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What Is the History of New Jersey's State Flag?

By Britt Archer
Updated May 17, 2024
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New Jersey is proud of its many ties to the Revolutionary War, and the state displays that pride on its official flag through the colors and symbols chosen more than 100 years after it became a state in 1776. The colors are a light tan, officially called "buff," and a deep blue, known as "Jersey blue." New Jersey chose these two colors because the United States’ first president, George Washington, had selected them for the flag that represented New Jersey’s Revolutionary War troops.

New Jersey’s state flag also displays the state’s official seal, which is a combination of five symbols that represent more of the Garden State’s history. Pierre Eugene du Simitiere, an artist based in Philadelphia, designed the seal. He also contributed to the design of the seal of the United States. One of the symbols on New Jersey’s state flag is a scroll inscribed with the year New Jersey became a state, 1776, and its motto, “Liberty and Prosperity.” As one of the original 13 colonies, New Jersey was among the first states to sign the Constitution.

The horse is another important symbol contained in the seal displayed on New Jersey’s state flag. It is the official animal of the state, designated as such in 1977, 200 years after its inclusion in the state seal in 1777. The horse is a strong symbol of New Jersey because it represents both farming and the horse raising industry.

The state has other symbols that point to its agricultural heritage, history and natural beauty, but they are not included in New Jersey’s state flag. The blueberry, for example, is the official fruit. The violet is a very common flower in New Jersey and has been adopted as the official flower. The official bird is the goldfinch.

A state bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, New Jersey also has many lakes and rivers, including the Delaware River. As a symbol of the health of waterways, the state adopted the brook trout, a native of the state, as its official fish. The official seashell is the conch shell, sometimes also called the knobbed whelk.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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