This was the unofficial American national flag when the Colonies declared independence on July 4th, 1776. It continued to be so until the Continental Congress authorized the Stars and Stripes on 14 June 1777. George Washington called it the “Great Union Flag” in one of his letters, but today we know it best as the “Grand Old Union Flag.” It is also known as the Continental Colors.
We know this flag was first flown by the Continental Navy on ships of the Delaware River, and John Paul Jones wrote that he was the first one to raise it on an American vessel – the Alfred on 3 December 1775.
It was also famously raised on the liberty pole of Prospect Hill, near Washington’s headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
You can see the design of the flag of Great Britain in the upper left corner. It is worth noting that this is different from the United Kingdom flag of today, which was modified when Northern Ireland joined with Great Britain.
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