PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — Each state in the United States has a flag that represents its state. Pennsylvania is no different.

Pennsylvania’s flag was authorized by the General Assembly way back in 1799. The flag is relatively simple, featuring the state’s coat of arms on a blue background.

But, what is that coat of arms? What does it symbolize for the State of Pennsylvania?

The state’s coat of arms was based on a design from 1778 but Caleb Lownes, who was a Philadelphia Quaker. The coat of arms features the following:

A close-up of the ship featured on the coat of arms, which was taken in Independence Hall. (Photo: Dave Tristan)
  • Shield: This is to show Pennsylvania’s strengths, and is also topped by a bald eagle.
  • Ship: This is to show the state’s commerce being carried worldwide.
  • Plow: This is to show how the state is full of natural resources.
  • Three Sheaves of Wheat: This is to show the fertile field and the state’s wealth of human thought and action.
  • Olive Branch and Cornstalk: This is to represent peace and prosperity.

The coat of arms is also flanked by two horses and features the state’s motto, which is “Virtue, Liberty and Independence”, underneath.


According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Pennsylvania Legislature authorized the use of the coat of arms on a flag for the state militia back on April 9 of 1799. On June 13, 1907, a state flag for nonmilitary purposes was approved by the legislature, and it is still in use to this day.