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Journey Through An Archive of American Flags

...the flag in course of time

An Archive of US Flags

The American national flag has come through a course of changes. It was changed some 27 times from 1777 to 1960. Let us take a journey along the course of history to see how our national flag has come to evolve through various changes.Getting familiar with the changing faces of the Flag. Isn't it a nice and wise way to celebrate the Flag Day.

Well, the Stars and Stripes came to be regarded as the national flag with the official recognition of the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. This was the year following our nation's independence. So, what was there before this Stars and Stripes came to secure its berth as the national flag? Which one was used to really flag off the journey of an independent Union of American States, a year ago? How did it look like?

American Flag

The Grand Union Flag:

Continental Color

It showed the British Union Flag of 1606, the predecessor of the Union Jack, in the canton. Its field consisted of seven red and six white alternated stripes representing the 13 colonies. The latter officially replaced it on June 14, 1777.


Other earlier versions:

snake

There were some other early versions of the Flag. A very popular one among them was, the first Navy Jack. It had the 13 red-white stripes with a rattlesnake overall, and the motto "Don't Tread on Me."


The 1st National Flag:

1st national flag

Called the Stars and Stripes, this was formally approved by the Continental Congress--on June 14, 1777. The blue canton was to contain 13 stars, but the layout of the stars was left undefined, and several patterns are known.The one designed by the legendary Betsy Ross is said to feature the stars arranged in five rows of either two or three stars.


The Navy adopted its own flag:

The Navy adopted its own flag

Some related designs that followed soon, include the 76 Flag. It was flown at the Battle of Bennington on Aug. 16, 1777.


Hulbert's Stars and Stripes:

Hulbert's Stars and Stripes

Yet another contemporary flag that was cast in the mold of the Stars and Stripes was the one designed by John Hulbert, a magistrate. It's stripes were the same but the canton featured a diamond-shaped field of 13 stars was.


The Stars and Stripes - 1795 version:

The Stars and Stripes - 1795 version

Stars and Stripes remained unchanged until May 1, 1795, when two more stars and two more stripes were added to reflect the admission to the union of Vermont (1791) and Kentucky (1792). It was this flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the "Star Spangled Banner".


Stars & Stripes - 1818 version:

Stars & Stripes - 1818 version

In 1818, with five more states being admitted, the Congress enacted legislation. This stated that henceforth the stripes should remain 13, whereas the number of stars should always match the number of states. It was also decided that any new star should be added on the July 4 following a state's admission. This has been the system ever since.


The 1863 version:

The 1863 version

On May 1, 1863, a new national flag, the Stainless Banner was adopted. However, the design did not last long.


The 1865 version:

The 1865 version

But a still short lived was a modification of the Stainless Banner. It was adopted, rather futilely, about a month before the end of the war in April 1865.


Stars and Stripes - standardized version:

Stars and Stripes - standardized version

Since then every time a new state was annexed, the size of the canton, as well as the stripes got altered, so as to accommodate the increased number of stars. It took to Oct. 29, 1912, when an executive order standardized the proportions and relative sizes of the elements of the flag.


However, the exact shades of color of the elements were yet to be standardized. And it took till 1934 to standardize this.

The national flag which we see these days has been effective since July 4, 1960. This was following the inclusion of Hawaii in the United States of America. However, this flag featuring 50 stars on a canton against the background of 13 stripes - 7 red and 6 white - has been evolved through a long period of eventful years.

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