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Gadsden Flag

Shop for authentic replica Gadsden flags. Our Gadsden flags are constructed of durable nylon with a canvas heading and offered in five sizes.

History of the Gadsden Flag

The Gadsden Flag is a striking emblem of US independence with roots in the American Revolutionary War. It consists of a bright yellow background with a coiled rattlesnake on green grass. Underneath this motif are the words "Don't Tread on Me." Like the Culpepper Flag and others adopted during the Continental wars against European colonizers, The Gadsden Flag has seen something of a resurgence in popularity in recent years.

The Gadsden Flag has particular meaning for the Marine Corps. It was designed by Christopher Gadsden, who was an early founder of marine corps in the Continental Navy. This navy was established by George Washington, as a means of defeating colonial powers, especially the United Kingdom.

The British Royal Navy was the source of its empire's wealth, as it projected that country's power across the world. Washington realized the nascent United States would have to form its own navy to combat this power. Part of the formation of the Continental Navy were marine troops, which the British had deployed to great effect throughout their empire.

Gadsden represented South Carolina, a pivotal state in the American Revolution. He was instrumental in forming an early marine division, and sat on the Marine Committee, which organized the Navy's first missions. He presented the flag with the coiled snake design to Commodore Esek Hopkins, the first Commander in Chief of the Continental Navy.

Christopher Gadsden was also a leading civic, military, economic and political figure in Charleston, South Carolina. He had formed a regiment in the Continental Army which built a bridge to Sullivan's Island, home of Forth Moultrie. This was to give the garrison there a means of escape should the British overcome the fort. Gadsden paid for the bridge himself.

Although the first marine divisions were mustered in Philadelphia, they carried the rattlesnake flag with the Don't Tread on Me motto. As a Charleston man, Gadsden was well aware of the significance of the Timber Rattlesnake to Carolinians. He rightly believed that natives of his state would rally to such a flag eagerly.

Gadsden had served in the British Royal Navy, and been sent to school near Bristol, England. He understood naval management extremely well and was able to use this experience to great effect in forming the marine section of the Continental Navy. This wealth of experience made Christopher Gadsden an extremely important figure in the Revolutionary Wars.

The Gadsden Flag attracts admiration from many sections of society. Gadsden's appeal to South Carolinians, Marines, and patriots generally makes the Gadsden Flag one of the most popular among collectors. There are similar flags flown in other settings, but the flag's adoption by the Marine Corps gives it an extra level of popularity.

The flag has been the subject of some controversy, having become associated with certain political causes. This was never Gadsden's intention, however. He designed the flag specifically as a rallying call for help in defeating colonial forces. That that call was successful is a measure of the flag's importance.