Michigan's Flag History
The current Michigan state flag is the third official state flag and was adopted by Public Act 209 in 1911. The first flag displayed a portrait of Michigan's first governor, Stevens Thomson Mason on one side and the state coat of arms on the other side. In 1865, this flag was changed. Stevens Mason's portrait was removed and the flag displayed the Michigan coat of arms on one side and the United States coat of arms on the other side, perhaps in response to the end of the civil war. Today the flag displays only the Michigan coat of arms on a field of blue.
Depicted on the shield is a lake with a yellow sun rising over the blue waters. A man is standing on a peninsula with one hand raised in a greeting of friendship and the other hand holding a rifle. An Elk and a Moose support the shield between them; a Bald Eagle grasping an olive branch and arrows in its talons is shown above the shield.
Three mottos are shown on the coat of arms: E Pluribus Unum (From many, one), Tuebor (I will defend), and Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam Circumspice (If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you). These mottos are reflected in the coat of arms pictorially. E Pluribus Unum, also our national motto, aligns with the depiction of the Bald Eagle. Tuebor is represented in the arrows clasped in the eagle's talons and the gun held in the man's left hand. Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam Circumspice is supported by the warmth of the sun, the man's friendly greeting from the peninsula and the olive branches held by the Bald Eagle.
The Bald Eagle represents the United States and the Elk and Moose represent Michigan.
Link here to the Michigan State Historical Society for facts, figures and history of Michigan.