Last updated on February 7th, 2023
About the Flag of Georgia
1. Design and Symbolism
The Georgia state flag has three horizontal stripes of equal height: red, white, and red. In the upper left corner is a blue square with 13 white stars encircling a golden coat of arms.
The five-pointed stars depict the Thirteen Colonies that started the revolt against British rule. Georgia is one of these states as a signatory of the 1776 Declaration of Independence.
The coat of arms has three pillars representing the branches of government. Words in ribbons wrap around them: Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation. A soldier stands guard in a Revolutionary War uniform.
At the top is an arch that signifies the supremacy of the constitution. At the bottom are the words “In God we trust.” Georgia, Florida, and Mississippi have this flag motto in common.
2. Technical Details
This flag follows various proportions: 2:3, 3:5, and 5:8. Meanwhile, the blue square must cover two-thirds of the flag width, equivalent to the two upper bands.
When arranging the stars, ensure uniform distance along a circle with one tip pointing outward. One of them must be directly above the middle of the golden arch.
The First Flag
In 1879, senator Herman Perry introduced the first state flag that honors Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. It also had horizontal red, white, and red stripes, but the left side had a vertical blue band. They later added the Georgia coat of arms.
The Second Flag
In 1956, the General Assembly adopted a new design with the Confederate Battle Flag. It kept the blue band, removed the other stripes, and replaced them with the star-filled blue “X” with red triangles in the hollows. A white strip highlights the borders.
Since the Confederacy has associations with slavery, many criticized the new flag as racist. In the 1990s, Georgia got more attention as the venue for the 1996 Summer Olympics. It also increased scrutiny of the state flag.
The Third Flag
In 2001, the General Assembly rushed the approval of a third flag designed by respected commercial architect Cecil Alexander. It was a compromise that changed the overall appearance by highlighting the state seal on a blue field but including a small image of the controversial 1956 flag. Other images under the seal are a 13-star US flag, a pre-1879 state flag, a 1920 state flag, and a 50-star US flag.
The Fourth Flag
In 2003, general dissatisfaction with the third flag led to the creation of a fourth flag. The new governor, Sonny Perdue, asked the state legislature to propose a design. The 2001 and 2003 flags were subject to a referendum, where the latter won 73.1% of the votes.
Several unofficial flags circulated before 1876, including the Bonnie Blue Flag with a white star at the center of a blue field.
The design principle behind the fourth flag is the First National Flag of the Confederacy, also known as the “Stars and Bars.”
Governor Roy Barnes lost in the next election after replacing the controversial 1956 flag. Critics called his alternative the “Barnes rag,” but he stands by his belief that divisive symbols of racism have no place in government emblems.