as far as 1861. The state’s first flag was reportedly the Bonnie Blue Flag, which had a white star in the center of a blue field. This design had no official recognition but was flown in 1861. However, there are reports that the blue star was later replaced with a red star. Georgia also used a flag that included three pillars supported by an arch and a pediment whose design was taken from the state seal, but there is no proof that the flag was used when the Civil War was concluded between 1861 and 1865.

The first official flag of the state of Georgia was adopted on the 17th of October, 1879. The flag resembled the Stars and Bars flag of the Confederacy, featuring red-white-red stripes. It was designed by Herman H. Perry, a Confederate colonel during the Civil War. However, instead of a Canton, there was a vertical blue stripe along the hoist. 

On the 1st of July 1956, a new flag, designed by a World War II veteran, John Sammons Bell, was adopted. This flag design had a Confederate Battle flag in its field, and although there’s no proof that the legislature officially approved the flag, sources say that the flag was adopted to honor Civil War veterans. In the 1990s, after the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) raised issues concerning the flag’s design, new attempts were made to redesign it. In 1992, Governor Zell Miller tried to remove the Confederate Battle flag but was unsuccessful. 

Then, in 2001, the legislature approved a new flag designed by architect Cecil Alexander. Unfortunately, a survey revealed that this flag was the worst at the time. Finally, in 2003, following the election of Sonny Perdue as the Governor of Georgia, a new flag design was proposed. This design had features of the Confederate National flag (the Stars and Bars). It was officially adopted on the 8th of May, 2003, and has been in use ever since.

The Symbolism of the Flag of Georgia

The stars on Georgia’s flag represent Georgia’s position as one of the 13 primary colonies. 

©iStock.com/rarrarorro

Georgia’s current flag has three horizontal stripes, including a red-white-red triband and a blue canton by the side. The blue canton has a circle of 13 white stars at its center, while the gold-colored state Coat of Arms is encapsulated within the white stars. These stars represent Georgia’s position as one of the 13 primary colonies

In the state Coat of Arms, three pillars support an arch representing the three branches of government: legislative, executive, and judicial. The state’s motto, “Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation,” is written around the pillars, with a man in a colonial dress holding the sword in defense of the state constitution. The motto of the United States of America, “In God We Trust,” is written underneath the pillar.

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About the Author

For six years, I have worked as a professional writer and editor for books, blogs, and websites, with a particular focus on animals, tech, and finance. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games with friends.

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