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Flag of Arizona
Flag of Arizona
List of flags

The flag of the state of Arizona consists of 13 rays of red and weld-yellow on the top half, the colors of the flag of Spain, representing the 13 original states. The red and yellow also symbolize Arizona's picturesque sunsets. The copper star represents the copper mining industry in Arizona. The rest of the flag is colored blue, representing liberty.

Officially, the State of Arizona website, museum and official materials cite the following origins of the Arizona flag: "Charles Wilfred Harris, Colonel in the Arizona National Guard, served as the captain of the unit’s rifle team in 1910. During the rifle competition at the Camp Perry, Ohio, the Arizona team was the only team without an emblem of any kind. Colonel Harris was chiefly responsible for the creation of the rifle team flag that in 1917 became the Arizona State Flag. Blue and gold are the colors of Arizona. Red and gold are the colors carried by Coronado’s Expedition of 1540 to the Seven Cities of Cibola. The blue is “liberty blue” identical to the color in the United States flag field of stars. Since Arizona is a western state the rays of the setting sun seemed appropriate. There are thirteen rays representing the original “thirteen colonies.” The large copper star identifies Arizona as the largest producer of copper in the United States. "On February 27, 1917, the legislature passed the bill to adopt this flag as the official Arizona State Flag despite dissenting votes and Governor Campbell’s refusal to affix his signature to the bill."

While Colonel Harris is credited with the creation of the Rifle Team flag, several individuals appear to have played a role in the creation of the state's first official flag. WR Stewart of Mesa was working in conjunction with Colonel Charles W. Harris, who was the Arizona Adjutant General and head of the Arizona National Guard. Stewart, as President of the Mesa Rifle Team, felt compelled to design a flag for competition. WR Stewart's wife (Mae) sewed the first flag for competition from a sketch that he had made on the back of an envelope. Carl Hayden, Arizona's first US Senator was reported to have been involved with Colonel Harris in designing the first state flag, and his wife, Nan Hayden was responsible for sewing the first state flag {3}. Rachael Berry, a leader in women's suffrage and the first woman elected to the State Legislator in Arizona in its first year of statehood in 1912 also is reported to have co-designed the Arizona flag with another woman (likely Nan Hayden) in the years preceding statehood. It is likely that many individuals were involved in its conception, design and production, rather than one or two individuals working independently, the specific language used in official State of Arizona materials likely has merit.

The Stewart/Harris version of the competition flag's origin is due to Stewart dropping some copper dye and white material into boiling water and the result was the copper color that is now on the flag we see today. While some sources claim the rising sun of the earlier proposals was thought to resemble the Japanese flag and was therefore changed to the present star, most official sources (including official State documents) cite the Spanish flag and the influence of the early Arizona explorers Conquistadores Cabeza de Vaca and Coronado as they searched unsuccessfully for the lost (gold) City of Cibola as the inspiration for the colors.

The flag was adopted on February 17, 1917, by the third state legislature. It was passed into law without the signature of Governor Thomas Campbell. The governor did not officially state his reasons for taking no action on the bill.