Texas Register, Volume 22, Number 46, Pages 5869-5980, June 20, 1997 Page: 5,959
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Student Applications; and Conclusions and Recommendations. For
additional information please contact Dr. Alfred Maldonado at (512)
Issued in Austin, Texas, on June 12, 1997.
Assistant Commissioner for Administration
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
Filed: June 13, 1997
Texas Historical Commission
Recommended Historic Designs: The "Six Flags Over Texas"
Through its general powers and duties granted in the Texas Gov-
ernment Code, 442.005(a), the Texas Historical Commission (THC)
approves the designs, shown as Exhibit A of this notice, for the six
national flags of Texas history. THC has reviewed these designs and
determined that they represent the appropriate flags of the six na-
tions at the time of each claim to this soil, with the exception of the
current flag of the United States of America. THC urges that these
standard designs be adopted for display in all appropriate locations.
THC gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Charles Adkin Spain
and Dr. Whitney Smith for their research of these designs.
The "Six Flags" sets purchased by the state, businesses, and
individuals are generally the flags manufactured in mass quantities
by the six largest U.S. flag manufactures (Annin, CF, Collegeville,
Dettra, J.C. Schultz, and Valley Forge). Two of the flags in these
sets, Spain and Mexico, are historically inaccurate because they do
not represent a flag that flew over Texas during the time those
two nations claimed sovereignty over Texas. The French flag is
also oftentimes historically incorrect. It is, however, economically
infeasible to display the historically correct flags because the flags
would have to be custom manufactured.
The only practical way to purchase a correct "Six Flags" set is for the
State, acting through the commission, to specify the proper designs of
the "Six Flags" and to request the major flag manufacturers to make
this historically correct set once existing supplies have been sold.
The art for the proposed designs has been provided by Dr. Whitney
Smith of the Flag Research Center in Winchester, Massachusetts,
who is the world's leading expert on flags. Dr. Smith was an adviser
to the State Preservation Board and Office of the Secretary of State
when the reverse of the state seal was redesigned in 1991-1992, and
an adviser to the Texas Department of Transportation when it fea-
tured color art of the "Six Flags" in the travel publication A Quick
Look at Texas. The proposed designs are basically the same designs
that appear in the current version of the reverse of the state seal. Dr.
Smith has agreed to allow the commission to use the art for the pro-
posed designs as long as a copyright acknowledgment is published
in the Texas Register.
Kingdom of Spain: Spain has had four significant flags during its
occupation of the New World. The royal banner of Castile and Leon,
bearing two lions and two castles, was used as a state flag from circa
1230 to circa 1516. This flag, although widely used in "Six Flags"
displays, predates any Spanish presence in Texas: the first Spanish
mission. Ysleta Mission in present El Paso, was established in 1681.
From 1516 to May 28, 1785, Spain used a state flag consisting of a
modified red saltire on white to signify the House of Burgundy. A
variant of the state flag existed from 1580 to 1640 that depicted the
complete Spanish coat of arms on a white field. Although displaying
the Burgundian saltire as a "Six Flag" would be historically correct,
few people would recognize the flag.
King Charles III established the familiar Spanish flag containing
horizontal stripes of red-gold-red and the simple arms of Castile and
Leon as the Spanish state flag on land effective March 8, 1793, and
this flag was used until April 27, 1931. This flag appears in the
reverse of the Texas state seal and would be the logical choice for
inclusion in the "Six Flags."
Kingdom of France: The flag of France that was allegedly carried
by Rene Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle in 1685, was probably a
plain white flag strewn with fleurs-de-lys. This flag (circa 1643 to
October 31, 1790) was a simplified version of the French state flag
that bore the entire royal arms superimposed over numerous fleurs-
de-lys strewn on a white field. Another French flag frequently (and
incorrectly) included in the "Six Flags" contains three or more fleurs-
de-lys on a blue field; this was the French state flag from circa 1370 to
circa 1600. The fleurs-de-lys flag on a white field without the royal
arms appears in the reverse of the Texas state seal. Technically,
the heraldic description of the flag is "white, seme [strewn] of gold
fleurs-de-lys," so the actual number of fleurs-de-lys is indeterminate
and they would bleed off the four edges of the flag.
United Mexican States: In April 1823, Mexico adopted its first
republican flag, which was used until 1863. This flag is similar to
the current Mexican flag with vertical strips of green-white-red. Both
flags contain an eagle holding a serpent in its mouth and standing on
a nopal, or cactus, but the current Mexican flag depicts a stylized
Aztec eagle rather than the natural eagle in the 1823 flag. The 1823
Mexican flag appears in the reverse of the Texas state seal.
Republic of Texas: Texas had two official national flags for use
on land during its existence: the 1836 national standard and the
1839 national flag that became the state flag. Some authorities also
erroneously claim that Lorenzo de Zavala designed a Republic of
Texas flag (usually portrayed as a blue field with white star of five
points central and with the letters "T-E-X-A-S," one letter between
each star point).
The first official flag for use on land, the "National Standard of
Texas," was adopted by the Congress and approved on December
10, 1836. It consisted of an azure ground with a large golden star
central. This flag, known as David G. Burnet's flag, served as the
national flag until January 25, 1839.
The second official flag for use on land, the Lone Star Flag, was
adopted by the Texas Congress and approved on January 25, 1839:
"[T]he national flag of Texas shall consist of a blue perpendicular
stripe of the width of one third of the whole length of the flag, with
a white star of five points in the center thereof, and two horizontal
stripes of equal breadth, the upper stripe white, the lower red, of the
length of two thirds of the whole length of the flag." This flag later
became the state flag.
Although it would be historically correct to display David G. Burnet's
flag in the "Six Flags," the Lone Star Flag appears in the reverse of
the Texas state seal and would be the logical choice for inclusion in
the "Six Flags.
IN ADDITION June 20, 1997 22 TexReg 5959
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Texas. Secretary of State. Texas Register, Volume 22, Number 46, Pages 5869-5980, June 20, 1997, periodical, June 20, 1997; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth176676/m1/89/: accessed February 17, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.