The flag of the state of Alabama was adopted by Alabama’s state legislature on February 16, 1895. The flag is rectangular and features a crimson cross in front of a white background. The cross on Alabama’s flag is the St. Andrew’s cross, which runs diagonally from corner to corner on the state’s banner.
There are three proposed theories attempting to explain the origin of Alabama’s flag. The most commonly accepted explanation for the flag’s design is that it resembles the flag of the Confederate States of America, which was adopted in 1865. The flag of the Confederate States of America features a blue St. Andrew’s cross with white stars in front of a red background.
A second proposed theory regarding the design of Alabama’s flag is that it is similar to a banner flown by the seventh Alabama Cavalry during the American Civil War. The cavalry was part of Rucker’s Brigade and was led by Edmund Rucker, who resided in Montgomery after the Civil War. Rucker’s Brigade flew a white banner that featured a red St. Andrew’s cross decorated with blue-green stars. The flag was made from the “best dresses” of several Confederate women, including the wedding dress of Lorenzo Leedy, a Mississippi widow.
Finally, it’s important to note that the flag of Alabama resembles two other important state and country flags. The Alabama flag closely resembles the United Kingdom’s Union Flag and the flag of the state of Florida, of which Alabama was originally a part.
Before the adoption of Alabama’s current flag in 1895, Alabama flew a much different two-sided banner. In 1861, the Alabama Secession Convention set out to design the state’s first official flag, and several Montgomery women created the double-sided design. The flag is rectangular with a blue background. One side of the flag features the “Goddess of Liberty” holding a sword in one hand and a blue flag in her other hand. The text at the top of this side of the flag reads “Independent Now and Forever.” The other side of the flag features a rattlesnake and a cotton plant. Underneath the image are the Latin words Noli Me Tangere, or “Touch Me Not.”