Texas has the distinction of being the only state that was ever a sovereign independent nation, recognized by the United States, Great Britain and the major European powers of the day. After several years of false starts and negotiations, Texas joined the union as the 28th state.
Originally it was planned to add a star and a stripe for each new state, but shortly after the War of 1812 the count was at 19 and growing rapidly. Many people were convinced that the stars would become mere dots and the stripes would dwindle to thin lines. Congress and President Monroe agreed that a star would be added for each state - but that the stripes would be fixed at 13 - recognizing the original colonies. The problem, however, was more than an aesthetic one, since American ships had to be easily recognizable on the high seas.
The arrangement of the stars, however, was left open to individual tastes - as long as the count matched the number of states, and thus began a golden age of American flag design. The specific pattern of the stars was not regulated until the beginning of the 20th Century. This design highlights the Lone Star of Texas - the largest of the American states for over 100 years.