History of the English Flag Essay

The flag of the United Kingdom also called the British flag, or its full title the flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. As shown above in the picture of the British Flag the colors of it, are red, white and blue. A lot of symbolism is associated with colors, according to Ancient and Heraldic traditions. Every color has its own meaning; – White: peace and honesty. -Red: hardiness, bravery, strength and valor. -Blue: vigilance, truth and loyalty, perseverance and justice. The British flag is also called “Union Jack”.

When the name was given, nobody really understood from where the name “Union Jack” occurred, that is why there are many different explanations and believes of its origin. One explanation is that it gets its name from the “jack staff” of naval vessels from which the original Union Flag was flown. The word ‘Jack’ was believed to come from the flag that is flown from the bowsprit of a ship. Also, the Union Flag is called ‘Jack’ because it is named after James 1st of Great Britain, he introduced the flag when he accessed the throne. -The upcoming of British Flag. Queen Elizabeth I ruled a divided nation.

As the “Virgin Queen” she named the son of Mary Queen of Scots as her successor. James VI of Scotland therefore also became James I of England. on April 12, 1606 the first ‘Union Flag’ was created by combining the red cross of St. George of England and the saltire of St. Andrew of Scotland. This was not a totally accurate representation of the flags as the blue background of the Scottish national flag is a lighter blue than the dark blue used on the Union Flag. The new Union flag was only for use at sea by the civil and military vessels of England and Scotland.

It was intended to show common allegiance in the two countries to the monarch and Nation. In 1660 the monarchy was restored after the execution of James I in 1649 and the Union flag was used specifically in the king’s ships. 1707 – the kingdoms of England and Scotland were officially united in the Act of Union and the flag became “the ensign armorial of the United Kingdom of Great Britain”. January 1, 1801 marked the Act of Union with Ireland. The red saltire cross attributed to St. Patrick was added to represent Ireland. The red cross, attributed to St. Patrick, is a part of the heraldic device of the Fitzgerald family crest. The Fitzgerald family were sent by the English King Henry II of England (1154-1189) to suppress the Irish in 1172. This flag has never been used as an emblem of Ireland by the Irish. Wales had been conquered by Edward I of England (1239 – 1307) and became a part of England while Rhuddlan was ruling in 1284. Wales was therefore considered part of the kingdom of England and the Welsh flag never became part of the Union Jack Flag. The Union Flag was originally a royal flag rather than a British national flag.

The Union Jack has never been made an official British civil flag by any legal process. It has become the British National Flag through usage, custom ; practice. In 1908 it was stated in Parliament that “the Union Jack should be regarded as the National flag”. In 1933 the Home Secretary, Sir J Gilmour, said “ the Union Flag is the national flag and may properly be flown by any British subject on land” -Explanation and history of all the flags of the union The British flag is a combination of the Patron Saints of England, Scotland and Ireland on a blue background. Flag of England: England is represented by the flag of St. George. In 1194, Richard I of England introduced the Cross of St. George, a red cross on a white ground, as the National Flag of England. At this point in the story on the United Kingdom, England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland were separate countries. -Flag of Scotland: Scotland is represented by the flag of St. Andrew. After Queen Elizabeth I of England died in 1603, King James VI of Scotland inherited the English throne and became King James I of England. It was a Union of the Crowns, but not yet of the nations.

Each country still kept their own parliaments. Early in his reign James attempted to combine England and Scotland in a united kingdom of ‘Great Britain’. This was the policy he presented to his first Parliament, called on 22 March 1604. The union was resisted. James defied them. On 20 October 1604 he proclaimed a new title for himself as ‘King of Great Britain’. But they did not know which flag to use. -First Union Flag: on 12th of April 1606 a compromise was the answer and it led to the creation of the first Union Flag. The old flags of England and Scotland continued to be used by their respective countries.

The Act of Union of 1707, joined England and Scotland together, creating a single kingdom with a single Parliament called ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain’. England Wales and Scotland were now united together under one monarch and one parliament. -Flag of Ireland: Ireland is represented by the cross of St. Patrick. Nearly one hundred years later on 1 January 1801, Ireland was united with Great Britain and it became necessary to have a new National Flag in which Ireland was represented. The cross St Patrick was combined with the Union Flag of St George and St Andrew, to create the Union Flag that has been flown ever since.

Flag of England Flag of Scotland St. George St. Andrew 1606 Flag of Ireland First union flag St. Patrick The Union Flag ‘Jack’ 1801 Why doesn’t the Welsh dragon appear on the Union Flag? The Welsh dragon does not appear on the flag because when the first Union Flag was created in 1606, Wales was already united with England from the 13th century. This means that Wales a Principality instead of a Kingdom and as such could not be included. -What would the Union Flag look like if Wales was represented? In November 2007, a Welsh MP, Ian Lucas, asked parliament why Wales is not represented in the Union Jack. Possible future of the UK’s Flag. More teenagers see themselves as English, Scottish or Welsh rather than British. Some time ago there was a poll carried out, to find out what the youth thinks about their nationality. The response to this question was that a big percent don’t see themselves as British anymore. Also another poll was published which proved that majorities of voters in both Scotland and England now want the countries to split. Now there is the question, what will happen in the future of the “Union Jack”.