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Flag of Hawaii

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Flag of Hawaii
NameKa Hae Hawaiʻi
UseCivil and state flag
AdoptedDecember 29, 1845; 178 years ago (1845-12-29)
DesignEight alternating horizontal stripes of white, red, and blue, with a Union flag in the canton

The flag of Hawaii (Hawaiian: Ka Hae Hawaiʻi) is the official flag of Hawaii as a U.S. state, as it was kingdom, protector government, republic, and territory. It is the only state flag of the United States to have the Union Flag of the United Kingdom on it.

Design[change | change source]

The field of the flag is composed of eight horizontal stripes symbolizing the eight major islands. A ninth stripe was once shown, meaning the island of Nihoa. The color of the stripes, from the top down, has this pattern: white, red, blue, white, red, blue, white, red. The colors were standardized in 1843, although other combinations have been seen and are occasionally still used.

Origins[change | change source]

There are a lot of reasons for the earliest history of the flag of Hawaii. One said how King Kamehameha I flew a British flag, given to him by British explorer Captain George Vancouver as a token of friendship with King George III. Other visits reported seeing the flag flying from places of honor. An adviser to Kamehameha noted that the Union Flag could draw Hawaii into international problems as his kingdom could be seen as an ally of the United Kingdom, and he quickly lowered the Union Flag over his home. While argued as historically correct, one report of events that followed stated that in order to please American interests during the War of 1812, a flag of the United States was raised over Kamehameha's home only to be removed when British officers in the court of Kamehameha powerfully objected to it. This account then explains why the resulting flag of Hawaii was a deliberate combination of the two nations' flags.

In 1816, Kamehameha appointed his own flag to avoid problems. As a result, the current flag of Hawaii was born. There is debate as to the name of the officer: some traditions credit Alexander Adams, others George Beckley. The original flag was designed to feature stripes alternating in the order: red-white-blue. However, some have argued that the stripes were influenced by the flag of the United States. The flag used at the first official flying of the flag of Hawaii erroneously placed the stripes in the order: white-red-blue. The number of stripes also changed. Originally, the flag was designed with seven horizontal stripes. In 1845 it changed to have eight stripes (at one point, there were nine but later the number changed back to eight). The arrangement was adopted and is used today.