Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Californian Flag

I came across an urban legend today that I had never heard before. It in fact, has been proven to be true and is an invented tradition of sorts. This invented tradition/urban legend is known as the mistake in the Californian flag. After an 1846 revolt in California against the Mexican commandante-general, Vallejo. Vallejo surrendered his fortress and was placed under arrest. To celebrate this victory, Captain Bartlett and his men wanted to create a flag but first needed to decide on what should symbolically represent the California. Bartlett, an agriculturist who created the Barlett pear, demanded that they include a pear on the flag to represent the lush agriculture. The rebels quickly pieced together their flag by sewing a red strip on the bottom, then a star to represent their victory and the words "California Republic" before sending it to William L. Todd to complete. Todd was instructed to paint a pear on the flag, but he misinterpreted it and painted on a bear instead. The rebels decided to display the inaccurate flag with every intention of fixing it and 65 years later this misinterpretation was adopted as the official state flag of California.


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