The state flag consists of the Massachusetts coat of arms on a white background. The coat of arms features an Algonquian Native American with bow and downward-pointing arrow and five-pointed white star on a blue shield. Above the shield is the bent arm holding a broadsword aloft with its blade up. A blue ribbon surrounds the shield, bearing the state motto Ense Petit Placidam, Sub Libertate Quietem (meaning "By the Sword We Seek Peace, But Peace Only Under Liberty")
Massachusetts state flag
Massachusetts flag colors - meaning
Algonquian Native American: symbolizes the rich cultural heritage of Massachusetts
Bow: represents readiness to defend liberty, by force if necessary
downward-pointing arrow: symbolizes peace
bent arm holding a broadsword aloft with its blade up: represents revolutionary war that won liberty by force
five-pointed white star: represents the union and Massachusetts' admission as the sixth U.S. state.
History of Massachusetts flag
The first state flag of Massachusetts, which was adopted by the legislature on March 18, 1908, has had a different reverse side - a green pine tree on a blue shield. In 1971 the reverse side of the state flag was removed and current state flag features the same design on both sides.
Massachusetts flag history
Maritime flag of Massachusetts
The pine tree from the reverse side design of the first state flag of Massachusetts was made the maritime flag of the state. Massachusetts is one of only two states with its own naval ensign — the other is Maine, which was part of Massachusetts until 1820.