Flags over Kentucky

Last revised: 24 August 2021

Five Flags have flown over Kentucky during its formation:


The King’s Colors 1606.

SixFlagweb2_+kings_colors (Prior to the accession of James I in 1603, each of the British kingdoms has its own flags. The English flag was the cross of St. George, a red cross on a white field. The Scottish colors were the cross of St. Andrew, a white X shaped cross on a blue field. In 1606 King James ordered the two combined to form the “King’s Colors.” This was the flag which was most often seen in the English speaking colonies. It was not until 1801 that the red X shaped cross of St. Patrick was added, to form the Grand Union flag of today.)

France claimed Kentucky from about 1643 until 1744, then tried to claim it again in 1749 which was not settled until the end of the French and Indian wars in 1763.

(The White French flag with golden fleuers de-lis was the banner of the French monarchy. It flew over areas claimed by France, including the Ohio valley, and was the flag of our most significant ally during the War for American Independence.) SixFlagweb3_+fr-mr

Spain – Kentucky was claimed by Hernando de Soto in 1539 until 1763.

_wsb_350x233_SixFlagweb4_castillaYleon (Modern Spain was formed by the union of the Kingdom of Aragon of King Ferdinand and the Kingdom of Castile and Leon of Queen Isabella, but it was only Isabella who sponsored the voyages of Christopher Columbus, and only Castile and Leon which claimed sovereignty over the New World. This flag combines the castles of Castile with the lions of Leon.)

Below are The United States flags from June 14, 1777 until present, starting with the “Betsy  Ross” (Upper left ) and the Congressman Francis Hopkinson (Upper Right) which is believed to be the original 13 stars and stripes flag. From the time of our first flag with 13 stripes and 13 stars, approved by the first Flag Act on June 14, 1777, to the current flag, with 50 stars approved on July 4, 1960, the design has changed several times to incorporate stars for the new states. The second Flag Act was approved on January 13,1794 with the addition of Vermont in 1791 and Kentucky in 1792 with 15 stars and 15 stripes. The flag which flew over Fort McHenry during the British bombardment in 1814 was known as the Kentucky flag. This 15 star, 15 stripe flag called “Old Glory”, (Lower left) had not been changed since 1794, although several additional states had been admitted since then. The third Flag Act occurred on April 4,1818 and reduced the number of stripes back to 13 to honor the 13 original colonies. The period from 1960 to the present is the longest period that our nation’s flag has remained unchanged. And last but not least, our current American Flag with 50 stars and 13 stripes. (Lower right)

betsyross 13starSixFlagweb5_starspangledPasted Graphic

The Kentucky Flag, designed and adopted in 1918. During the Civil War there was a short period duing which it was in-determinant as to whether it would be North or South but the Union Flag won out and was Kentucky’s unofficial flag until the 1918 flag was adopted.