Waving the Flag…

Victoria here.  I recently visited Fort McHenry in Baltimore, MD, where after a bombardment by the British Navy in 1814, American writer Francis Scott Key (1779–1843) wrote the words to the Star Spangled Banner, which became the American national anthem.

Ft.  McHenry’s 15-star and stripe flag of 1814 (in use from 1795-1818)
Now, the flag of the USA has thirteen red and white stripes, representing the original 13 British colonies, and fifty stars, representing the 50 states of the union.

The Grand Union Flag was used from December 1775 to June 1777, incorporating the thirteen stripes for the 13 colonies and the British Union Jack.

Later there were several versions of the flag with thirteen red and white stripes and thirteen stars on a  the latter either on a blue field in rows or in a circle.

Often called the Betsy Ross Flag

There have been many, many U.S. flags over the years. Then I got to wondering where the Maryland State Flag came from, as it has a quite unique design.  Turns out it is based on the heraldic arms of the founding family of the colony of Maryland, the Calverts, Barons Baltimore, incorporating the arms of the Crossland family as well. According to Wikipedia, it is the only state flag that is based on English heraldry.


Maryland flag
However, the Flag of the District of Columbia, is based on the family crest of the Washington family of County Durham, England,  originating in the 12th century.
District of Columbia Flag, adopted in 1938

Below the arms of the Washington Family, in a 14th C. window of the Selby Abbey in Yorkshire.

Who knew???


3 thoughts on “Waving the Flag…”

  1. So, it takes a blogger from England to educate us Yanks on our own history! I was aware of the background on the Maryland flag but did not know about the D.C. flag being based on the Washington Coat of Arms. Now, I'd love to know the significance of THOSE stars and stripes. . .Thanks for the lesson.

  2. Did we not begin to add stripes for each new state, up to 15 and then realize that no, the number will be so large that…

    Many people do not realize that several of the original colonies' grants were of land from the Atlantic to Pacific and so all the states east of PA (roughly) were carved out of territory that technically belonged to the original colonies.

    And Cynthia, these bloggers are Americans who just love Britain!

  3. Yes, GSGreatEscaper, you are right about the stripes and about Victoria and Kristine being US natives, of Illinois and New Jersey, respectively. Both are in Florida — for the moment at least. Cynthia, we take your impression of us as British as a real compliment! We are US patriots with a deep adoration for everything British. Seems to work for us and lots of others as well.
    And GSGreatEscaper is also right about the land grants to colonies stretching into the unknown originally. Then after the Louisiana Purchase of all that land from France, the lines were even more complex.

    Thanks for your comments!

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