The History of New Mexico’s Flag

by      January 01, 2015

A wooden version of the New Mexico state flag is available at PatriotWood.com. You can check out some pictures of the New Mexico Wood Flag here, and keep reading to learn about this state flag.

The flag’s design isn’t just stunning, but it’s also full of symbolism. When we did a bit of research on its past, we discovered that there are both Spanish and Zia roots in its design.

Let’s take a look at the New Mexico flag: its symbolism, what it has in common with three other state flags, and more!

Tennessee wood flag from Patriot Wood

NEW MEXICO’S FLAG: AN OVERVIEW

After becoming the 47th state admitted to the Union in 1912, New Mexico took 14 years to adopt an official state flag. The process finally began at the bidding of The Daughters of the American Revolution, a nonprofit group looking to preserve American history, education, and patriotism.

The contest to design a flag for New Mexico was won by Dr. Harry Mera, an archaeologist who had a deep understanding of the Zia sun symbol, which he made the central component of his design.

Dr. Mera’s flag became the official state flag in 1925. It’s one of only four state flags not to include the color blue, and a 2001 survey by the North American Vexillological Association named it the best-designed state flag.

SYMBOLISM AND MEANING IN NEW MEXICO’S STATE FLAG

The design of New Mexico’s flag is influenced by the Spanish conquistadors. Interestingly, it also honors the Zia people, a puebloan tribe located in New Mexico. Historically, these two groups experienced many conflicts.

Cross of Burgundy

When the conquistadors found and invaded the Zia’s land, they flew the Cross of Burgundy. This was Spain’s land-battle flag from 1506 to 1843, and it’s still used in limited capacity today on badges and other small military items. The gold and scarlet used in New Mexico’s state flag were found on this conquistador flag.

The central sun found in this flag is a symbol from the Zia people. Their depiction of the sun is heavy with symbolism. You’ll notice that each of the four points on the sun is made up of four lines—that’s because the number four is a sacred number to the Zia people.

The number four symbolized many things, including:

  • The four seasons throughout the year
  • The four points on a compass
  • The four periods in each day (morning, noon, evening, and night)
  • The four seasons of life (childhood, youth, middle years, and old age)
  • The four core obligations of Zia belief (a strong body, a clear mind, a pure spirit, and a devotion to the welfare of others)

Dr. Mera’s design incorporated aspects from both of these cultures, producing a design that tells a story from New Mexico’s colorful history. 

Check out the New Mexico Wood Flag today!

KEEP READING ABOUT AMERICA’S STATE FLAGS

Check out features on Texas’ flag, Tennessee’s flag, California’s flag, Arizona’s flag, Maryland’s flag, and Colorado’s flag.

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