Why horizontal stipes?

Discussion in 'American Flag History' started by jasymia, Jun 7, 2018.

  1. jasymia

    jasymia New Member

    Why are the stripes oriented horizontally instead of e.g. vertically/diagonally?
     
  2. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Hi Jasymia, welcome to the forum!

    The short answer is that we don't know. The stripes first appeared on the "Continental Colors" in 1775, but we don't know who designed it or what his/her reasoning was for the design. Other striped flags existed in the 18th century, and my impression is that horizontal stripes were more common. That point could use some more research, however.
     
  3. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

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    Peter,

    Didn't the "East India Company" have a company Flag that was similar to the colonies' "Continental Colors" (AKA : "Grand Union") Flag starting back sometime in the mid-1600's?

    Just Wondering . . .


    Robin Hickman
    "Your Friendly Neighborhood Flag Man"
    Eugene, Oregon, USA.
    …..
     
  4. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Didn't the "East India Company" have a company Flag that was similar to the colonies' "Continental Colors"

    Yes, it did, and there's a whole body of speculation (not very convincing, IMO) about whether there was any relation between the EIC flag and the Continental Colors. Unfortunately, the origin of the EIC flag is also lost in the mists of history. The most reasonable idea is that the EIC copied a design used by the Portuguese in India, which had green and white horizontal stripes.

    BTW, the name "Grand Union" was not used during the 18th century, but was accidentally invented by 19th century historians. During the Revolution, it was most commonly called the Continental Colors or the Continental Flag.

    Peter A.
     
  5. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

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    Hi, Peter!

    Thank You for the Flag History lesson. I have always considered the two different terms as being almost interchangeable, but both relating to ONE Flag. In fact, I almost always use both terms in the same sentence, usually using one name and then adding the other name right after it in parenthesis, so there's be no mistake as to which Flag I was referring to. And... I've switched back and forth with no apparent rhyme or reason. It would be G.U. (C.C.) one time, and then C.C. (G.U.) the next.

    So... If I'm understanding you correctly, the "preferred" term for the Flag in question is, "Continental Colors" (or "Flag") and NOT "Grand Union". It's going to be hard for me to give up "Grand Union" because it is SO much easier (and faster) to type than "Continental Colors"... If you know what I mean.

    Again, Thank you!

    P1210317.JPG


    Robin Hickman
    "Your Friendly Neighborhood Continental Flag Man"
    Eugene, Oregon, USA.
    …..
     
  6. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    If I'm understanding you correctly, the "preferred" term for the Flag in question is, "Continental Colors" (or "Flag") and NOT "Grand Union".

    My only point was that the term "Grand Union" was an accidental 19th-century creation, and was not used during the time that the flag was used. It does seem to be the most widely used name nowadays.
     
  7. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    …..

    OH. . . . OK !!!

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