Alabama's original state flag was born during the Civil War in 1861, but its first incarnation was short-lived. As of 2015, Alabama has had the same state flag since the 1890s.
Although Alabama became a member of the Union in 1819, the state didn't have a flag until 1861, when Alabama seceded to join the Confederacy. A group of women from Montgomery designed the new flag at that year's Secession Convention. One side of the flag had the figure of the Goddess of Liberty, holding a sword in one hand and a flag with a gold star in the other hand, in the center. The phrase "Independent Now and Forever" arched over the goddess. The other side of the flag was a cotton plant with a coiled rattlesnake; the Latin words "Noli Me Tangere" – in English, "Touch Me Not" – appeared under the plant.
The original state flag of Alabama only lasted for a month before a storm damaged the flag. The Confederacy's flag replaced the state flag; when the Civil War ended, Alabama used the U.S. flag rather than its own.
The state government officially adopted a new design in 1895. This flag was a red St. Andrew's cross on a white background. The flag intentionally bears some resemblance to the Confederacy's flag. Since the Confederacy's flag was square, Alabama's flag were sometimes made in this unorthodox shape until a 1987 notice established that the state flag is officially rectangular.