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Grand Union Flag

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

History of the Grand Union Flag

The Grand Union Flag was the first national flag of the United States of America. The design features 13 alternating horizontal red and white stripes representing the 13 original colonies and includes a canton in the upper hoist-side corner with the British Flag from the time.

At the start of the Revolutionary War in 1775, the Second Continental Congress served as the make-shift government of the thirteen colonies. Though the first battles of the Revolutionary War were fought by local militias, after the war had broken out, Congress was called upon to take control of the war effort and create the formal military forces of the Continental Army, Continental Navy, and Continental Marines.

Congress was also charged with creating a flag to represent the new nation known as The United Colonies who was fighting for its independence. Though individual states had their own flags, there was no national flag yet. The design chosen was the Grand Union Flag which served as a way of symbolizing American Loyalty to the British, as well as the goal of self governance. One curious point about the flag is that is virtually identical to the flag of the British East India Company which was in use since 1701; There is some debate about whether this was intentional or a mere coincidence. Though the flag is referred to as the Grand Union Flag today, at the time, it was called, "The Continental Colors."

The Grand Union Flag was first hoisted by Naval Commander John Paul Jones on his ship, the USS Alfred in Philadelphia on December 3, 1775, and was flown for the first time on land four weeks later. It is believed that George Washington raised the flag on New Year's Day 1776, at Prospect Hill in Boston. Signaling a new year and a new era. The flag was flown as a clear message to the British that a new country had been born. This design served as the national flag until congress passed The Flag Act of 1777, which created the 13-star American Flag. The Grand Union Flag was flown at the signing of the Declaration of Independence at Independence Hall in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776.

It is not known precisely who created the first Grand Union Flag, however, some believe the flag was created by Margaret Manny, a Philadelphia-based hat-maker. Philadelphia was the capital city of the new nation and the location of many important politicians and political meetings. In keeping with this, many craftspeople turned their hands to making flags to meet the demands of the new country. The evidence suggests that Manny received fabric from James Wharton which was charged to the account of the USS Alfred around the same time that the first Grand Union Flag was flown on the USS Alfred.

Today, the Grand Union Flag is flown to pay homage to our nation's history and to serve as a symbol of the determination and perseverance of the Americans during the Revolutionary War.