The Flag of North Dakota: History, Meaning, and Symbolism

The Flag of North Dakota: History, Meaning, and Symbolism

Where is North Dakota?

North Dakota is a state in the Midwest of the United States. With a population of 780,000, it is the nineteenth largest state by area and the fourth most populous state. It is bordered by the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba to the north, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south, and Montana to the west. The capital is Bismarck and the largest city is Fargo.

When was North Dakota founded?

North Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889, the 39th state to join the Union. It was part of Dakota Territory until it was divided into North and South Dakota. The area was inhabited by various Native American tribes for many thousands of years. European explorers and traders arrived in the early 18th century.

Map showing North Dakota and surrounding areas
North Dakota borders the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, as well as Minnesota, South Dakota and Montana in the United States.

©Mio Buono/

What is the geography of North Dakota?

North Dakota is the northernmost of the Midwestern states. It is mostly flat and hilly terrain with some rugged badlands in the western part of the state. The highest point in the state is White Butte, which is 3,506 feet above sea level. The Missouri River is the longest in the state and also the largest tributary of the Mississippi. The state is home to two national parks, Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site.

What is the climate like in North Dakota?

North Dakota has a continental climate with hot summers, cold winters, and moderate to low rainfall year-round. Average summer temperatures range from the mid-70s to mid-80s Fahrenheit, while winter temperatures range from the mid-teens to mid-20s Fahrenheit. The state receives an average of 17.31 inches of rain and 18.7 inches of snow each year.

The North Dakota Badlands
North Dakota is mostly flat and hilly terrain with some rugged badlands in the western part of the state.

© Mild

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What is North Dakota Culture and Cuisine?

North Dakota has a diverse culture with influences from Native American, Scandinavian, German and other European cultures. North Dakota cuisine is heavily influenced by its European roots and traditional Native American cuisine. Common dishes include pemmican, a type of dried meat similar to jerky, bison stew, and wild rice. Many dishes are prepared with game such as elk, venison and prairie chicken.

What animals are there in North Dakota?

North Dakota is home to a wide variety of wildlife, from white-tailed deer and moose to moose and bison. The state also has a large population of pronghorn antelope, as well as prairie chicken and wild turkey.

In addition to these more common animals, North Dakota is also home to the endangered black-footed ferret. The whooping crane is also found in the vast land areas or wetlands of North Dakota; This species has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 2018. Other bird species that call North Dakota home include waterfowl like ducks and geese, songbirds like swallows and finches, and predatory birds of prey like red-tailed hawks and bald eagles.

Pronghorn antelope live in North Dakota
North Dakota has a large population of pronghorn antelope.

©Matthieu Gallet/

What plants are there in North Dakota?

North Dakota is home to a wide variety of plants including grasses, shrubs and trees. Some of the most common grass species found in North Dakota include western wheatgrass, blue grama grass, prairie Junegrass, needle-and-thread grass, and buffalo grass. Common shrubs include green ash and prickly pear cactus. Trees that grow in the state include red oak, ponderosa pine, and aspen. North Dakota is also home to many wildflowers that are native to the region, such as B. yellow coneflower, blanket flower and Indian brush. Wetlands support rushes and cattails, while patches of wetland are often filled with purple loosestrife or marsh marigolds.

North Dakota flag: description

On January 21, 1911, Deputy Colonel John H. Fraine designated an official flag for the state of North Dakota. The North Dakota flag is a blue field with a large bald eagle in the center. The eagle holds an olive branch in the claws of its left foot and a bundle of arrows in its right. In its beak it carries a ribbon with the Latin words “E Pluribus Unum” (out of many, one). On the eagle’s breast is a red, white, and blue shield with thirteen stripes. The state’s name—North Dakota—is on a banner below the eagle. Above the eagle’s head is a rising sun with 13 stars.

This flag corresponds to the design of the regimental flag carried by the infantry during the 1898 Spanish-American War and the 1899 Philippine Island Rebellion. The only difference is that the words North Dakota are now scrolled under the eagle.

Flag of North Dakota: Symbolism

The bald eagle on the flag symbolizes strength and freedom, while the shield represents protection. The bundle of arrows represents the many Native American tribes that have inhabited the area for centuries. The banner symbolizes the union and unity of the many states that have created a nation. The 13 stripes on the eagle’s chest represent the 13 primal states. The rising sun over the eagle’s head represents the birth of a new nation.

North Dakota flag waving in the wind
The bald eagle on the North Dakota flag symbolizes strength and freedom, while the shield represents protection.


What are North Dakota’s state symbols?

The state of North Dakota has a variety of official symbols, including the western meadowlark as the state bird and the wild prairie rose as the state flower. The state fruit is the chokeberry (Prunus virginiana), which is common throughout the state.

Does North Dakota have a state motto?

Yes, North Dakota has an official state motto. It is “Liberty and Oneness, now and forever, one and inseparable.” This motto was adopted in 1889 when North Dakota became a state. The phrase is from Daniel Webster’s speech to the House of Representatives on January 26, 1830, delivered during the debate over South Carolina’s threat to secede from the Union because of the tariffs imposed by Congress. The phrase has become a rallying cry for Americans who, despite their disagreements and differences, take pride in their country’s unity.

Does North Dakota have a state song?

Yes, North Dakota has an official state song called the North Dakota Hymn. Lyrics by James W. Foley and music by Dr. Written by CS Putnam.

Does North Dakota have a state march?

Yes! 1975 spirit of the country by James D. Ployhar has been designated by officials as the official state march of North Dakota. The title was so similar to another existing song that in 1989 a new title – Flickertail March – was given.

Does North Dakota have a state nickname?

Yes, North Dakota is often referred to as the “Peace Garden State” or “Flickertail State”. The name comes from the International Peace Garden near the Canadian border. The term “flickertail” is derived from Richardson’s ground squirrel, which is native to the state.

10 fun facts about North Dakota

  1. North Dakota is the number one honey producer in the United States
  2. Ninety percent of the land in North Dakota is farms and ranches.
  3. North Dakota is home to the largest grasslands at over 1 million acres in the Little Missouri National Grasslands.
  4. North Dakota has 63 protected areas.
  5. North Dakota is home to the Enchanted Highway, a 32-mile highway dotted with metal sculptures.
  6. There’s a buffalo statue in North Dakota that’s 26 feet tall!
  7. Former US President Theodore Roosevelt loved North Dakota.
  8. The smallest town in North Dakota is Maza with only five residents.
  9. The Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota is 1 million acres, which is the size of Rhode Island.
  10. In the Sioux language, the word Dakota means friend.


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