Flag of Wisconsin

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Flag of Wisconsin
UseCivil and state flag Small vexillological symbol or pictogram in black and white showing the different uses of the flagSmall vexillological symbol or pictogram in black and white showing the different uses of the flagReverse side is mirror image of obverse side
AdoptedMay 1, 1981; 41 years ago (1981-05-01)[1]
DesignBlue flag charged with the Wisconsin coat of arms.

The flag of Wisconsin is the official flag of the U.S. state of Wisconsin. The flag was first adopted in 1863, and was modified in 1979. It is a blue flag charged with the state coat of arms of Wisconsin.

Flag design[edit]

The state flag flies in front of the state capitol

The state flag is officially described by law as:

(a) Relative dimensions of 2 to 3, hoist to fly. (b) A background of royal blue cloth. (c) The state coat of arms, as described under. 1.07, in material of appropriate colors, applied on each side in the center of the field, of such size that, if placed in a circle whose diameter is equal to 50 percent of the hoist, those portions farthest from the center of the field would meet, but not cross, the boundary of the circle. (d) The word “WISCONSIN" in white, capital, condensed Gothic letters, one-eighth of the hoist in height, centered above the coat of arms, midway between the uppermost part of the coat of arms and the top edge of the flag. (e) The year “1848" in white, condensed Gothic numbers, one-eighth of the hoist in height, centered below the coat of arms, midway between the lowermost part of the coat of arms and the bottom edge of the flag.[2]


The flag of Wisconsin was adopted in 1863, following requests from Civil War regiments for battlefield use. The legislature formed a committee to choose the specifications for the flag, which was the state coat of arms centered on a field of dark blue. This design was similar to the ones in use by regiments. In 1913, it was formally added to the Wisconsin Statues, which specified the design of the state flag.[3]

In 1941, Carl R. Eklund reported that he raised the state flag over Antarctica, at the behest of Wisconsin Governor Julius P. Heil, about 500 miles north of the South Pole and 620 miles into a previously unexplored area.[4] In 1958, Eklund flew another flag over Antarctica which he presented for display in a state museum.[5] In 1953, state assemblyman William N. Belter of Wautoma criticized the flag as too costly because of the details.[6]

In 1973, when the state senate was attempting to add the word Wisconsin to the flag, it was criticized as already too cluttered.[7] In 1975, some state flags were being sold that improperly had the state seal on them instead of the state coat of arms. Wisconsin Secretary of State Douglas J. La Follette noted that the correct state flag did not have the banner of thirteen stars at the bottom.[8]

In order to distinguish it from the many other blue U.S. state flags, Wisconsin's flag was modified in 1979 to add "Wisconsin" and "1848", the year Wisconsin was admitted to the Union.[9][10] All Wisconsin state flags manufactured after May 1, 1981, were required to use this design.[1]


The flag field is navy blue with the Wisconsin coat of arms in the center, and the words "Wisconsin" and "1848" above and below the seal in a bold white. On the top of the coat of arms, there is a badger, and the state motto "Forward". In the center, on the shield, there is a plow to represent farming, a pick and shovel to represent mining, an arm and hammer representing manufacturing, and an anchor representing navigation. In the center of the shield is the United States coat of arms. The shield is supported by a sailor and a yeoman, both representing labor on land and on water. On the bottom there is a cornucopia, representing prosperity, and there are 13 lead ingots representing both mineral wealth and the original 13 colonies of the United States.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b State of Wisconsin. "286". Section: 1.08: State flag. Laws of 1979. Retrieved August 21, 2015. The department of administration shall ensure that all official state flags that are manufactured on or after May 1, 1981 conform to the requirements of this section. State flags manufactured before May 1, 1981 may continue to be used as state flags.
  2. ^ "Wisconsin Legislature: 1.08(1)". docs.legis.wisconsin.gov. Retrieved 2021-04-05.
  3. ^ Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. State of Wisconsin 2007-2008 Blue Book. Madison: Wisconsin Legislature Joint Committee on Legislative Organization, 2007, p. 963.
  4. ^ "Antarctic Explorer Returns to State; Reports to Heil". Milwaukee Sentinel. August 31, 1941. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  5. ^ "Badger Flag back Home". Milwaukee Sentinel. June 3, 1958. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  6. ^ "New State Flag is Urged; Present One 'Too Costly'". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. July 29, 1973. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  7. ^ "On Wisconsin, our cluttered state flag needs to be simplified". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. July 29, 1973. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  8. ^ "Flag Flap; If Seal's on Your Flag, It's Wrong". The Milwaukee Journal. July 10, 1975. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
  9. ^ "Wisconsin State Flag". eekwi.org. Retrieved 2021-04-05.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ "Wisconsin Legislature: 1979". Retrieved April 5, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links[edit]