5 Facts About the Flag of Alaska

Alaska was one of the last states to gain statehood. It was added to the United States in 1959. Alaska became an official state during the first part of this year, whereas Hawaii became an official state in the latter part of 1959. Like all states, though, Alaska has an official flag. It features a simple yet meaningful design that’s become synonymous with The Last Frontier.

#1) Depicts the Big Dipper

To the unsuspecting eye, the flag of Alaska may look like a random arrangement of stars. It depicts eight gold-colored stars against a blue field. This isn’t just a random design, however. It’s actually the Big Dipper. The Big Dipper is a constellation in Ursa Major that looks like a cup and handle. This cancellation is depicted on the flag of Alaska.

#2) Used for Navigation

Because it depicts the Big Dipper, the flag of Alaska can be used for navigation purposes. The Big Dipper constellation points to the North Star. Also known as Polaris, the North Star denotes the location of the north pole. And it’s even included in the flag of Alaska. You can spot the North Star in the flag of Alaska by looking in the top-right corner. It’s the isolated star that’s positioned away from the rest of the Big Dipper constellation.

#3) Designed During a Contest

The flag of Alaska was designed during a contest. In 1927, the Alaska Department of the American Legion held a contest to seek designs for a flag. The contest was held at various middle schools and high schools throughout the state, and it receives about 700 entries. A 13-year-old student named Benny Benson was selected as the winner. Benson’s design consisted of the Big Dipper constellation, along with the North Star, against a blue field.

#4) Adopted in 1927

The flag of Alaska was officially adopted during the same year in which Benson won the contest. Of course, Alaska wasn’t an official state at the time. Alaska didn’t gain statehood in 1959. Nonetheless, the Alaska Legislature officially adopted the flag in 1927 — and it continued to recognize Benson’s flag as the official Alaska flag in 1959 and beyond.

#5) Ranked as One of the Best Designs

Although it’s relatively simple, the flag of Alaska has one of the top-ranked designs. A North American Vexillological Association survey found that the Alaska flag featured the fifth-best design of all U.S. and Canadian flags. It’s an attractive design that depicts the Big Dipper and the North Star against a blue field.

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