Six coats of arms displayed under the Texas State Capitol Dome
"Six Flags Over Texas" is the slogan used to describe the six countries that have had sovereignty over some or all of the current territory of the U.S. state of Texas. This slogan has been incorporated into shopping malls, theme parks (Six Flags), and other enterprises. The "six flags" are also shown on the reverse of the Seal of Texas. In 1997 the Texas Historical Commission adopted standard designs for representing the six flags.
Main article: Flag of Spain
The first flag belonged to Spain, which ruled most of Texas from 1519 to 1685 and from 1690 to 1821. There were two versions of the Spanish flag used during this period. Both designs incorporate the "castle and lion" emblems of the Crown of Castile (see Flag of Castile and León). The Spanish flag used in the reverse of the Seal of Texas, 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 León. This flag was used by Spain from 1793 to 1931, and from 1936 to the present day (now with a different coat of arms).
The second flag was the royal banner of the Kingdom of France from 1685 to 1689. 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 displays of the "six flags".
Main article: Flag of Mexico
The third flag flown (1821 through 1836) was the flag of Mexico. Mexico's independence was recognized by Spain in 1821. The Mexican flag displayed in the Austin Capitol is the one of the Mexican Republic of 1823 through 1864.
This flag was in use in Texas until its independence from Mexico in 1836 (Texas' declaration of independence).
Republic of Texas
Main article: Flag of Texas
The fourth flag belonged to the Republic of Texas from 1836 to 1845. The Republic had two national flags during its history, the first being the so-called "Burnet Flag". The "Lone Star Flag", the final national flag, became the state flag when Texas joined the United States as a U.S. state in 1845.
United States of America
The fifth and current flag is that of the United States of America, which Texas joined in 1845. Upon secession Texas abandoned this flag for its sixth, until readmission to the Union in 1865.
Confederate States of America
The sixth flag belonged to the Confederate States of America from 1861 to 1865. During this time, the Confederacy had three national flags.