Grand Union Flag 3′ x 2′ Flag


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Grand Union Flag

Not to be confused with the Union Flag, which is the flag of the United Kingdom, or the Flag of the East India Company.

The "Grand Union Flag" (also known as the "Continental Colors", the "Congress Flag", the "Cambridge Flag", and the "First Navy Ensign") is considered to be the first national flag of the United States of America.

Like the current U.S. flag, the Grand Union Flag has 13 alternating red and white stripes, representative of the Thirteen Colonies. The upper inner corner, or canton, featured the flag of the Kingdom of Great Britain, the country of which the colonies were the subjects.

By the end of 1775, during the first year of the American Revolutionary War, the Second Continental Congress operated as a de facto war government authorizing the creation of the Continental Army, the Continental Navy, and even a small contingent of Continental Marines. A new flag was needed to represent the Congress and the United Colonies with a banner distinct from the British Red Ensign flown from civilian and merchant vessels, the White Ensign of the British Royal Navy, and the Flag of Great Britain carried on land by the British army. The emerging states had been using their own independent flags, with Massachusetts using the Taunton Flag, and New York using the George Rex Flag, prior to the adoption of united colors.

Americans first hoisted the Colors on the colonial warship Alfred, in the harbor on the western shore of the Delaware River at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 3, 1775, by newly appointed Lieutenant John Paul Jones of the formative Continental Navy. The event had been documented in letters to Congress and in eyewitness accounts. The flag was used by the Continental Army forces as both a naval ensign and garrison flag throughout 1776 and early 1777.

It is not known for certain when or by whom the design of the Continental Colors was created, but the flag could easily be produced by sewing white stripes onto the British Red Ensigns. The "Alfred" flag has been credited to Margaret Manny.

It was widely believed that the flag was raised by George Washington's army on New Year's Day, 1776, at Prospect Hill in Charlestown (now part of Somerville), near his headquarters at Cambridge, Massachusetts, (across the Charles River to the north from Boston), which was then surrounding and laying siege to the British forces then occupying the city, and that the flag was interpreted by British military observers in the city under commanding General Thomas Gage, as a sign of surrender. Some scholars dispute the traditional account and conclude that the flag raised at Prospect Hill was probably the flag of Great Britain, though subsequent research supports the contrary.

The flag has had several names, at least five of which have been popularly remembered. The more recent moniker, "Grand Union Flag", was first applied in the 19th-century Reconstruction era by George Henry Preble, in his 1872 History of the American Flag.

The design of the Colors is strikingly similar to the flag of the British East India Company (EIC). Indeed, certain EIC designs in use since 1707 (when the canton was changed from the flag of England to that of the flag of Great Britain) were nearly identical, but the number of stripes varied from 9 to 15. That EIC flags could have been known by the American colonists has been the basis of a theory of the origin of the national flag's design.

Use of the flag of Great Britain in the canton led vexillologist Nick Groom to propose the theory that the Grand Union was adopted by George Washington's army as a protest against the rule of the British Parliament but a profession of continued loyalty towards King George III.

The Grand Union became obsolete following the passing of the Flag Act of 1777 by the Continental Congress which authorized a new official national flag of a design similar to that of the Colors, with thirteen stars (representing the thirteen States) on a field of blue replacing the flag of Great Britain in the canton. The resolution describes only "a new constellation" for the arrangement of the white stars in the blue canton so a number of designs were later interpreted and made with a circle of equal stars, another circle with one star in the center, and various designs of even or alternate horizontal rows of stars, even the "Bennington flag" from Bennington, Vermont which had the number "76" surmounted by an arch of 13 stars, later also becoming known in 1976 as the "Bicentennial Flag".

The combined crosses in the flag of Great Britain symbolized the union of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland. The symbolism of a union of equal parts was retained in the new U.S. flag, as described in the Flag Resolution of June 14, 1777 (later celebrated in U.S. culture and history as "Flag Day").

Our Flags are high quality 4 oz polyester and printed with inks that are UV stable to give you several years of enjoyment. Flags should however be taken down before high winds or storms. We know that our flags are more expensive than most, but the quality is really worth it.


  • 4 oz. Polyester flag material
  • High resolution digitally printed at 720 x 720
  • Dye sublimation
  • Scratch resistant
  • Washable
Optional Pole and Bracket:

The Flag Pole and Bracket Kit is perfect for those wishing to display their Custom Pole Flag. Buy the pole or the bracket separately, or as a set.

The bracket has two positions for displaying the pole.

The tangle-free pole has a top section that spins on ball bearings, this will increase the life of your flag. Also included are clips to secure the flag into place and a plastic ring for use with grommets. Recommended for 2x3 or 3x5 flags.

  • 2 Piece - 74.5 Aluminum Pole with Chrome Ball
  • Powder coated white flag bracket

Additional information

Pole Yes/No

Flag with Pole, Flag Only


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