Flag of Tennessee

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State of Tennessee
Flag of Tennessee.svg
UseCivil and state flag
AdoptedApril 17, 1905; 114 years ago (1905-04-17)
DesignA blue circle with three white five-pointed stars on a rectangular field of red, with a strip of white and blue on the fly.
Designed byColonel LeRoy Reeves

The flag of the state of Tennessee consists of an emblem on a field of red, with a strip of blue on the fly. The emblem in the middle consists of three stars on a blue circle. The central emblem portion of the flag appears in the logos of some Tennessee-based companies and sports teams. Examples include the First Tennessee Bank, Tennessee Titans of the National Football League, and the Nashville Predators of the National Hockey League.


The flag was designed by Colonel LeRoy Reeves of the Tennessee National Guard, a Johnson City attorney who was serving in the Tennessee National Guard in 1905 when he created the new flag design.[1]

The Tennessee State Legislature officially adopted the flag on April 17, 1905.[2]



The three stars represent the three Grand Divisions of the state, East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, and West Tennessee. The blue circle around the stars represents the unity of the "Grand Divisions" of the state. The blue bar at the edge of the flag was just a design consideration. When asked about the blue bar, Reeves stated that "The final blue bar relieves the sameness of the crimson field and prevents the flag from showing too much crimson when hanging limp." The National Geographic magazine erroneously reported in October 1917 that the stars represent Tennessee's status as the third state to enter the United States after the original thirteen.[3]

Star arrangement[edit]

Tennessee state law dictates on how the center emblem is drawn on the flag.

The arrangement of the three (3) stars shall be such that the centers of no two stars shall be in a line parallel to either the side or the end of the flag, but intermediate between the same; and the highest star shall be the one nearest the upper confined corner of the flag.

— [3]

In 1976, the United States Postal Service issued a sheet of stamps with one stamp for each state. The Tennessee flag was upside down as represented on its stamp.[4]

Former state flags[edit]

As the Civil War was approaching in 1861, a flag was first proposed for the state. It was modeled after the First National Flag of the CSA, but with the State Seal in the canton, instead of seven stars.[citation needed]

Prior to the adoption of the current flag, the state of Tennessee used a tricolor in red, blue, and white.[citation needed] The three bands were slanted to represent geographically the three regions of Tennessee. It included the number 16 and the words "The Volunteer State", representing Tennessee being the 16th state in the Union, and the state's nickname.

Government flags[edit]

Alongside the state flag, there are other flags used by the government of Tennessee. The flag for the Governor of Tennessee has been in use since 1939. It is a scarlet flag, with four stars, one in each corner, and the State Military Crest, a tree with three white stars, in the center. The Tennessee General Assembly has its own flag as well.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "LeRoy Reeves Papers 1703-1952". East Tennessee State University, Archives of Appalachia.
  2. ^ Darnell, Riley C. (2006). Tennessee Blue Book (PDF). Nashville, Tennessee: State of Tennessee. pp. 515–516.
  3. ^ a b "Tennessee State Flag". Tennessee Military Department. Archived from the original on 2008-01-14. Retrieved 2007-10-26.
  4. ^ Knoxville Philatelic Society News, February 2008

External links[edit]