[photopress:Original_California_Bear_Flag.jpg,thumb,right]California’s original Bear Flag first flew at a pioneers’ uprising on the Mexican fort in Sonoma, June 14, 1846. The pioneers issued a proclamation which declared California to be a Republic independent of Mexico.
William Todd painted that first rough flag on new length of unbleached cotton using red and brown paint. He painted a single red star, in reference to the Lone Star of Texas (whom the pioneers saw as sharing in the revolt against Mexico), and a large brown bear, symbolizing the strength of their cause. The words ‘California Republic’ were lettered underneath the star and bear, and a stripe of red flannel was sewn across the bottom.
This original flag was in the possession of the Society of California Pioneers at the time of the 1906 Great Earthquake and Fire in San Francisco, and burned during the conflagration. Fortunately, it was photographed before it was destroyed.
[photopress:California.JPG,thumb,left]By my count, there have been nine “bear” flags representing California, with the present flag approved by the California legislature in 1911.
Two more states have a bear represented on their flags. Can you name them?