Welcome to Len Kubiak's Texas History Series
TEXAS HISTORY-FLAGS OVER TEXAS
EARLY-DAY FLAGS OVER THE TEXAS TERRITORY
The Spanish Flag-First Flag to fly over the Texas Territory
With the arrival of the Spanish explorers in 1529, the Spanish flag became the first flag to fly over the Texas territory from 1529 to 1685 and from 1690 to 1821.
There were two versions of the Spanish flag used during this period. Both designs incorporated the "castle and lion" emblems of the Crown of Castile and Leon. The Spanish flag used in the reverse of the Texas state seal, which was also adopted by the Texas State Historical Commission, is the flag adopted by King Charles III, containing horizontal stripes of red-gold-red and the simple arms of Castile and Leon. This flag was used by Spain from 1793 to 1931.
The French Flag-Second Flag to fly over the Texas Territory
The French flag flew over the Texas territory from 1685 to 1690.
In 1684, French nobleman Rene Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle founded a colony on the Texas Gulf Coast called Fort Saint Louis. The colony was unsuccessful, and after La Salle's murder, was soon abandoned. During this time, there was no official French flag, so a number of different designs are used in Texas flag displays.
The Mexican Flag-Third Flag to fly over the Texas Territory
Mexico won it's independence from Spain in 1821. The Mexican flag shown below is the one of the flags used by the Mexican Republic from 1823 through 1864. This flag was in use in Texas until the early days of the Texas revolution.
FLAGS USED DURING THE TEXAS REVOLUTION
First Texas Battle Flag
"Come and take it" flag made it's appearance early in the Texas Revolution. In March of 1831, Juan Gomez, a Lieutenant in the Mexican Army, worked alongside Tadeo Ortiz , a consul at Bordeaux, France, and granted a small cannon to the colony of San Antonio. The small bronze cannon was received by the colony and signed for by Randy Tumlinson. It was then transported to Gonzales, Texas and later was the object of Texas pride.
At the minor skirmish known as the Battle of Gonzales, a small group of Texans successfully resisted the Mexican forces who had orders to seize their cannon. As a symbol of defiance, the Texans had fashioned a flag containing the phrase along with a black star and an image of the cannon which they had received six years earlier from the hands of a Mexican official.
This flag is widely accepted as the first official Texas battle flag.
The Alamo Battle Flag
The 1824 Flag that flew above the walls of the Alamo for 13 days in February/March of 1836 is believed to be the one pictured below.
This green, white and red flag with the black numerals 1824 replacing the central Mexican eagle portrayed the heart of the revolutionary concept- The Mexican Government had done away with the 1824 constitution that had originally brought the Texans to this territory.
The Declaration of Independence Flag
The Dodson flag is believed to have been flown over Washington-on-the-Brazos as the delegates voted on the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2 of 1836.
The Baker Flag of San Felipe De Austin
The following flag flew at San Felipe when Sam Houston's army passed through on their way to the Battle of San Jacinto. May believe this flag aslo flew during the battle against Santa Anna at San Jacinto.
The San Jacinto Battle Flag
The following flag is widely accepted as one of the flags carried into battle at San Jacinto.
Flag of the Short-Lived Republic of the Rio Grande
Laredo was the capital of the short-lived Republic of the Rio Grande which flew the following flag.
HISTORY OF THE OFFICIAL TEXAS FLAG
First "Lone Star" Flag of the Texas Republic
On December 10, 1836, President Sam Houston approved the first national flag of the Republic of Texas. This flag, known as the "National Standard of Texas" displayed a large golden five pointed star centered on an azure ground. This flag flew over the Republic of Texas until January 25, 1839.
This was the first "Lone Star" flag to fly over the delegates at Washington on the Brazos as Texas' Independence was declared at the first Constitutional Convention on March 2, 1836.
Second Official Flag of the Republic of Texas
A bill describing the "Lone Star Flag", a flag that would become the second official flag of the Republic of Texas, was introduced on December 28, 1838 by Senator William H. Wharton. The bill was, of course, referred to committee and this committee proposed a substitute bill including the same flag design proposed by Senator Wharton. This bill was passed by the Texas Congress on January 21, 1839 and approved by Texas President Mirabeau B. Lamar on January 25, 1839. This was almost six years before Texas became a member of the United States of America.
Early designs of the flag are attributed to many including Joanna Troutman, Sara Dodson, Charles Bellinger Stewart, Peter Krag and William Wharton, but it was long held that the actual designer of the Lone Star Flag was not known. The Texas House "may" have put an end to the mystery in 1997. House Resolution 1123, Commemorating Montgomery County as the birthplace of the Lone Star Flag, declares, in part, that:
...WHEREAS, At the request of President Mirabeau B. Lamar, Dr. Charles B. Stewart of Montgomery County created this inspirational banner, and the elegant simplicity of his design truly exemplified the united will of the citizens of the new Republic of Texas; and...
House Resolution 1123
Official artwork created for the Lone Star Flag approved by President Lamar was drawn by Peter Krag.
[T]he national flag of Texas shall consist of a blue perpendicular stripe of the width of one third of the whole length of the flag, with a white star of five points in the centre thereof, and two horizontal stripes of equal breadth, the upper stripe white, the lower red, of the length of two thirds of the whole length of the flag.
US Flag Flies over Texas
When Texas was admitted to the Union in 1845, the Lone Star Flag came along. At the same time, Texas began flying the US flag above the Texas Flag.
Confederate Flag of Texas
When Texas succeeded from the union, the texas Confederate Flag flew over Texas.
In 1879, the Sixteenth Legislature approved the "Revised Civil Statues of 1879." These revised statutes provided that "all civil statutes of a general nature, in force when the Revised Statutes take effect, and which are not included herein, or which are not hereby expressly continued in force, are hearby repealed." Since the revised statutes included no legislation concerning the flag and did not "expressly" continue in force the 1839 law, the 1839 flag law was repealed.
From the date of the repeal, September 1, 1879 until the 1933 Flag Act, Texas was without an official state flag.
The legislation adopted in 1933, was quite particular about the design and location of the lone star and the colors of the flag: blood red, azure blue and white. The colors were said to impart the "lessons of the Flag: bravery, loyalty and purity." However, no standard for "blood red" or "azure blue" existed and flags manufactured within the state varied in color and dimension.
In 1993, the statutes concerning the flag were revisited and the official description of the state flag was revised.
The state flag consists of a rectangle with a width to length ratio of two to three containing: (1) a blue vertical stripe one-third the entire length of the flag wide, and two equal horizontal stripes, the upper stripe white, the lower red, each two-thirds the entire length of the flag long; and (2) a white, regular five-pointed star in the center of the blue stripe, oriented so that one point faces upward, and of such a size that the diameter of a circle passing through the five points of the star is equal to three-fourths the width of the blue stripe.
The colors of the flag were also stipulated as being "Old Glory Red" and "Old Glory Blue", the same colors found in the flag of the United States. These colors are defined in the Standard Color Reference of America.
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