Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Flags of December

The first three – the very first three – of the original 13 colonies have their statehood birthdays in December.

Happy statehood to Delaware (12.7.1787), the first state; to Pennsylvania (12.12.1787), the second state; and to New Jersey (12.18.1787), the third state of the new nation!

The Delaware state flag

The Pennsylvania state flag

New Jersey's state flag

An Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States North-West of the Ohio River: From Territories into States
The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 made it possible for territories to evolve into statehood, if so desired. It was determined early on that between 3-5 states could be created out of this territory. It also stated that settled regions with less than 5,000 voters (free, white males) were considered districts. Their government was by presidential appointment: a governor, a secretary and three judges.

When there were 5,000 voters in a district, it became a territory and voters were able to elect their own legislature and one congressional representative. The congressional representative could speak in Congress but had no official vote. The governor remained a presidential appointment.

When territories grew to a population of 60,000, it could apply for statehood. Prior to statehood, a state constitution would have to be drafted along with a state bill of rights that guaranteed religious freedom, trial by jury, and the right of habeas corpus. A strong effort was made to prohibit slavery in the new territory (this was not entirely successful).

Four years in a row in the month of December, new states emerge out of the western territories.  
Indiana (12.11.1816), Mississippi (12.10.1817), Illinois (12.3.1818) and Alabama (12.14.1819) are the 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd states.  Here is a look a their state flags and an explanation of each state's name...

The state flag of Indiana with its 19 stars.
 Indiana is the Hoosier state, a word whose true meaning is a mystery although it is the subject of much conjecture. The name Indiana, however, simply means Indian land.

The Mississippi state flag
The name Mississippi means "big river" from Ojibwa words meaning big (mshi) and river (ziibi).

The state flag of Illinois, the illinek or "the people"

Illinois comes from an Algonquin word meaning "the people" (illinwek).

Alabama's state flag
 Alabama comes from a Choctaw word meaning "harvesters".

Texas and Iowa: The 28th and 29th States
The 28th and 29th states, Texas and Iowa, have their statehood dates on December 29 and December 28, 1845 and 1846, respectively.

While Texas was birthed out of two revolutions: the American Revolution and the Mexican Revolution, Iowa's state boundaries were effected by the fight to end slavery – or to allow it to continue in the new territories.

The state flag of Texas                           

The state flag of Iowa

Let it fly!

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