On June 14, 1846, a small band of settlers marched on the Mexican garrison at Sonoma and took the commandant, Mariano Vallejo, prisoner, They issued a proclamation which declared California to be a Republic, independent of Mexico.The grizzly bear was a symbol of great strength while the star made reference to the Lone Star of Texas. The flag only flew until July 9, 1846 when it was learned that Mexico and the United States were already at war. Soon after, the Bear Flag was replaced with the American flag. It was adopted as the State Flag by the State Legislature in 1911.
The flag was officially named the state flag in 1911 with its design standardized in 1953. In addition, the 1953 state flag law made the flag’s nickname official by stating that the “Bear Flag is the State Flag of California.”
When the Legislature voted to adopt the rebel standard as the state flag in 1911, California was in the grip of a racist, jingoistic fever. The measure was sponsored by Sen. James Holohan from Watsonville, a member of the Native Sons of the Golden West. The obvious intent of the measure was to glorify the Bear Flaggers, who were hailed as wholesome patriots. But that was far from the truth.
Its pioneer, Ezekiel Merrit, was portrayed as \”a corrupt, bourbon drinking, pugnacious individual.\” Known as Stuttering Merrit, he was a criminal who in 1848 supposedly stole 200 pounds of gold from his business accomplice. William Todd, who outlined the banner, originated from a group of Kentucky slave proprietors. The next is the first lieutenant, Henry L. Portage, was a U.S. Armed force coward who had imitated his brother to escape. Sam Kelsey, the second lieutenant, alongside his brother Ben, was a genocidal insane person who killed many Pomo Indians in Clear Lake.
The bear on California’s flag represents the grizzly bears that were common in California at the time and are much less common today. The bold words “California Republic” were placed to firmly establish California as an independent state apart from Mexico. The red strip along the bottom of the California flag is simply a design element and does not have a specific meaning.
There is a barrage of cheap and inferior California flags being imported and sold, that do not comply with the flag statute. This is bad for a number of reasons. Imported flags are cheaply made and more importantly, the designs, materials, colors, and methods of printing do not compare well with the better quality, longer-lasting, and correctly designed flags made by American manufacturers. The Flag Company Inc specialized in flag designs offered a special edition of decals and flags to memorize the history of California flag for the future.