The US Flag is one of the most recognizable symbols in the world for Americans and non-Americans alike. This nation’s flag has been changed 27 times since its birth in 1777, and there have been 13 versions of “Old Glory” that have flown above our great nation so far. Take a look at the history of this symbol from the very beginning to the modern-day.
The First Flag of The United States
The Continental Congress requested that George Washington design a flag for the new nation, reminding him that it should feature a ” union of colors” to represent America’s unity. The first design was somewhat confusing in that it had thirteen stripes representing the 13 colonies, but also thirteen stars on the blue background representing the 13 states. The stars were arranged in a circle on the blue background, and they had an uneven number of points so that each star would be different from its adjacent stars.
The first version of what is now known as the US Flag was born on June 14th, 1777.
The Second Flag of The United States
The second version of the US Flag came about on May 1st, 1795. The number of stars and stripes was increased to 15 each, with that number representing all 15 states in the Union at the time. This flag only flew for 26 years until March 4th, 1818, by which time two new states had joined the Union.
The Third Flag of The United States
It wasn’t until 1818 that there was a change made to the flag again when President James Monroe signed into law that there would be thirteen stripes in honor of the 13 colonies, but 20 stars on each side of the canton. This number represented all 20 states in the Union at the time.
The Fourth Flag of The United States
The fourth version of the US Flag was born on July 4th, 1820. After two more states joined the Union, a new pattern emerged: stripes were added and removed as necessary to reflect changes in the number of states.
By this time each side of the flag had 13 stripes and 20 stars, one for each state in the Union.
The Fifth Flag of The United States
The fifth version of the US Flag was born on May 1st, 1858. The number of stripes and stars remained the same as it had been since 1818, but a new pattern emerged: there were seven red and six white alternating horizontal stripes and all twenty stars were arranged vertically in rows to form one large star.
However, this flag only lasted for 23 years until June 24th, 1877. This was the first time that more than 26 states joined the Union (there were 38 by this point) and more stripes needed to be added. The solution was pretty simple: instead of adding more stars, they simply changed how things looked by alternating the colors.
The Sixth Flag of The United States
The sixth version of the US Flag was born on July 4th, 1877. The number of stripes increased to 15 and they were red and white just like before, but this time there were six white stripes and nine red ones. Now that there were 38 states in the Union each stripe represented two states, which helped to create a more balanced look.
The Seventh Flag of The United States
The seventh version of the US Flag was born on July 4th, 1891. Since the number of states had increased to 46 at this point, there were 11 stripes and they were red and white again like before. The only difference was that they alternated solid and striped instead of striped and plain like before.
The Eighth Flag of The United States
The eighth version of the US Flag was born on July 4th, 1896. The number of stars increased from 38 to 48, and they were arranged in six rows of eight stars each. This made it look less like a star and more like a banner or military flag.
The Ninth Flag of The United States
The ninth version of the US Flag was born on July 4th, 1908. The number of stripes increased from 15 to 48, while the number of stars stayed at 48 in six rows of eight each. This version also made some minor color changes: a blue canton with a white star for each row was added next to the union and there were four white stripes among the red and white ones.
The Tenth Flag of The United States
The tenth version of the US Flag was born on July 4th, 1912. The number of stars increased again from 48 to 49 since Oklahoma had joined the Union two days before. A new pattern emerged for this flag too: there were nine red and four white alternating horizontal stripes with a blue canton next to the union that contained 50 stars.
The US Flag has a long and rich history, with many different versions and designs. It’s come to be a symbol of patriotism and freedom for all Americans. The next time you see the American flag, think about how it got there: through 26 years’ worth of revisions as America continued to grow in size and population. Today we have 50 stars representing each state. Each star is symbolic of those who’ve fought for our country; those past soldiers, those currently serving their country overseas now, and those yet to enlist or fight for this great nation that we live in today!