The Union Jack
The Union Jack
The flag of the UK is officially called the Union flag, because it embodies
the emblems of three countries united under one monarch.
|[pic] |The Union Flag is commonly known as the Union Jack, |
| |although the exact origin of the name is unclear. |
One explanation is that it gets its name from the "jack staff" of naval
vessels (a small flagpole at the front of Royal Navy vessels) from which
the original Union Flag was flown.
It is commonly known as the Union Jack, although the exact origin of the
name is unclear. One explanation is that it gets its name from the "jack
staff" of naval vessels (a small flagpole at the front of Royal Navy
vessels) from which the original Union Flag was flown.
The Union Flag should be flown with the broader diagonal band of white
uppermost in the hoist (near the pole) and the narrower band of white
uppermost in the fly (furthest from the pole).
The emblems that appear on the Union Flag are the crosses of the three
|[pic] |the white diagonal cross, or saltire, of St Andrew, for |
| |Scotland, on a blue ground; |
|[pic] |the red cross of St George, for England, on a white |
| |ground; and |
|[pic] |the red diagonal cross attributed to St Patrick, for |
| |Ireland, on a white ground. |
Wales is not represented on the Union Flag because by the time the first
version of the flag appeared, Wales was already united with England.
|[pic] |The Welsh Flag, a red dragon on a field of white and |
| |green, dates from the fifteenth century. |
History of the Union Flag
The Union Flag underwent a gradual development. The first one was created
in 1606, when England and Scotland were united under one King (James I of
England/James VI of Scotland), by combining the flags of St George and St
In the seventeenth century the flag underwent several changes. After the
execution of Charles I in 1649, Oliver Cromwell the Lord Protector
introduced a special Commonwealth flag consisting of St George's cross and
the gold harp of Ireland. When Charles II was restored to the throne in
1660 he reintroduced the Union Flag of James I.
The final version of the Union Flag appeared in 1801, following the union
of Great Britain with Ireland, with the inclusion of the cross of St
Patrick. The cross remains on the flag although only Northern Ireland now
remains part of the United Kingdom.