A Visual History Of The American Flag

Let’s just say it like it is: every able-bodied person on Earth recognizes the American flag; it’s simply the way it is. Old Glory has been flown in all corners, and even on the Moon, as a symbol of American prowess and ingenuity. But it didn’t always carry the stars and stripes as we know it. In fact, it’s gone through a whole mess of funky iterations. 

So to get you feeling as patriotic as possible in the lead up to America’s birthday, the talented team at Pop Chart Lab designed a poster with a visual history of our Nation’s banner through the years. Here’s a closer look.

The poster illustrates the evolution of the stars and stripes from 1767 through the present day, and pulls back the curtain on quite a few unexpected specimens.

For one, the emblem wasn’t always a signal of unity. In fact, the poster is broken up into sections, covering those that represented the British colonies (what up, "Don’t Tread On Me"?), some outliers from early fortified forts and sovereign states (colors!?!), and what seems like a fresh iteration every time a new state was integrated. (So. Many. Stars.)

Joe McGauley is a senior editor at Supercompressor. And yes, he knows how to properly fold the flag.