The Flag of the State of Michigan depicts the state’s coat-of-arms on a dark blue field, as set forth by Michigan state law. The state coat of arms depicts a light blue shield, upon which the sun rises over a lake and peninsula, and a man with raised hand and holding a long gun representing peace and the ability to defend his rights. As supporters the elk and moose are derived from the Hudson’s Bay Company coat of arms, the first defacto government of Michigan when it was called Canada, and depict great animals of Michigan. The bald eagle represents the United States which formed the State of Michigan from the Northwest Territory.
The design features three Latin mottos. From top-to-bottom they are:
1. On red ribbon: E Pluribus Unum, “Out of many, one”, a motto of the United States
2. On light blue shield: Tuebor, “I will defend”
3. On white ribbon: Si Quæris Peninsulam Am?nam Circumspice, “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you” (the official state motto)
The present flag, adopted in 1911, is the third state flag. The first flag featured a portrait of Michigan’s first governor, Stevens T. Mason, on one side and the state coat of arms and “a soldier and a lady” on the other side. The second flag, adopted in 1865, displayed the state coat of arms on one side and the United States coat of arms on the other.
For more information, see State of Michigan Flag wikipedia entry