Unbeknownst to many Americans, New England has a flag; it’s just not an official flag. All 50 states in the United States have their own official flag. New England, however, isn’t a state. It’s a territory in the Northeastern United States consisting of the six following states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. New England is bordered by New York to the west and by the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick to the northeast.
When driving through New England, you may notice a red flag with a pine tree displayed in front of homes and businesses. This is the unofficial New England flag. With origins dating back to the 17th century, it’s deeply rooted in New England’s history. What is the unofficial New England flag exactly, and how did it come to be?
What Is the Unofficial New England Flag?
The unofficial New England consists of a red background with a small square-shaped white box in the upper-left corner. Within this white box is a pine tree.
The pine tree is a universal symbol of New England. It symbolizes the region’s hardiness and ability to withstand the cold climate. For centuries, flags flown throughout New England have incorporated the pine tree in their design. The current unofficial New England flag continues to use a pine tree in its design as well.
There are several variants of the unofficial New England flag, including a blue ensign variant and a red ensign variant. They feature the same basic design consisting of a red background and a small pine tree-enclosed box in the upper-left corner.
The difference is that the blue ensign variant has six stars in a circle. These stars represent the states of New England. New England consists of six states, so each star represents one of the region’s states. The red ensign variant doesn’t have any stars on it.
Origins of the Unofficial New Flag
New England has used many unofficial flags throughout its history. The current version, though, is said to have originated from a flag used by Massachusetts Navy ships during the 1700s. Many of these Navy ships featured a flag with a pine tree and the phrase “Appeal to Heaven” on a white background. The flag was also flown by some of the early American Revolutionaries, including George Washington’s army in the Siege of Boston.