The state flag of West Virginia features the state’s coat of arms in the center. The elements of this design include a farmer and a miner, representing the agriculture and industry of the state. There is a boulder that is inscribed with the date June 20, 1863, which is the date that West Virginia was admitted to the Union. There are hunting rifles and a “Cap of Liberty” which represent the state’s fight for liberty.
The background of the flag is white, a color that was chosen to symbolize purity. The flag has a blue border, which represents the Union. The coat of arms features multiple colors, including gold, blue, green and yellow. The banner above the shield in the coat of arms is red in color, with the text “State of West Virginia” written in black.
West Virginia was first designated as a state in 1863 and during its earliest history, had multiple unofficial flags. It was during the same year that Joseph Diss Debar was commissioned to design a seal for the state. The seal was officially adopted later that year, and a stylized version was used to create the state’s coat of arms. However, a state flag was still not adopted. During the Civil War in 1864, battle flags featured the state’s seal, along with the national emblem of the United States on the opposite side. Even after the war ended, however, the state still did not have an official flag.
In 1904, the State Commission reported that a flag was needed to distinguish West Virginia at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis. A state flag was created and used in 1905 that featured mountain laurel on a white background with a blue border with the state seal on the opposite side. This flag was used until 1907. In 1907, the flag was redesigned due to design flaws. This flag proved to be costly to produce, however, so a new state flag was proposed. This flag would not be printed on both side and would incorporate the coat of arms with the state flower on one side. The flag was adopted on March 7, 1929 and remains in use today.
A pledge of allegiance to West Virginia’s flag was adopted in 1977.