5 Fun Facts About the Grand Union Flag

When most people think of the American flag, they envision the modern-day design consisting of 50 stars and 13 stripes. The American flag, however, hasn’t always featured this design. One of the earliest versions of it didn’t feature any stars. Known as the Grand Union Flag, it played an important part in our nation’s history. Below are five fun facts about the Grand Union Flag.

#1) The First American Flag

While it wasn’t officially recognized, the Grand Union Flag was still considered the first American flag. It originally appeared in 1776, during which the Grand Union Flag was displayed by  Continental Army forces. Members of the Continental Army continued to display it for several years thereafter. The Grand Union flag is now recognized as the country’s first American flag.

#2) Also Known as the Continental Colors

The Grand Union Flag is also known as the Continental Colors. Like the modern-day American flag, it features red, white and blue. More specifically, it features white, “Old Glory Red” and “Old Glory Blue.” These colors are collectively known as the Continental Colors.  When the Grand Union Flag was originally designed, it was given the name, “Contentinal Colors” in refers to its color scheme. It wasn’t until several decades later when it was given the name, “the Grand Union Flag.”

#3) No Stars

There are no stars on the Grand Union Flag. It still features 13 stars, which represent the original 13 colonies. But the Grand Union Flag lacks the 50 stars found on the modern-day American flag. Instead, it featured the flag of Great Britain. You can see an example of the Grand Union Flag in the photo above. As depicted in the photo, the Grand Union Flag is similar to the modern-day American but with one major difference: Rather than stars in the upper-left corner, it features the flag of Great Britain.

#4) Believed to Have Been Displayed By Washington’s Army

While it’s unknown who created the Grand Union Flag, some historians believe that George Washington’s Army displayed it. There’s evidence suggesting that Washington’s army displayed the Grand Union flag on January 1, 1776, at a base in Charlestown, South Carolina. At the time, the base was under siege by British forces.

#5) Made Obsolete By the Flag Act of 1777

The Grand Union Flag was made obsolete by the Flag Act of 1777. The Flag Act of 1777, of course, recognized a different design as the country’s first official flag. With this piece of legislation, the British flag was removed and replaced with a set of stars.


Join thousands of others receiving our newsletter.