The state flag of Massachusetts features the state’s coat of arms. The coat of arms has a Native American holding a bow and arrow. The arrow is pointed down, symbolizing peace. The design also features a white star that represents the state being the sixth to be admitted to the United States. A ribbon is also found on the design and features the state motto in Latin. Translated, the motto is, “By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty.” Above the shield is an arm holding a sword with the blade up – a reminder of the liberty that was won through the American Revolution.
The background color of this state flag is white. It features the state’s coat of arms which is blue, gold and white.
Throughout Massachusetts’ history, limited-purpose flags have been used but it was not until 1908 that the state had a flag to represent its government. The flag of Massachusetts that was first designed in 1908 was similar to the design used today. However, on the reverse side was a pine tree – the same design used on the naval and maritime flag of the state. The pine tree was removed from the flag in 1971, and the flag that is flown today was adopted on March 21, 1971.
Massachusetts is just one of two U.S. states that has its own naval ensign.