The first Massachusetts state flag dates back to 1915 when the first Massachusetts flag was adopted. This flag had a white background with the commonwealth coat of arms on one side and a blue shield with a pine tree on it. The Massachusetts flag of today shows the coat of arms on both sides of the flag. This design went into effect in 1971. The coat of arms of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is blue and has a Native American on it with a golden bow in one hand and a golden arrow in another. Above the shield is a right arm grasping a broadsword and beneath the shield is a banner that offers the motto of the commonwealth, "Ense petit placidam sub liberatate quietem." This means "By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty." The Native American on the shield is shown with his arrow pointing down to show a friendly demeanor and the silver star of the coat of arms is shown to represent the 13 original colonies.
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