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The flags of the U.S. states exhibit a wide variety of regional influences and local histories, as well as widely different styles and design principles. Modern state flags date from the 1890s when states wanted to have distinctive symbols at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Most state flags were designed and adopted between 1893 and World War I.
According to a 2001 survey by the North American Vexillological Association, New Mexico has the best-designed flag of any U.S. state, U.S. territory, or Canadian province, while Georgia's state flag was rated the worst design. (Georgia adopted a new flag in 2003; Nebraska's state flag, whose design was rated second worst, remains in use to date.) About half the flags have a common "seal on a bed sheet" design, wherein the state seal is simply put on a solid, usually blue, background. Such flags consistently get the lowest ranks from the Vexillological Association.
Dates in parentheses denote when the flag was adopted by the state's legislature.
Maine and Massachusetts have ensigns differing from the state flag for use at sea.
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