Banners Symbolize Eras Over Which They Waved

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Bourbon Flag of France (1682 - 1763) - The first flag that whipped in the Mississippi breeze stemmed from the arrival of Sieur de La Salle, the French explorer who in 1682 claimed the Mississippi River area for his king, Louis XIV. This flag flew over Mississippi forts at Ocean Springs (Fort Maurepas) and Natchez, until the French were ousted in 1763.

British Red Ensign (1763 - 1779)- England gained these lands in 1763 -- when France, along with Spain and their Indian allies, lost the French and Indian War to England. Then England took possession of the northern half of Mississippi (as part of its Georgia colony) and the southern half of Mississippi (as part of its West Florida colony). During this era, the flag flew in Vicksburg and Natchez and opposed the Americans in the Revolutionary War, farther north.

Spanish Flag of Castile and Leon (1779 - 1785) - In 1779, during the reign of Charles III, Jose Galvez seized West Florida from England while England was busy in the Revolutionary War. Galvez then unfurled this banner of Spain in Pascagoula, Natchez and Vicksburg. In 1785, the Spanish flag changed to an emblem called the Spanish Bars of Aragon. A portion of Mississippi remained under Spain until 1798.

U.S. Star Spangled Banner (1798 - 1818) - In 1798, Mississippi became a U.S. territory and this flag continued to fly as the Mississippi Territory was expanded. In 1810, the Republic of West Florida (including Mississippi coastal counties) became U.S. land. Later, Choctaw and Chickasaw Indian lands were added to the territory. This U.S. flag also waved in 1

Republic of West Florida (74 days in 1810) - In 1810, southernmost Mississippi became part of the Republic of West Florida. Then this banner, known as the Bonnie Blue Flag, flew over Mississippi coastal counties. Before this, the U.S. believed it already had acquired southernmost Mississippi when it bought the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803. But Spain refused to evacuate the area. So, in 1810, American settlers rebelled against the Spanish and drove them east. The Americans then formed the Republic of West Florida and applied for U.S. statehood. President James Madison responded that West Florida already was in the Louisiana Purchase and ordered officials to take posssession. Then, that area was added to the Mississippi Territory. In 1861, this flag resurfaced at the Old Capitol in Jackson, where Mississippi had just passed the Ordinance of Succession. Its lone star, again, symbolized a claim of independence.

Mississippi Magnolia Flag (1861) - January 9, 1861 -- Mississippi voted to secede from the Union. For a few weeks, the old Bonnie Blue Flag of 1810 was the new Sovereign Republic of Mississippi informal symbol. On January 26, the republic adopted a new flag with the Bonnie Blue Flag in its canton and a magnolia tree its center field. When the Sovereign Republic of Mississippi joined the Confederate States of America, March 27, the short-lived Magnolia flag was replaced by the Confederacy's flag. Though Mississippi flew the flags of the Confederate States of America from 1861 to 1865, the Magnolia Flag actually remained the "official" flag for 33 years.

State of Mississippi Flag. Adopted by the Mississippi Legislature in 1894. The flag is unique among U.S. state flags as it is the sole remaining U.S. state flag which still depicts the Confederate battle flag's saltire, after Georgia adopted a new state flag in 2003.

State Flower and Tree
In 1900, the school children of Mississippi selected the Magnolia as the State Flower.
In 1952, the Legislature selected the Magnolia as the Official State Tree