Six flags over Texas

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Six coats of arms displayed under the Texas State Capitol Dome (from left to right: Spanish, French, Mexican, Republic of Texas, Confederate States, and United States)
Six different flags that have flown over Texas

"Six flags over Texas" is the slogan used to describe the six sovereign countries that have had control over some or all of the current territory of the U.S. state of Texas: Spain (1519–1685; 1690–1821), France (1685–1690), Mexico (1821–1836), the Republic of Texas (1836–1845), the United States (1845–1861; 1865–present), and the Confederate States (1861–1865).[1]

This slogan has been incorporated into shopping malls, theme parks (Six Flags, including the flagship park, Six Flags Over Texas, outside Dallas), and other enterprises. The six flags fly in front of the state welcome centers on the state's borders with Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Mexico, and Oklahoma. In Austin, the six flags fly in front of the Bullock Texas State History Museum; the Texas State Capitol has the six coats of arms on its northern façade, and The University of Texas at Austin Life Sciences Library, previously the location of the central library in the Main Building, has each coat of arms displayed in plaster emblems with short excerpts representative of the constitutions of each country. 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.[2]

While six flags are universally accepted throughout the state, there is some controversy in regards to a potential seventh: The Republic of the Rio Grande. Ultimately, the former nation is not included, however certain local governments such as the city of Laredo hold it as a prominent member of the array.[3][4][5]

Some consider the six flags slogan problematic because it omits reference to the Native Americans that lived in Texas prior to the arrival of Europeans and Native territories such as Comancheria.

Spain (1519 to 1685; 1690 to 1821)[edit]

Royal Banner of the Crown of Castille (Habsbourg Style).svg
Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg
Flag of Spain (1785-1873 and 1875-1931).svg

The first flag belonged to Spain, which ruled most of Texas from 1519 to 1685 and 1690 to 1821. There were three Spanish flags used during this period: the "castle and lion" arms of the Crown of Castile (see Flag of Castile and León); the Cross of Burgundy, a military and maritime flag also used by the viceroys of New Spain; and the Rojigualda introduced by King Charles III in 1785, containing horizontal stripes of red-gold-red and the simple arms of Castile and León. This third flag has been used by Spain in various forms to the present day, and is the flag used in the reverse of the Seal of Texas and adopted by the Texas Historical Commission.[6][7]

France (1684 to 1690 for Fort Saint Louis and 1800 to 1803 as French Louisiana)[edit]

Pavillon royal de France.svg

The second flag was the royal banner of the Kingdom of France from 1684 to 1690. In 1684, French nobleman René-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 designs are used in displays of the "six flags".[6][7]

Later on in 1800, Spain ceded Louisiana to France under the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso. French Louisiana included northern sections of Texas. It remained in the hands of France until 1803, when France sold the Louisiana Territory to the United States. However, what would later be northern Texas was sold back to Spain years later.

Mexico (1821 to 1835)[edit]

First flag of the Mexican Empire.svg
Bandera de Iturbide.png
Bandera Histórica de la República Mexicana (1824-1918).svg

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 .[6]

Republic of Texas (1836 to 1845 as the Republic of Texas; since 1845 as the State of Texas)[edit]

Flag of the Republic of Texas (1836–1839).svg
Flag of Texas.svg

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.[7]

United States (1845 to 1861; 1865 to present)[edit]

Flag of the United States (1846-1847).svg
Flag of the United States.svg

The fifth and current flag is that of the United States, which Texas joined in 1845. Upon secession Texas abandoned this flag for its sixth, until readmission to the Union in 1865.[7]

Confederate States (1861 to 1865)[edit]

Flag of the Confederate States of America (July 1861 – November 1861).svg
Flag of the Confederate States of America (1863–1865).svg
Flag of the Confederate States of America (1865).svg

The sixth flag belonged to the Confederate States from 1861 to 1865. During this time, the Confederate States had three national flags.[6][7]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Six Flags of Texas". Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Retrieved September 29, 2013.
  2. ^ Texas Historical Commission (June 20, 1997). "Recommended Historic Designs: The "Six Flags Over Texas"". Texas Register. Texas Secretary of State. 22: 5959–67.
  3. ^ "In Laredo, It's Seven Flags Over Texas". Texas Standard.
  4. ^ "Seven Flags Over Texas?". TexasCoopPower.
  5. ^ "Tejano Talks No. 33: The Seventh Flag over Texas — The Republic of the Rio Grande". Caller Times.
  6. ^ a b c d Texas State Library – Six Flags of Texas
  7. ^ a b c d e "A Texas Scrapbook: San Antonio's Military Plaza".

External links[edit]