Pre Revolution Colony/State flags

Discussion in 'American Flag History' started by Union Jack, Jul 23, 2017.

  1. Union Jack

    Union Jack Member

    I have just watched an old film (1985) titled Revolution starring Al Pachino and Donald Sutherland which depicts the American Revolution. In the film I noticed the change in the Continental flag from the Union flag in the canton to the Stars on a blue field. There are other Colonial flags being displayed but I didn't see any flags that represented the individual Colony's that fought. My question is... did each individual Colony have their own individual flag prior to the Revolution or were they as a consequence?

    UJ
     
  2. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    did each individual Colony have their own individual flag prior to the Revolution or were they as a consequence?

    The quick answer is that the colonies did not have individual flags. One of the states (Massachusetts) adopted a flag during the Revolution, and a couple of others used various quasi-official flags. I wrote a short paper a while back about the state naval flags, which is online here:
    http://nava.org/digital-library/raven/Raven_v17_2010_p023-046.pdf

    The oldest current state flags date from the beginning of the Civil War, when several southern states adopted them as they seceded. (Texas already had one because it had formerly been an independent nation.) Many states had military colors for their regiments that participated in the Mexican and Civil Wars, and some of those morphed into state flags. The standard US military color was blue with the US arms, and the states tended to copy that pattern using the state arms or seals. That's why so many of the current state flags are blue "seals on bedsheets."
     
  3. Union Jack

    Union Jack Member

    Thanks Peter for your response and the snippet of your paper. I thought there would have been more pre revolutionary flags to represent the original colonies.

    UJ
     
  4. Peter, was the flag of New England, red field, pine tree on white canton, ever used by rebels prior to the battle of Bunker Hill?
     
  5. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    was the flag of New England, red field, pine tree on white canton, ever used by rebels prior to the battle of Bunker Hill?

    That flag showed up in a few flag charts as the "flag of New England" prior to the creation of the union version of the Red Ensign in 1707. I have not run across any example of its actual use. It's become associated with Bunker Hull because of the Trumbull painting, but it appears that this was probably artistic license. NAVA actually did a study back in the 1970s (I think), which concluded that the rebels probably did not carry any flags at Bunker Hill.
     

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