flag of California
The Golden State
Admitted September 9, 1850

California’s iconic Bear Flag originates with the Bear Flag Revolt against Mexico in 1846. Notable bear flags were designed by Peter Storm and William L. Todd (cousin to Mary Todd Lincoln).

After Todd’s Bear Flag was destroyed in the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, a new version was created and California officially adopted it February 3, 1911.

In 1953 the flag was standardized with the bear’s rendering based upon a watercolor by painter Charles Christian Nahl.


The California flag features a field of white charged with a brown grizzly bear walking on a patch of green grass at the flag’s center.

Below the bear, the words “California Republic” are inscribed. A red stripe spans the length of the fly. A five-pointed red star is placed in the flag’s upper left.

flag of California


  • five-pointed star

    Lone Star


    Note: The lone star is borrowed from the Lone Star Flag which flew during Juan Alvarado’s rebellion against Mexico in 1836.

  • grizzly bear


    strength, unyielding resistance

    Note: The bear was modeled after Monarch, the last California grizzly in captivity who died in 1911.

  • the words “California Republic”

    California Republic

    freedom, sovereignty

    Note: First featured on the Todd Flag during the Bear Flag Revolt, representing California’s desired independence.


California statute is very specific about the five colors featured on its flag.

It is one of only four state flags to not include blue.

Values corresponding to imagery:White: field, bear’s eye and claws
Red: stripe, star, bear’s tongue
Green: grass
Tan: bear
Brown: bear’s paws, shading, iris of eye, outline, grass tufts, letters
Cable No. 70001 White
Pantone White
Cable No. 70180 Old Glory
PMS 200
Cable No. 70168 Irish Green
PMS 348
Cable No. 70129 Maple Sugar
PMS 729C
Cable No. 70108 Seal
PMS 462C


The flag should have a proportion of 2:3.

California statute specifies the proportion and spacing for the flag’s visual elements, which is rendered here.

construction sheet for the flag of California

Previous iterations

  • a field of white charged with a single red star

    Lone Star Flag

    Flown in 1836 during Juan Alvarado’s rebellion.

  • a horizontal bicolor of white and red, the white upper half charged with a red star and a bear on its hind legs

    Storm’s Bear Flag

    Designed by Peter Storm and flown in 1846.

  • a field of white with a bottom-edge thin red stripe; at the top left, a red star and silhouetted bear and the words “California Republic” below

    Todd’s Bear Flag

    A variant of the Bear Flag William L. Todd in 1846.

  • current California flag


    The current California state flag, standardized in 1953.