The Grand Union flag, also known as the Cambridge Flag, the Congress Colors and the First Navy Ensign, consists of the Union Jack flag and thirteen alternating red and white stripes.
A committee was formed by the Second Continental Congress in 1775 to adopt a new flag design that would symbolize the unity of the original 13 American colonies. By using the Union Jack on the flag, the committee was attempting to repair and maintain the delicate relationship with Great Britain.
The committee consisted of Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Harrison and Thomas Lynch. They consulted with leaders from the Revolutionary and Colonial movements, therefore ensuring that a design acceptable by both would be designed.
The flag was designed by Francis Hopkinson - one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
Fun Fact: The Grand
Union may have been one of the
first examples of compromise in the development of a new
United States. Revolutionary leaders like
George Washington, as well as other colonial leaders
were consulted about the design.
This flag was first flown by the Colonial fleet on the Delaware River in late 1775. On December 3rd of that year, it was raised aboard Captain Esek Hopkin's flagship Alfred by John Paul Jones, who at that time was a young lieutenant in the Navy. This is why it is also referred to as the First Navy Ensign.
Prior to being flown by the Colonial fleet, this flag was first raised by General George Washington on January 1, 1776 at Prospect Hill in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
This flag was flown as the unofficial American flag until June 14, 1777, when the Continental Congress authorized the Stars and Stripes.
Fun Fact: The famous
"Washington crossing the Delaware"
painting by Emanuel Leutze in 1851 depicts the Stars
and Stripes flag, but it was most likely that he
was actually carrying the Grand Union
at the time of the crossing.