Francis Scott Key was born in Maryland in 1779. He studied at home and later became a lawyer. When Francis wrote the Star Spangled Banner, in 1814, the USA were fighting against Britain.
The war of 1812
The British captured Washington DC, burnt the White House and kidnapped a few people.
One of the people was a friend of Francis: he was held as a prisoner on a ship about eight miles from Fort McHenry.
Fort McHenry belonged to the United States and, therefore, the flag of the United States waved on its ramparts.
At that time, it had fifteen stripes and fifteen stars, one for every state in the union.
When Francis Scott Key got to the ship to talk to the British and to try and release his friend, the Battle for Fort McHenry began.
He watched from the ship and saw that the American flag did not come down during the fight,
(The Defense of Fort Mchenry)
September 20, 1814
By Francis Scott Key
Oh, say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?