Although Vermont’s current flag was officially adopted in 1923, several other flag designs had been used prior to that:
- Vermont’s first historic flag, known as the “Green Mountain Boys” flag, actually served as the militia flag of the Vermont Republic and was one of the few regimental flags used during the time of the American Revolution. It somewhat resembled the current U.S. flag, except that instead of alternating red and white stripes, it had a solid green field, and instead of a geometric pattern of 50 small white stars within a blue canton, it had a more “natural pattern” of 13 white differently-sized stars.
- The second, used between 1804 and 1837, was also a militia flag. However, it more greatly resembled the U.S. flag, except that it had 17 white stars against an azure field and 17 alternating red and white stripes with the word “VERMONT” written above the stripes.
- The third, used from 1837 to 1923, had been changed to include 13 alternating red and white stripes (instead of 17) and one large white 8-pointed star (instead of 17 small ones) against the blue background. Within the star, the state’s Coat of Arms was shown depicting Vermont’s Green Mountains, which included a large pine tree, a cow, and three sheaves of wheat. These collectively represented the state’s forests and dairy & agricultural industries. From a distance, however, the flag was easily confused with the U.S. flag. Consequently, the design was changed to appear dissimilar in order to avoid further confusion.
- The fourth, and current, flag maintains the Vermont Coat of Arms from the previous flag, although it is now placed within an ornate golden shield instead of a star. In addition, a buck’s head (representing the state’s wildlife) is placed at the crest of the arms, while two pine boughs (like those worn at the Battle of Plattsburgh, near the end of the War of 1812) are placed on either side. A red ribbon at the bottom contains the words “Vermont” and “Freedom and Unity” (alluding equally to individual freedom and the common good).