Idaho's Flag History
The design for the original Idaho state flag goes back to the battle flag which the First Idaho Infantry used in the Philippines in 1899 during the Spanish American War.
The battle flag contained a picture based upon the Idaho Territorial Seal, with the name of the regiment under the picture on a blue field. By legislative act of March 12, 1907, a silk flag measuring five feet, six inches by four feet, four inches and bordered by a gilt fringe two and one half inches wide. On a field of blue is positioned the Idaho State Seal. A red banner, three inches wide and bordered in gold is directly under the seal. On the banner are the words "State of Idaho".
The women represents liberty, justice and equality. The man is a miner. The pictures on the shield represent the main industries of forestry, farming and mining highlighting the state's natural beauty. The cornucopias, or horn of plenty are symbols of abundance. The elks head represents wildlife. Esto perpetual (Let it be perpetual). The words "State of Idaho" are embroidered in with block letters, two inches in height on a red band three inches in width by twenty-nine inches in length, the band being in gold and placed about eight and one-half inches from the lower border of fringe and parallel with the same.
It was created in 1890 by Emma Edwards Green, the only woman to design a state seal. Before designing the seal, "I was careful to make a thorough study of the resources and future possibilities of the State. I invited other citizens qualified to help in creating a Seal of State that really represented Idaho at that time. Idaho had been admitted into the Union on July 3, 1890. The first state Legislature met in Boise on December 8, 1890 and on March 14th, 1891, adopted my design for the Great Seal of the State of Idaho".
The question of Woman Suffrage was being agitated somewhat, and as leading men and politicians agreed that Idaho would eventually give women the right to vote, and as mining was the chief industry, and the mining man the largest financial factor of the state at that time, I made the figure of the man the most prominent in the design, while that of the woman, signifying justice, as noted by the scales; liberty as denoted by the liberty cap on the end of the spear and equality with man as denoted by her position at his side, also signifies freedom. The pick and shovel held by the miner and the ledge of rock beside which he stands, as well as the pieces of ore scattered about his feet, all indicate the chief occupation of the State. The stamp mill in the distance, which you can see by using a magnifying glass, is also typical of the mining interest of Idaho. The shield between the man and woman is emblematic of the protection they unite in giving the state. The large fir or pine tree in the foreground in the shield refers to Idaho's immense timber interests. The husbandman plowing on the left side of the field, together with the sheaf of grain beneath the shield, are emblematic of Idaho's agricultural resources, while the cornucopias or horns of plenty, refer to the horticultural. Idaho has a game law, which protects the elk and moose. The elk's head therefore, rises above the shield. The state flower, the wild syringa or Mock Orange, grows at the woman's feet, while the ripened wheat grows as high as her shoulder. The star signifies a new light in the galaxy of states. The river depicted in the shield is our mighty Snake or Shoshone River, a stream of great majesty.
Link here to the Idaho State Historical Society for facts, figures, and history of Idaho.