The flag of the state of Indiana was adopted on May 31, 1917. The flag is rectangular with a blue background and features a gold torch. Thirteen gold stars surround the flag in a circular shape and five gold stars make up an inner semicircle. Just above the torch is one more star and the word, “INDIANA,” in gold lettering.
The symbolism of the Indiana state flag is relatively simple, although very meaningful. The torch symbolizes liberty and enlightenment, and the six rays around the torch’s flame represent the broadness and expansiveness of these values. As with other state flags that include thirteen stars, the thirteen gold stars that encircle the torch represent the thirteen original colonies of the United States. Indiana was the nineteenth state to enter the Union; and the five stars in the semicircle on the lower half of the flag symbolize the five states that entered the Union before Indiana. The star at the top of the torch, the largest star on the flag, stands for Indiana.
Although Indiana became a member of the United States in 1816, the state did not have a flag until its residents celebrated the Indiana Centennial in 1916. In anticipation of the centennial, the Indiana General Assembly requested that the Daughters of the American Revolution Indiana Chapter sponsor a contest for the state flag’s design.
After more than two hundred submissions were submitted, Paul Hadley, an artist living in Mooresville, Indiana, won the design contest, as well as a cash prize of one hundred dollars. The state flag was officially adopted on May 31, 1917, with the addition of the word “INDIANA” to Hadley’s original design. Since the flag’s adoption in 1917, the flag’s design has remained unchanged with the exception of a 1955 statute that standardized the flag’s dimensions.