The flag of Virginia features the obverse side of the state seal. This side is the official seal that is used on all official government papers. This seal depicts the Roman virtue of Virtus, a symbol for peace. The figure holds a long spear and has a sword of authority that remains sheathed. She is posed in such a way that indicates victory.
There are multiple symbols that represent Virginia’s freedom. Underneath the foot of Virtus is Tyranny. This represents the state’s defeat of Great Britain. A crown lying on the ground represents Virginia’s release from the control of Great Britain. The broken chain held by Tyranny represents the freedom of Virginia from Britain’s control of expansion and trade. A whip in the other hand of Tyranny is rendered useless, representing the state’s freedom from acts of punishment by the British. The seal also features the motto “Sic semper turannis,” which means “Thus always to tyrants.”
There are several colors used in the design of the state flag of Virginia. However, the main color is blue—or azure—which makes up the background. The obverse of the state seal is featured prominently in the center of the flag. This seal includes many colors, including red, yellow, light blue and purple.
The Virginia colony won its independence from Great Britain in 1776. A committee was appointed to create a seal that would be used by the Commonwealth of Virginia. It took just four days for the committee to submit a report outlining the design of the seal. The seal was voted on and approved by the government. Although it is not certain as to how each member of the committee contributed to the design, it is thought that George Wythe played a big role in the design.
Even though the seal was designed in the 18th century, it was not used on the Virginia state flag until 1861, right before the Civil War. The flag was not standardized until 1950 by the General Assembly. It was February 1 when the flag was first adopted, and it has remained unchanged ever since.
The flag of Virginia can be decorated with white fringe. This is traditionally done when the flag is hung indoors.