The coat of arms in the center of the flag was adopted on January 17, 1777. It depicts a shield of horizontal green, blue and white stripes. On the stripes is a sheaf of wheat, an ear of corn, and an ox standing on grass, all representing Delaware's agriculture. Above the shield is a sailing ship. Supporting the shield are a farmer on the left and a soldier on the right. The state motto, below the shield, reads "Liberty and Independence". These symbols are also included on the seal of Delaware.
The current flag was adopted on July 24, 1913. During the American Civil War, regiments from Delaware flew a flag which was similar to the state coat of arms on a field of blue.
Proposed designs that feature or suggest the Swedish flag are commemorating New Sweden, a short-lived colony of Sweden that existed between 1638 and 1655. The colony's capital was in present-day Wilmington, Delaware, and settlements associated with it stretched along the Delaware River into parts of the modern states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The colony was short-lived, but the period of Swedish rule sets Delaware apart from other states and is still celebrated as part of the state's history and identity. The current flag of Wilmington is composed of the city seal on the Swedish flag. In 2013, the Swedish royal family visited Wilmington to commemorate the 375th anniversary of New Sweden's founding.