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Source: Radio One Staff / Radio One Staff

A Star for Every Colony

There have been 27 official versions of the American flag, starting with the first one in 1777 which displayed 13 stripes and 13 stars (for the 13 original colonies). When Kentucky and Vermont joined the union, the flag took on two more stars, so that from 1795 to 1818, 15 stripes and 15 stars graced the flag. It was this version of the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to compose “The Star-Spangled Banner,” during the battle at Fort McHenry. Anticipating a crowded field of stripes, lawmakers decided to honor each new state with a star, and leave the stripes at 13, after 1818.

Why Red, White & Blue?

Historians aren’t sure why the U.S. flag was designed in red, white, and blue, but if you’re wondering what it means, look to another great American symbol: the Great Seal of the United States. The colors of the Great Seal, which was created in 1785 (two years after the original flag design), were adopted from the American flag, according to U.S. Government documents. Consequently, the significance of the colors was retrofitted for the flag from the explanation for the seal given by Charles Thomson, the Secretary of Congress in 1782:

“White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valour, and Blue, the colour of the Chief, signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice.”

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8 Super Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About The American Flag  was originally published on