State flag of Alaska
|Adopted||July 9, 1927|
|Usage||State flag &|
The state flag of Alaska consists of eight gold stars, seven small stars forming the Big Dipper (Ursa Major) constellation and one big North Star (Polaris), on a dark blue field. The Big Dipper is an asterism in the constellation Ursa Major which symbolizes a bear, an animal indigenous to Alaska. As depicted on the flag, its stars can be used to determine true north on a clear night.
Alaska state flag
Alaska flag colors - meaning
seven golden stars forming the Big Dipper (Ursa Major or Great Bear) constellation: represents the Great Bear, symbolizing strength
Blue: represents the Alaska sky and forget-me-not flowers that symbolize the herald of spring
one big North Star (Polaris): symbolizes Alaska, the most northerly state (territory at time of the flag's design) in the union
History of Alaska flag
Since its purchase by the United states from Russia in 1867, Alaska used USA flag as its flag. In 1926, Territorial Gov. George Parks was working hard for obtaining statehood for Alaska. During a trip to Washington, D.C., he saw the flags of the 48 states flying outside the old Post Office Building and persuaded the Alaska American Legion to hold a contest open to all Alaskan children grades 7-12 to design a flag for the state. By the deadline of March 1, 1927, 142 short-listed designs were forwarded from around the state. The contest winner was Benny Benson, a seventh-grader at the territorial school at Seward. His design of eight stars to represent the Big Dipper and North Star, placed on a blue background to represent the sky, and the forget-me-not flower, was a unanimous winner by the panel of judges. By May of 1927 the flag design was unanimously adopted by the two houses of the territorial legislature. On his design submission, Benny had also written some words of explanation: “The blue field is for the Alaska sky and the forget-me-not, an Alaska flower. The North Star is for the future of the state of Alaska, the most northerly in the Union. The dipper is for the Great Bear – symbolizing strenth (sic).” The flag was flown for the first time on July 9, 1927. During this ceremony in Seward, Benny was awarded a watch with the flag emblem on it and a $1,000 educational scholarship. The flag remained unchanged when the territory became a state in 1959.