Also known as the “Three Rivers Flag”, this flag represents the city’s location close to the confluence of the Mississippi, Missouri and Meramec rivers. It also makes a direct reference to the French history of the city.
The flag has 2 blue and white wavy lines coming together from the left corners in the middle to represent the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. These lines continue on to the rightmost edge to signify the continuation of the Mississippi river that empties into the Gulf of Mexico at New Orleans. The 2 rivers physically come together just north of downtown St. Louis and continue on south to the Gulf of Mexico.
The gold circle at the confluence has a blue fleur-de-lis. This represents the city’s French roots. It was founded by the French and named after Louis IX, King of France who is the only French King to have been declared a Saint. Louis IX also has cities in Brazil and Mexico named after him.
The gold circle itself represents the city (at the confluence) and/or is a Byzantine coin that signifies money or purchase. This second meaning is in reference to the Louisiana Purchase where America bought the land around where the city of Saint Louis now resides from the French in 1803.
The colors represent many different powers that have touched the city throughout its history:
- Spain: red and yellow (or gold). Spain won the territory from the French in 1768 only to secretly give it back in the Treaty of San Ildefonso of 1800.
- Bourbon France: white and gold. Saint Louis was settled by the French who were ruled by the Bourbon dynasty for some time after St. Louis was founded.
- Napoleonic and Republican France: blue, white and red. Napoleon was responsible for selling the Louisiana territory to Thomas Jefferson and the United States.
- USA: red, white and blue. Saint Louis is now (as this piece was written) the 15th-largest urban area in the United States.