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Kansas (U.S.)

Last modified: 2021-05-08 by rick wyatt
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[Flag of Kansas] image by Clay Moss, 30 January 2009

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In 1861, a star was added, representing Kansas, bringing the total number of stars on the U.S. flag to 34. There were thirteen stripes representing the thirteen original colonies.

The state name was added in 1963.

Legal Description

73-701. State flag. A state flag be and the same is hereby adopted to be used on every and all occasions, when the state is officially represented, with the privilege of the use by all citizens on all fitting and appropriate occasions which shall be authorized by state authorities.

73-702. Same; description; form and makeup. The official state flag of the state of Kansas shall be a rectangle of dark-blue silk or bunting, three (3) feet on the staff by five (5) feet fly.

The great seal of the state of Kansas, without its surrounding band of lettering, shall be located equidistant from the staff and the fly side of the flag, with the lower ede of the seal located eleven (11) inches above the base side of the flag. The great seal shall be surmounted by a crest and the word KANSAS shall be located underneath the seal. The seal shall be seventeen (17) inches in diameter. The crest shall be on a wreath or an azure, a sunflower slipped proper, which divested of its heraldic language is a sunflower as torn from its stalk in its natural colors on a bar of twisted gold and blue. The crest shall be six (6) inches in diameter; the wreath shall be nine (9) inches in length. The top of the crest shall be located two (2) inches beneath the top side of the flag. The letters KANSAS shall be imprinted in gold block letters below the seal, the said letters to be properly proportioned, and five (5) inches in height, imprinted with a stroke one (1) inch wide; and the first letter K shall commence with the same distance from the staff side of the flag as the end of the last letter S is from the fly side of the flag. The bottom edge of the letters shall be two (2) inches above the base side of the flag. Larger or smaller flags will be of the same proportional dimensions.

The colors in the seal shall be as follows: Stars, silver; hills, purple; sun, deep yellow; glory, light yellow; sky, yellow and orange from hills half way to motto, upper half, azure; grass, green; river, light blue; boat, white; house, dark brown; ground, brown; wagons, white; near horse, white; off horse, bay; buffalo, dark, almost black; motto, white; scroll, light brown.
Joe McMillan, 12 February 2000

Previous Version

[Previous Version of the Flag of Kansas] image by Clay Moss, 31 January 2009

The state name was added to the flag in 1963 - prior to this the flag contained only the seal and the sunflower.

Popular Interpretation

The flag depicts a history of peaceful coexistence between the natives of the land and the newly arrived settlers. Like so many other states, the flag is the state seal set on a field of dark blue. In the foreground of the seal is a farmer plowing his field. A little further up is a wagon train with oxen-drawn schooners headed westward. Beyond these pioneers are Native Americans hunting bison. The pioneers in the Kansas flag represent Manifest Destiny. This was the prevailing attitude of the United States government starting in the 1840s. The farmer and his field represent Kansas's rich agricultural heritage. The seal also includes a steamboat churning its way down the Kansas River and was meant to represent commerce. Today, agriculture, manufacturing and service industries play an integral part of the Kansas economy. Above the plains in the state seal are rolling hills and above them, 34 stars representing Kansas's entry into the United States' expanding family of states. Above the stars is the sate motto, Ad Astra per Aspera, Latin for "To the Stars Through Difficulties." This is a tribute to the original settlers who dreamed so grandly when they left their homes and moved westward. Above the seal is the state crest, a sunflower above a bar of blue and gold. The sunflower is the state flower, and the blue and gold represent the Louisiana Purchase, which made the lands of Kansas a part of the United States. Beneath the state seal is Kansas in large, yellow block letters.
Written by John Schlageck, managing editor of "Kansas Living," a quarterly magazine dedicated to agriculture and rural life in Kansas.

Phil Nelson, 11 January 2003

State Banner

[State Banner of Kansas] image by António Martins, 11 June 2004

The Flag Book of the United States [smi75a], mentions the sunflower flag as a "state banner" from 1925; "this flag design corresponds to the shoulder patch worn by Kansas National Guard troops.... The legislature substituted the new banner for the old in 1953; it can be seen in the governor's office along with the state flag and the national flag. Otherwise, the banner is rarely used except by the Kansas National Guard, although the laws of the state make no distinction in usage between the banner and the flag". The flag has the seal-on-blue so unfortunately typical of U.S. flags.
Al Kirsch, 4 October 2001

In addition to the Kansas state flag, there is also a "state banner" described in Smith's Flag Book of the United States as "government and general usage flag, 30 June 1953-present (1975 ed, p. 112). Smith shows the banner displayed on a pole; the Kansas State Historical Society website says this banner was intended for vertical display. The notes in the collected Kansas Statutes refer to 1925 law adopting this banner, which contradicts Smith's dating of it, although there is also reference to a 1953 act as well. The legal description is:

Kansas Statutes Annotated

703. State banner. A state banner be and the same is hereby adopted to be used on every and all occasions, when the state is officially and publicly represented, with the privilege of the use by all citizens on all fitting and appropriate occasions authorized by the state authorities.

73-704. Same; description; form and makeup. The official banner of the state of Kansas, provided for in K.S.A. 73-703, shall be of solid blue and shall be of the same tint as the color of the field of the United States flag, whose width shall be three-fourths of its length, with a sunflower in the center having a diameter of two-thirds of the space of the banner, enclosing and surrounding with its petals of gold, a brown center having a diameter of two-fifths the size of the sunflower. Service banners may be made of bunting or other material of such size as required on conforming to the proportionate specifications.
Joe McMillan, 22 February 2000

State Military Crest

image by Joe McMillan, 21 April 2000

The state military crest, which is the crest used in the coats of arms of units of the National Guard, as granted by the precursor organizations of what is now the Army Institute of Heraldry. The official Institute of Heraldry blazon is "A sunflower slipped proper."
Joe McMillan, 21 April 2000