October 4th, 2005

The design of the California state flag was the result of a mistake.

http://www.snopes.com/lost/bearflag.asp

This nascent flag was then dispatched by messenger to the nearby home of William L. Todd (nephew of Mary Todd Lincoln, the wife of future president Abraham Lincoln) along with instructions for him to paint an image of a pear in the large empty portion of the banner and send the flag back with the messenger. But Todd misread the note (whether bad handwriting or smeared ink was to blame remains a subject of dispute) and instead painted a crude bear onto the muslin.