The United States

flag of the United States of America
Established July 4, 1776

With much of the evidence lost to history, historians disagree on which individuals designed and constructed early versions of the United States flag.

Notably, Francis Hopkinson claimed he designed the first flag and Betsy Ross, because of her grandson, has been credited with constructing it. Historians remain skeptical.

The flag has seen 27 different versions (and countless variations) since its official adoption June 14, 1777.

As new states joined, corresponding stars were added to the flag. With few specifications in place, a variety of creative star arrangements were produced. The orderly pattern of offset rows wasn’t standardized until 1959.

The current 50-star flag was adopted July 4, 1960.


The U.S. flag features thirteen horizontal stripes of alternating red and white, seven red and six white.

In the upper hoist canton is a union of blue with fifty white five-pointed stars arranged in nine horizontal offset rows.

flag of The United States


  • fifty stars

    50 stars

    the fifty states of the Union

  • thirteen horizontal stripes

    13 stripes

    the original thirteen colonies


The official colors of the flag are white, “Old Glory Red” and “Old Glory Blue.”

There are a lot of varying color values in use due to the difficulty of interpreting Cable colors for digital screens.

The values here are provided by the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Embassy in the U.K.

Red represents valor and bravery, white symbolizes purity and innocence, and the blue stands for vigilance, perseverance, and justice.

Cable No. 70180 Old Glory Red
PMS 193C
Cable No. 70001 White
Pantone White
Cable No. 70075 Old Glory Blue
PMS 282c


U.S. Executive Order 10834 specifies proportions for the flag, as recreated here.

The U.S. flag has a proportion of 1:1.9.

Each stripe is 1/13 the width of the hoist and each star is 4/5 the width of a stripe.

The union is the width of seven stripes and 2/5 the length of the fly.

construction sheet for the flag of The United States

Previous iterations

For years every flag was constructed by hand. Because there were no specifications for dimension, color, or star arrangement, the flag saw a plethora of one-off variations. Shown here is a timeline of each official iteration (including notable variations).

  • Pre–1777

    Continential Colors

  • 1777–1795

    13 stars

    The original 13 colonies: Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island
  • Francis Hopkinson flag

    13-star variant
  • Betsy Ross flag

    13-star variant
  • Cowpens flag

    13-star variant
  • 1795–1818

    15 stars, 15 stripes

    Vermont, Kentucky
  • Star-Spangled Banner

    15-star variant that inspired Francis Scott Key’s “Defence of Fort M'Henry”
  • 1818–1819

    20 stars, 13 stripes

    Tennessee, Ohio, Louisiana, Indiana, Mississippi
  • Great Star flag

    20-star variant
  • 1819–1820

    21 stars

  • 1820–1822

    23 stars

    Alabama, Maine
  • 1822–1836

    24 stars

  • 1836–1837

    25 stars

  • 1837–1845

    26 stars

  • Great Star flag

    26-star variant
  • 1845–1846

    27 stars

  • 1846–1847

    28 stars

  • 1847–1848

    29 stars

  • Diamond flag

    29-star variant
  • 1848–1851

    30 stars

  • 1851–1858

    31 stars

  • 1858–1859

    32 stars

  • 1859–1861

    33 stars

  • Fort Sumter flag

    33-star variant
  • Great Star flag

    33-star variant
  • Variation

    33-star variant
  • 1861–1863

    34 stars

  • Star flag

    34-star variant
  • 1863–1865

    35 stars

    West Virginia
  • Medallion flag

    35-star variant
  • 1865–1867

    36 stars

  • Wagon Wheel flag

    36-star variant
  • 1867–1877

    37 stars

  • Variation

    37-star variant
  • Medallion Centennial flag

    37-star variant
  • 1877–1890

    38 stars

  • Concentric circles

    38-star variant
  • 1890–1891

    43 stars

    North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, Idaho
  • 1891–1896

    44 stars

  • 1896–1908

    45 stars

  • 1908–1912

    46 stars

  • 1912–1959

    48 stars

    New Mexico, Arizona
  • 1959–1960

    49 stars

  • 1960–Present

    50 stars