The origins of the Stars and Stripes have become part of
American folklore. It is widely believed that Betsy Ross made
the first American flag. However, various towns in colonial
America have claimed to be the birthplace of the Stars and
We know that on June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress
adopted the Stars and Stripes as the official flag for the
United States of America.
The Declaration of Independence made this resolution
necessary. Previously, each colony had their own flag, which
they flew on colonial vessels. England considered these armed
vessels pirate ships and hanged their crews when they were
The American flag was designed to represent the new union
of the thirteen original states: it would have thirteen
stripes, alternate red and white, and thirteen stars, white
on a blue field.
One of the first flags had the stars arranged in a circle,
based on the idea that all colonies were equal. The thirteen
stripes, resting side by side, represented the struggle for
independence; red stood for valor, white signified purity
and blue represented loyalty.
In 1818, after a few design changes, the United States
Congress decided to retain the flag's original thirteen
stripes and add new stars to reflect each new state that
entered the union.
Since then, Americans have fought for and died to preserve
the ideals of democracy represented by the flag.