Flag Timeline

1776 January 1 — The Grand Union flag is displayed on Prospect Hill. It has 13 alternate red and white stripes and the British Union Jack in the upper left-hand corner (the canton).
1776 May — Betsy Ross reports that she sewed the first American flag
1777 June 14 — Continental Congress adopts the following: Resolved: that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.(stars represent Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island)
1787 Captain Robert Gray carries the flag around the world on his sailing vessel (around the tip of South America, to China, and beyond). He discovered a great river and named it after his boat The Columbia. His discovery was the basis of America’s claim to the Oregon Territory.
1795 Flag with 15 stars and 15 stripes (Vermont, Kentucky)
1814 September 14 — Francis Scott Key writes “The Star-Spangled Banner.” It officially becomes the national anthem in 1931.
1818 Flag with 20 stars and 13 stripes (it remains at 13 hereafter) (Tennessee, Ohio, Louisiana, Indiana, Mississippi)
1819 Flag with 21 stars (Illinois)
1820 Flag with 23 stars (Alabama, Maine)
first flag on Pikes Peak
1822 Flag with 24 stars (Missouri)
1836 Flag with 25 stars (Arkansas)
1837 Flag with 26 stars (Michigan)
1845 Flag with 27 stars (Florida)
1846 Flag with 28 stars (Texas)
1847 Flag with 29 stars (Iowa)
1848 Flag with 30 stars (Wisconsin)
1851 Flag with 31 stars (California)
1858 Flag with 32 stars (Minnesota)
1859 Flag with 33 stars (Oregon)
1861 Flag with 34 stars; (Kansas)
first Confederate Flag (Stars and Bars) adopted in Montgomery, Alabama
1863 Flag with 35 stars (West Virginia)
1865 Flag with 36 stars (Nevada)
1867 Flag with 37 stars (Nebraska)
1869 First flag on a postage stamp
1877 Flag with 38 stars (Colorado)
1890 Flag with 43 stars (North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, Idaho)
1891 Flag with 44 stars (Wyoming)
1892 “Pledge of Allegiance” first published in a magazine called “The Youth’s Companion,” written by Francis Bellamy. The words, “under God” were added on June 14, 1954.
1896 Flag with 45 stars (Utah)
1908 Flag with 46 stars (Oklahoma)
1909 Robert Peary places the flag his wife sewed atop the North Pole. He left pieces of another flag along the way. He was never censored for his action.
1912 Flag with 48 stars (New Mexico, Arizona)
1945 The flag that flew over Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, is flown over the White House on August 14, when the Japanese accepted surrender terms.
1949 August 3 — Truman signs bill requesting the President call for Flag Day (June 14) observance each year by proclamation.
1959 Flag with 49 stars (Alaska)
1960 Flag with 50 stars (Hawaii)
1963 Flag placed on top of Mount Everest by Barry Bishop.
1969 July 20 — The American flag is placed on the moon by Neil Armstrong.
1995 December 12 — The Flag Desecration Constitutional Amendment is narrowly defeated in the Senate. The Amendment to the Constitution would make burning the flag a punishable crime.