What Is the Grand Union Flag?

When shopping for an American flag, you may come across the Grand Union flag. Also known as the Continental Colors flag, as well as the Cambridge flag, it’s regarded as the first official flag of the United States. Long before the modern-day American flag was invented, the United States has the Grand Union flag. What is the Grand Union flag exactly?

About the Grand Union Flag

The Grand Union flag is an early version of the modern-day American flag. It features 13 horizontal stripes in alternating red and white colors that, like the modern-day American flag, represent the original 13 colonies. Rather than 50 stars,  however, the Grand Union flag features the flag of Great Britain in the upper-left corner. Aside from this nuance, the Grand Union flag is pretty much the same as the American flag. The only difference is that the modern-day American flag features 50 stars in the upper-left corner, whereas the Grand Union flag features the flag of Great Britain in the upper-left corner.

History of the Grand Union Flag

The Grand Union flag has origins dating back to the American Revolutionary War. In 1775, the Second Continental Congress sought designs for an official flag to represent the 13 colonies. Just a few years later, the Grand Union flag was used on naval bases and military garrisons.

While historians agree that the Grand Union flag emerged during the American Revolutionary, no one knows who exactly designed it. Regardless, the Grand Union flag was probably the first official American flag. It ultimately paved the way for other designs, including the modern-day American flag consisting of 13 stripes and 50 stars.

Facts About the Grand Union Flag

Throughout its history, the Grand Union flag has been given many nicknames. Along with Continental Colors flag and the Cambridge flag, common nicknames for the Grand Union flag include the First Navy Ensign flag and the Congress. It wasn’t until the 19th century, in fact, when the nickname the “Grand Union flag” emerged.

Being that it features the flag of Great Britain in the upper-left corner, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that the Grand Union flag didn’t last very long. The Flag Act of 1777, in fact, authorized a new version of the American flag. The new version featured stars in the upper-left corner rather than the flag of Great Britain.

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