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The Flag of the State of South Carolina

The Flag of the State of South Carolinamarker is believed to have been originally designed in 1775 for use by South Carolinian troops during the American Revolutionary War. The blue of the flag was borrowed from the militia's uniforms and the crescent from the emblem on their caps. However, elements that compose the current flag were seen in as far back as 1765, in a banner used by South Carolina protesters of the Stamp Act. South Carolina's flag was ranked as the 10th best designed state or provincial flag in North America by the North American Vexillological Association in 2001.


Pre-Civil War Flag
Sovereignty/Secession Flag used during American Civil War
January 1861 Flag
The current version was adopted on January 28, 1861, as the "national" flag of the newly seceded Republic of South Carolina. The only change was the addition of the palmetto tree, which represents the defense of Fort Moultriemarker (constructed of palmetto logs) on Sullivan's Islandmarker from British attack in June 28, 1776. The Palmetto tree is not a typical tree as it does not have rings. As a result, the cannonballs that were fired on Fort Moultrie did not break through the fort but stayed embedded in the walls.

The exact original symbolism of the crescent on the South Carolina flag is not entirely clear. According to one hypothesis, the crescent worn on the caps of the South Carolina revolutionary soldiers was a stylized criniere or gorget. Thus, perhaps both symbols on the state flag are emblems of defensive prowess. However, although it is known that soldiers in Charlestonmarker and in South Carolina in general wore the crescent, some historians posit that this is not a stylized gorget (which is worn over the chest), but rather it was an already established emblem of the City of Charleston and the colony of South Carolina — a theory supported by the fact that ten years before the Revolution, a blue flag with three white crescents was already in use by Charlestonian troops .

The origin of the crescent as a symbol for Charleston and for South Carolina is not known for certain. One hypothesis is that it stems from the crescent as the heraldic symbol of a second son. It is true that many of the early colonists would have been second (and third, etc.) sons who had no inheritance in England, and whose coats of arms would have therefore borne crescents; thus, perhaps the crescent was adopted as a symbol for the colony. An alternative hypothesis is that the crescent may be derived from the crescents on the coat-of-arms of the Bull family, which was prominent in the early days of the colony and even produced one of Charleston's more illustrious Royal Governors.

Commercial use

Shirts, belts, shoes, wallets, and other accessories featuring the flag's Palmetto tree and crescent are popular throughout South Carolina and other southeastern states as a symbol of the state's long-standing heritage. It is also customary for alumni and supporters of the state's main universities (the University of South Carolinamarker, Clemson Universitymarker and The Citadelmarker) to display the state flag in their school colors.

See also


  1. NAVA 2001 Flag Survey

External links

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