The Betsy Ross flag is an early design of the flag of the United States, popularly attributed to Betsy Ross, using the common motifs of alternating red-and-white striped field with five-pointed stars in a blue canton. The flag was designed during the American Revolution and features 13 stars to represent the original 13 colonies. The distinctive feature of the Ross flag is the arrangement of the stars in a circle.
Although the Betsy Ross story is accepted by most Americans, some flag historians and revisionists do not accept the Betsy Ross design as the first American flag. According to the traditional account, the original flag was made in June 1776, when a small committee— including George Washington, Robert Morris and relative George Ross— visited Betsy and discussed the need for a new American flag. Betsy accepted the job to manufacture the flag, altering the committee’s design by replacing the six-pointed stars with five-pointed stars.
While the Betsy Ross legend is questionable, the flag design is known to have been in use by 1777; Alfred B. Street described it at the surrender of General Burgoyne and understood the circle of stars to represent equality among the American states. It is one of the oldest versions of U.S. flags known to exist; while it is not the oldest surviving flag artifact in cloth form, its likeness appears on older physical relics, namely, the contemporary battlefield paintings by John Trumbull and Charles Willson Peale. They depict the circular star arrangement being flown from ship masts and many other places, and thus provide the first known historical documentation of the flag’s appearance.
The Betsy Ross design of 13-star US flags has been featured in many popular artworks (sometimes inaccurately, as in Washington Crossing the Delaware) and films, such as the 1960 version of Pollyanna. The flag continues to be one of the most popular symbols of the American Revolution.
Text source: Wikipedia.com