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Charleston, South Carolina (U.S.)

Charleston County

Last modified: 2019-12-27 by rick wyatt
Keywords: charleston | south carolina | carolopolis | charleston county |
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[Flag of Charleston, South Carolina] 3:5 image(s) by permission of David B. Martucci
image(s) from American City Flags, Raven 9-10 (2002-2003), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright.



See also:


Current Flag

Text and image(s) from American City Flags, Raven 9-10 (2002-2003), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright. Image(s) from American City Flags by permission of David B. Martucci.

Design

The flag of Charleston is dark blue on which is centered the embellished city seal in white and dark blue. On a flag with a ratio of 3 by 5 units, it has a diameter of 1.6 units. The seal is described officially in the ordinance of adoption: On the right in the foreground is a female figure seated, her right arm raised and forefinger pointing, her left arm down and left hand holding a scepter; on the left is a ship under full sail; in the background is a water view of the city, with the steeples towering; immediately below the female figure are the words, “Carolopolis Condita A.D. 1670”, (Charleston founded in the year of our Lord 1670). Encircling the whole are the following inscriptions in Roman capitals: “Aedes mores juraque curat” (She cares for her temples, customs, and rights) and “Civitatis Regimine Donata A.D. 1783” (Presented with the government of a body politic in the year of our Lord 1783)”. The seal was first authorized on 13 August 1783. The current design is based on a version of the seal introduced in 1882 by Mayor William A. Courtney. There are palmetto branches below the seal and books stacked along its sides. At the top is a scroll, quill pen, and oil lamp.
John M Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Symbolism

Of the city seal, Historian David C. R. Hesser writes "Tradition identifies the woman as the personification of the city itself, and the design evokes an image of Charleston deriving its livelihood from the sea and prepared to defend itself." (A ‘Warrior Queen of Ocean’: The Story of Charleston and Its Seal, South Carolina Historical Magazine 93 (1992): 167.
John M Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Selection

In the mid-1990s Mayor Joseph P. Riley changed the existing flag, although no legal authorization for the new design can be found.
Flag adopted: mid-1990s (unofficial).
John M Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Designer

Unknown.
John M Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003


Variant Flag

[Flag of Charleston, South Carolina] image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 12 January 2007

In this variant, the seal disc is white on blue instead of blue on white.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 11 February 2008


Seal

[Municipal seal] image located by Paul Bassinson, 25 November 2019

Source: https://firstlook.org/
Paul Bassinson, 4 March 2019


Historical flag, 1882-c.1990s

[Flag of Charleston, South Carolina] 3:5 image(s) by permission of David B. Martucci
image(s) from American City Flags, Raven 9-10 (2002-2003), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright.

American City Flags records an earlier version of the Charleston flag. The seal here has been amended to reflect that extant in 1882. A good example and some details about it can be found at www.charlestonfootprints.com/charleston-blog/enlightening-latin/2014/01/28/. A very informative history of the seal, "The Seal of the City of Charleston" can be found at www.charleston-sc.gov/DocumentCenter/View/4251.
Ben Cahoon, 5 August 2014

Mayor Courtenay first unfurled a Charleston city flag in 1882, but the exact design is unknown. For many years, an unofficial flag of dark blue with a large white central disk bearing the unembellished seal was used. 
John M Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003


 
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