Friday, July 4, 2014

The Grand Union Flag

As it may seem typical to do an American flag on Independence day, I decided to dedicate today's post to what is considered to be the first national flag of the United States.  The Grand Union Flag (also the Continental Colors, the Congress Flag, the Cambridge Flag, and the First Navy Ensign) is considered to be the first national flag of the United States. This flag consisted of thirteen red and white stripes with the British Union Flag of the time (the variant prior to the inclusion of the St. Patrick's cross of Ireland) in the canton.
By the end of 1775, during the first year of the American Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress operated as a de facto war government authorizing the creation of an army, navy and even a marine corps. A new flag was required to represent the Congress and fledgling nation, different from the Red Ensign flown from British vessels and British Union flags carried by the King's troops.
The Grand Union flag was first hoisted on the USS Alfred, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 3, 1775, by Lieutenant John Paul Jones. The event had been documented in letters to Congress and eyewitness accounts.  The Flag Act of 1777 authorized a new official national flag of a design similar to that of the Colors, with thirteen stars (representing the thirteen States) on a field of blue replacing the British Union flag in the canton.

AdoptedDecember 3, 1775
DesignA field of 13 red and white stripes with the flag of Great Britain Union Flag in the canton. 

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