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Illinois (U.S.)

Last modified: 2021-05-08 by rick wyatt
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[Flag of Illinois] image by Clay Moss, 14 March 2009

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In 1819, a star was added, representing Illinois, bringing the total number of stars on the U.S. flag to 21. There were thirteen stripes representing the thirteen original colonies.

The flag was originally adopted in 1915 but allowed the emblem to be in color or black. Also, the typical design favored by flag manufacturers didn't correspond exactly to the state arms. Third, some Illinois soldiers in Vietnam said no one knew what flag they were displaying. Therefore in 1970 NAVA member Florence Hutchison of Illinois convinced a state legislator to introduce a bill re-defining the state flag correcting all the "errors" (and making a new one, that of adding the state name to the flag.
Nick Artimovich, 31 July 1997

The original Illinois flag was created in a contest sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution. The prize of $25 was won by the Rockford Chapter. The design was approved by the General Assembly on July 6, 1915.
Dov Gutterman, 7 October 1998

There are two dates on the seal - 1818 and 1868 - the first is obviously the year in which Illinois joined the Union, and the second is that in which the present seal was introduced. There is also the fact that the word "sovereignty" in the state motto is actually upside down, and this was done by an official because the whole motto "State Sovereignty, National Union" (whilst a democratic attempt to change it was defeated) was considered inappropriate after the Civil War.
Christopher Southworth, 12 October 2007

The original 1915 Illinois flags differs from the pre-1970 version flag that we show above. The original depiction of the eagle is slightly different, there is no sun and no years. Full story and photo of the original flag:
Valentin Poposki, 10 July 2010

Legal Description

Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS)

5 ILCS 460/5. State seal. (a) The reproduction of the emblem only on the "great seal of the State of Illinois" is authorized and permitted when reproduced in black or in the national colors upon a white sheet or background and bearing underneath the emblem in blue letters the word "Illinois" and being an actual reproduction of the great seal, except for the outer ring, for use as a State banner or insignia under the conditions and subject to the restrictions provided by the laws of the United States and the State of Illinois as to the United States or State flag or ensign.
Joe McMillan, 11 February 2000

Flag before 1970

[Flag of Illinois] image by Clay Moss, 14 March 2009

The flag before the word ILLINOIS was added.

State Military Crest

image by Joe McMillan, 21 April 2000

The state military crest, which is the crest used in the coats of arms of units of the National Guard, as granted by the precursor organizations of what is now the Army Institute of Heraldry. The official Institute of Heraldry blazon is "Upon a grassy field the blockhouse of old Fort Dearborn proper."
Joe McMillan, 21 April 2000