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Albany, New York (U.S.)

Albany County

Last modified: 2018-07-27 by rick wyatt
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[Flag of Albany, New York] 3:4 image(s) by permission of David B. Martucci
image(s) from American City Flags, Raven 9-10 (2002-2003), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright.



See also:


Current Flag

Text and image(s) from American City Flags, Raven 9-10 (2002-2003), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright. Image(s) from American City Flags by permission of David B. Martucci.

Design

Albany's flag centers the city's coat of arms on a field of three equal horizontal stripes of orange, white, and blue. The city describes its arms in heraldic terminology:

The shield: Gules, two wheat sheaves Or, on a chief Azure a beaver felling a tree proper; For a crest: a Dutch sloop proper; For supporters: dexter, a farmer holding a sickle on his right arm and sinister is an Indian resting his left hand on a bow. For a motto: ASSIDUITY.

The coat of arms consists of a shield divided horizontally. The top third section is blue with a beaver felling a tree in natural colors. The lower two-thirds section is red with two yellow wheat sheaves. Above the shield is a Dutch sloop under sail in natural colors on a heraldic wreath. On the hoist side is a farmer holding a sickle on his right arm; on the fly side is an Indian resting his left hand on a bow, both in natural colors. The motto on the scroll at the bottom of the arms is ASSIDUITY.
James Croft, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Symbolism

The orange, white, and blue stripes allude to the city's early Dutch heritage. In 1609, explorer Henry Hudson sailed his ship the Half Moon to present-day Albany. He flew the flag of his sponsor, the Dutch East India Company. That flag, the first flown in the area, had three horizontal stripes of orange, white, and blue, with V.O.C.A. on the center stripe. In 1614, Fort Nassau was founded there as a trading post, later leading to the establishment of the Dutch settlement of Fort Orange. Twelve years later the Dutch West India Company succeeded the Dutch East India Company, and used a flag of three horizontal stripes of red, white, and blue, with G.W.C. on the center stripe. In 1664, the British took control of the city and the Union Jack replaced that flag.

The coat of arms signifies the early occupations of the city. The wheat sheaves and the colonial farmer holding a sickle are for farming and agriculture. The beaver reflects the fur trade between the Native American people, symbolized by the Indian supporter, and the Dutch, and later English, settlers. The Indian also represents the people who first lived in this area. The Dutch sloop represents the commerce of the area and Albany as a major port on the Hudson River.
James Croft, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Selection

By the Hudson Fulton Celebration Committee. In 1909 the Hudson Fulton Celebration Committee first used the current city flag for the commemoration of the 300th anniversary of the founding of Albany. Seven years later, in 1916, the common council officially adopted this design.
James Croft, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Designer

Unknown.
James Croft, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

More about the Flag

Abstracted from the Albany Times Union:

"Albany's flag was created as part of the massive 1909 Hudson Fulton Celebration, which commemorated both the discovery of the Hudson River by Dutch explorer Henry Hudson and the invention of steam-powered navigation by Robert Fulton. That flag was adopted by the city sometime after the 1909 celebration, said state Assemblyman Jack McEneny, a prominent local historian." and "...in 1916, the city's Common Council voted to adopt a new flag, with the American colors of red, white and blue. The only thing that stopped that from happening was a veto by then-Mayor Joseph W. Stevens, McEneny said."
Ned Smith, 30 November 2004

Detail of Seal

[Flag of Albany, New York] 3:4 image(s) by permission of David B. Martucci
image(s) from American City Flags, Raven 9-10 (2002-2003), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright.

There have been at least three seals used in Albany's history. The first dates from 1686, when several towns were incorporated into the municipality of Albany. The seal was octagonal with the letters ALB in monogram, with a crown above.

In 1752 the seal was altered—although similar in shape, it consisted only of a beaver cutting down a tree and the date, 1752.

The current seal was designed in 1789 and the common council legalized it through an ordinance in 1888. It is a seal with the coat of arms described above, except below ASSIDUITY appears Charter 1686. At the top of the disk is The Seal of the City of Albany.
James Croft, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003


Former Flag

As early as 1884, Albany flew a white flag, apparently unofficially, with the coat of arms on it in blue and white.
James Croft, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

This graduate college has no flag.
Paul Bassinson, 11 June 2014