The flag of Alaska consists of eight gold stars, forming the Big Dipper and the North Star, on a dark blue field. The Big Dipper is an asterism in the constellation Ursa Major which symbolizes a bear, an animal indigenous to Alaska. As depicted on the flag, its stars can be used as a guide by the novice to locate Polaris and determine true north, which varies considerably from a magnetic north.

The design was created by Benny Benson of Seward and selected from among roughly 700 entries in a 1927 contest. Benny looked to the sky for the symbols he included in his design. Choosing the familiar constellation he looked for every night before going to sleep at the orphanage, he submitted this description with it: "The blue field is for the Alaska sky and the forget-me-not, an Alaskan flower. The North Star is for the future state of Alaska, the most northerly in the union. The Dipper is for the Great Bear—symbolizing strength."

Proposals for a New Flag of Alaska[edit | edit source]

Symbolism[edit | edit source]

Flag of Russia/Russian-American Company[edit | edit source]

Flag of the Russian-American Company as used in Alaska

Alaska served as a territory of the Russian Empire from 1733 to 1867, and some flag proposals commemorate this heritage in their designs. The territory was governed by the Russian-American Company (Российская-Американская Компания) as chartered by Tsar Paul I for most of its history, with its capital situated in Novo-Arkhangelsk (Ново-Архангельск). The Russian Orthodox Church was awarded certain special privileges in regards to this new land and partook in efforts to convert Alaska Natives, resulting in the establishment of many Orthodox churches across the area and a lasting religious legacy in some native communities to this day. Facing financial and security concerns, the Russian Empire sold Alaska to the United States in 1867 for $7.2 million.

United States
States and federal district


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