Indian Connection in the American Flag

A recent search on Buckminster Fuller brought out a completely new fact to me. On further search on that topic on Google, and I realized that it is a little known piece of trivia.

The origins of the US Flag, the Stars and Stripes has a connection to India.

In this excerpt from R. Buckminster Fuller’s _Critical Path_(Copyright 1981 by R. Buckminster Fuller pp. xxi to xxii), Fuller writes

By pure chance I happened to uncover this popularly unknown episode of American history. Commissioned in 1970 by the Indian government to design new airports in Bombay, New Delhi, and Madras, I was visiting the grand palace of the British fortress in Madras, where the English first established themselves in India in 1600. There I saw a picture of Queen Elizabeth I and the flag of the East India Company of 1600 A.D., with its thirteen red and white horizontal stripes and its superimposed crosses in the upper corner. What astonished me was that this flag (which seemed to be the American flag) was apparently being used in 1600 A.D., 175 years before the American RevolutiOn Displayed on the stairway landing wall together with the portrait of Queen Elizabeth I painted on canvas, the flag was paint- ed on the wall itself, as was the seal of the East India Company.

This is the flag that Buckminster Fuller is talking about.

More on this flag here and here

Fuller goes on to layout the possible cause for the similarity between the latter day Stars and Stripes.

The supreme leaders of the American Revolution were of the southern type-George WashingtOn and Thomas Jefferson Both were great land- owners with direct royal grants for their lands, in contradistinction to the relatively meager individual landholdings of the individual northern Puritan colonists.

This is the current day Stars and Stripes and I must say that the similarity is really striking.


  1. Atanu Dey October 18, 2005

    But shouldn’t that be the “British connection to the American flag” rather than the Indian connection?

  2. Melody October 18, 2005

    Cute… though I don’t think the Americans would see it quite that way! Hmmm…

  3. Melody October 18, 2005

    Btw, nice place you have here, will link!



  4. arZan October 18, 2005

    Atanu….i was making a play on the East “India” part.

    Melody, I am sure the americans dont see it that way…bcos for them its their way or the highway :):) And thanks for linking to me.

  5. B Larry November 21, 2005

    That’s merely speculation. Stripes on flags are extremely common. What happened to the fact that the stripes on the American flag represent the orignal 13 colonies? Buckminister Fullers opinion is not “fact” it just speculation.
    Here are some facts on the American flag.

  6. arZan November 21, 2005

    B Larry

    Whatever the reasoning, the fact remains that the East India Company pre-dated any US flag by 175+ years.

    Now, it is no coincidence that the British ruled the US for a long time during that time.

    So when it came time to look for a new US flag, the old forgotten one seemed very easy to use….especially as the original one had 13 stripes too, which coincidentally was also the number of colonies present.

    So u get what I mean….yes there are too many coincidences.

    U cant write it off as speculation. In that same vein, I could say that the website you sent me to, is also speculation….its someones creation and they can write or put up whatever they want !!

  7. Ted Theodore Logan February 27, 2006

    Hey everyone. That is not the flag Bucky mentioned in The Critical Path. The flag in Madras bore a much closer resemblance than the one above (note that in his book he says the flag had “two superimposed crosses”). I’ve looked online and can’t find an image of it anywhere.

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