Bunker Hill Flag
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The flag is based on the red naval ensign or blue naval ensign of the Royal Navy, which featured the cross of St. George in the canton. The ensign was used at both the Jamestown and Plymouth colonies. Puritans in New England, led by Roger Williams, objected to the use of a Christian cross on their flag, and for a time flew a red flag with a plain white canton. The new flag first appeared in 1634 in Salem, but some considered it to be an act of rebellion against England. Opinion was sought from England, and the cross was retained on crown property, such as Castle Island. The cross-less flags became popular in New England, and militia companies designed unique patterns on their flags. In 1665, the Royal Commissioners recommended that all ships and militia companies be ordered to fly "the true colors of England, by which they may be known to be his majesties legitimate subjects." Nevertheless, some cross-less flags were still in use as late as 1680. New Englanders continued to look for ways to represent their country, however. In 1684, the town of Newbury, Massachusetts, though retaining the Cross of St George, changed to a green flag. A pine tree was added to some flags during the reign of King James II, possibly inspired by the pine-tree shilling which was minted in Massachusetts. In 1707, a proclamation was issued that all merchant vessels fly the red ensign with the British Union Flag in the canton. To insure compliance, a woodcut was published in the Boston News-Letter on 26 January 1707- the first illustration printed in an American newspaper for this flag.

  • Item #: his05

Bunker Hill Flag

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