Gadsden Flag

Date: 1776

A coiled rattlesnake on a yellow background. (R1)
The words "Dont Tread On Me" as a motto. (the word "dont" did not contain the apostrophe in early revolutionary flags)

Benjamin Franklin first utilized a curved rattlesnake as an emblem for America on the masthead of his famous "Gazette" in 1754. Franklin showed a snake cut into pieces, each of which was identified with the initials of a state. The caption underneath was "Join or Die" suggesting that the colonies must work together or fail.

This flag is sometimes called the Gadsden flag. Col. Christopher Gadsden his purported to have designed the flag and presented it to the Continental Congress. Esek Hopkins, commander of the Revolutionary Navy, carried this flag when his ships put to sea for the first time in February of 1776.