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General background about the Illinois Flag

Illinois Flag     Illinois Great Seal



The Illinois state flag is a simple design consisting of the state seal centered on a white field with the word 'Illinois' below the seal.

  • MOTTO: "State Sovereignty, National Union"
  • ENTERED UNION: Dec. 3, 1818
  • FLAG ADOPTED: July 16, 1915
  • COMMENTS: The two dates on the flag represent the year Illinois became a state (1818), and the year the state seal became official (1868).


Originally the state flag did not contain the word 'Illinois', it only displayed the state seal. The addition of 'Illinois' came at the request of a soldier stationed in Vietnam. Chief Petty Officer Bruce McDaniel, from Waverly Illinois, noticed that many of the soldiers he served with questioned the identity of his home-state flag hanging in the mess hall with the other state flags.

He eventually wrote the Illinois General Assembly and pointed out that Illinois's flag lacked an identifying mark or moniker. Whenever he looked around the mess hall, he could not distinguish his flag from many of the others. He also pointed out that anyone unfamiliar with the state seal of Illinois would not know what state it represented. The General Assembly agreed with his logic and officially adopted the word 'Illinois' to the state flag in 1969.


Illinois Flag
State Flag, Illinois




  • Illinois was the first state to ratify the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which made slavery illegal.
  •  On St. Patrick's Day the Chicago River is dyed green.
  • Between 1910 and 1930 Chicago's African-American population grew to nearly a quarter million, as the Great Migration brought black workers from the agricultural South to industrial cities in the North.
  • Chicago is home to the world's first Skyscraper, built in 1885.
  • Chicago's nickname 'Windy City' came from Charles Dana, editor of the New York Sun, who grew tired of hearing Chicagoans boast about the Columbian Exposition-the Chicago's World's Fair of 1893.
  • The first controlled atomic chain reaction took place on a squash court at the University of Chicago in 1942 under the direction of physicist Enrico Fermi.


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