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What is the history of the Pennsylvania state flag?

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Quick Answer

The General Assembly first authorized a state flag of Pennsylvania in the year 1799, and standardized the flag in 1907. The standardization stipulates that the blue background match the hue of the blue in the U.S. flag. The coat of arms featured on the flag was first adopted in 1778.

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Full Answer

The coat of arms of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as featured on the state flag, features a bald eagle as its crest, a gold and white torse, and two horses as supporters. The bald eagle represents loyalty to the United States.

Symbols of Pennsylvania's greatest strengths adorn the coat of arms: a ship represents the commerce that Pennsylvania's economy is based on, a red plough represents the rich natural resources of the region, and three sheaves of wheat represent the fertility of the state's soil as well as its cultural wealth. Below this scene, a cornstalk crosses limbs with an olive branch as a symbol of prosperity and peace, with the words "Virtue, Liberty and Independence" festooned adjacent.

In 2005, the state legislature of Pennsylvania voted to add the word "Pennsylvania" to the flag, written in golden letters. Representatives passed the measure, the Senate has not taken action on it as of 2015.

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