The Bahia state flag is a synthesis of libertarian ideals. The Bahian flag colors are the same as those of the flag of Bahian revolutionaries of 1798, who started the "Revolucão dos Alfaiates." The triangle recalls the symbol of the conspiracy of the people of Minas Gerais in 1789. The stripes evoke the United States flag and associate it with the U.S. Declaration of Independence (1776), which had great repercussions among the Brazilian people of the 18th century.

The concept for the present flag of Bahia was developed by Dr. Deocleciano Ramos, a professor of medicine, who presented it as a proposed Republican Club (Party) flag at a party congress in Salvador on 25 May 1889. It was adopted as the party flag the next day. It was hoisted in a more or less official capacity for the first time on 17 November 1889--the day Bahia recognized the republic that had been proclaimed in Rio de Janeiro two days earlier. Colonel Durval de Aguiar, commander of the police, had it hoisted on the Forte do Mar and accorded a 21-gun salute. By 1933, Clóvis Ribeiro accepted, apparently without reservation, that Ramos's design was the Bahia flag, even though it had not and has never been defined by law. Notwithstanding, as Antenor Teixeira points out in Os Símbolos na consciência cívica de um povo (Symbols in the Civic Consciousness of a People), constant use has struck "such deep roots in the consciousness of the people that the government would have no other alternative than to accept it as the representative symbol of Bahia" (quoted at the Bahia flag page of Governor Juracy Magalhães did give the flag a certain element of legal recognition in Decree no. 17628 of 11 June 1960: "The use of the flag of Bahia in military police and scholastic parades is reestablished as obligatory." The Diário Oficial of the state showed the flag in color on the cover of a special edition of 7 August 1964. However, the form of the flag has yet to be legally specified.