Flag of New Mexico

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Flag of New Mexico
Flag of New Mexico.svg
UseCivil and state flag
AdoptedMarch 15, 1925
DesignThe red and gold (yellow) of old Spain. The ancient Zia sun symbol in red on a field of yellow.
Designed byHarry P. Mera[1]

The flag of the U.S. state of New Mexico consists of a red sun symbol of the Zia people on a field of gold (yellow), and was officially introduced in 1925. It was designed in 1920, to highlight the state's Native American Pueblo and Nuevo México Hispano roots. The symbology is designed to represent the Puebloans and the colors of the flag of Spain.

It is one of four U.S. state flags not to contain the color blue (the other three being Alabama, California, and Maryland). It is the only one of these four not to contain the color white. The flag of the District of Columbia also has no blue, although it is partially white, making the New Mexico flag the only US flag with no blue or white.[2]


Coronela flag of the Spanish Tercios Morados Viejos Tercios division (old murrey or purpure) during New Spain
A reconstruction of New Mexico's unofficial state flag, used in the 1915 San Diego World's Fair

The Daughters of the American Revolution pushed New Mexico to design a contemporary and unique flag in 1920. A contest to design the new state flag was won by Harry Mera of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Mera was an archaeologist who was familiar with the Zia sun symbol found at Zia Pueblo on a 19th-century pot. The symbol has sacred meaning to the Zia people. Four is a sacred number which symbolizes the Circle of Life: the four directions, the four times of day, the four stages of life, and the four seasons. The circle binds the four elements of four together. His winning design is the flag that the state uses today.[3] The salutation, "I salute the flag of the State of New Mexico and the Zia symbol of perfect friendship among united cultures",[1] is commonly recited in New Mexico public schools after the United States pledge of allegiance.

The New Mexico flag was rated first in a 2001 survey of 72 U.S. and Canadian flags by the North American Vexillological Association.[4][5]

Previous flag[edit]

During the first 14 years of statehood, New Mexico did not have an official flag. During the San Diego World's Fair of 1915, the fair featured an exhibit hall in which all the state flags were displayed. Since New Mexico did not have an official flag, an unofficial flag was displayed, consisting of a blue field with the United States flag in the upper left corner, the words "New Mexico" and "47" (because New Mexico is the 47th state) in silver lettering in the center of the flag, and the state seal in the bottom right corner.[6] Some historical references (including Cram's Unrivaled Atlas of the World) also show the words "The Sunshine State" wrapped around the seal in the lower right corner.

That early flag was designed by Ralph Emerson Twitchell,[7] This design was known as the "Twitchell flag". As of 2005, the only known Twitchell flag in existence was displayed at the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe.[7]


That a flag be and the same is hereby adopted to be used on all occasions when the state is officially and publicly represented, with the privilege of use by all citizens upon such occasions as they may deem fitting and appropriate. Said flag shall be the ancient Zia sun symbol of red in the center of a field of yellow. The colors shall be the red and yellow of old Spain. The proportion of the flag shall be a width of two-thirds its length. The sun symbol shall be one-third of the length of the flag. Said symbol shall have four groups of rays set at right angles; each group shall consist of four rays, the two inner rays of the group shall be one-fifth longer than the outer rays of the group. The diameter of the circle in the center of the symbol shall be one-third of the width of the symbol. Said flag shall conform in color and design described herein.

— New Mexico Statutes and Court Rules, Section 12-3-2[8]

Pledge to the New Mexico State Flag [edit]

The pledge to the state flag is available in English and Spanish:

I salute the flag of the state of New Mexico, the Zia symbol of perfect friendship among united cultures.

— New Mexico Statutes and Court Rules, Section 12-3-3[9]

Saludo la bandera del estado de Nuevo México, el símbolo zia de amistad perfecta, entre culturas unidas.

— New Mexico Statutes and Court Rules, Section 12-3-7[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b The Flag Book of the United States by Whitney Smith (1970), p. 174.
  2. ^ "List of US state flags and territories". ballotpedia.org. Retrieved 2021-01-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ History of the New Mexico flag
  4. ^ Edward B. Kaye (10 June 2001). "2001 State/Provincial Flag Survey" (PDF). nava.org. North American Vexillological Association.
  5. ^ Edward B. Kaye (2001). ""Good Flag, Bad Flag, and the Great NAVA Flag Survey of 2001". Raven: A Journal of Vexillology. 8: 11–38. doi:10.5840/raven200182.
  6. ^ New Mexico's First Flag (U.S.)
  7. ^ a b New Mexico Flag Hasn't Always Had a Zia Symbol; Earliest Version Boasted Quartz Crystals, by Rick Nathanson
  8. ^ "Section 12-3-2", New Mexico Statutes and Court Rules, State of New Mexico
  9. ^ "Section 12-3-3", New Mexico Statutes and Court Rules, State of New Mexico
  10. ^ "Section 12-3-7", New Mexico Statutes and Court Rules, State of New Mexico

External links[edit]