Flag of Great Britain

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Great Britain
Union flag 1606 (Kings Colors).svg
Name King's Colours
Use Civil and state flag
Adopted1707
Red Ensign of Great Britain (1707-1800).svg
Variant flag of Great Britain
Use Civil and naval ensign
DesignA red field with the flag of Great Britain in the canton
Naval Ensign of Great Britain (1707-1800).svg
Variant flag of Great Britain
Use Naval ensign
DesignA cross of St George with the flag of Great Britain in the canton
Blue Ensign of Great Britain (1707-1800).svg
Variant flag of Great Britain
Use Naval ensign
DesignA blue field with the flag of Great Britain in the canton
A replica of the early 17th century Godspeed flying the flags of Great Britain and the Kingdom of England Godspeed replica.jpg
A replica of the early 17th century Godspeed flying the flags of Great Britain and the Kingdom of England

The flag of Great Britain, commonly known as the Union Jack or British flag, was used from 1606 to 1801. [1] [2]

Union Jack national flag of the United Kingdom

The Union Jack, or Union Flag, is the national flag of the United Kingdom. The flag also has official status in Canada, by parliamentary resolution, where it is known as the Royal Union Flag. Additionally, it is used as an official flag in some of the smaller British overseas territories. The Union Flag also appears in the canton of the flags of several nations and territories that are former British possessions or dominions, as well as the state flag of Hawaii.

Contents

The design was ordered by King James VI and I to be used on ships on the high seas, and it subsequently came into use as a national flag following the Treaty of Union and Acts of Union 1707, gaining the status of "the Ensign armorial of Great Britain", the newly created state. It was later adopted by land forces, although the blue of the field used on land-based versions more closely resembled that of the blue of the flag of Scotland.

James VI and I 16th/17th-century king of England and Scotland

James VI and I was King of Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the Scottish and English crowns on 24 March 1603 until his death in 1625. The kingdoms of Scotland and England were individual sovereign states, with their own parliaments, judiciaries, and laws, though both were ruled by James in personal union.

Treaty of Union

The Treaty of Union is the name usually now given to the agreement which led to the creation of the new state of Great Britain, stating that England and Scotland were to be "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain", At the time it was more often referred to as the Articles of Union.

Acts of Union 1707 Acts of Parliament creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain

The Acts of Union were two Acts of Parliament: the Union with Scotland Act 1706 passed by the Parliament of England, and the Union with England Act passed in 1707 by the Parliament of Scotland. They put into effect the terms of the Treaty of Union that had been agreed on 22 July 1706, following negotiation between commissioners representing the parliaments of the two countries. By the two Acts, the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland—which at the time were separate states with separate legislatures, but with the same monarch—were, in the words of the Treaty, "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain".

The flag consists of the red cross of Saint George, patron saint of England, superimposed on the Saltire of Saint Andrew, patron saint of Scotland. Its correct proportions are 3:5.

Saint George 4th-century Christian saint and martyr

Saint George was a soldier of Cappadocian Greek origins, member of the Praetorian Guard for Roman emperor Diocletian who was sentenced to death for refusing to recant his Christian faith. He became one of the most venerated saints and megalo-martyrs in Christianity, and was especially venerated as a military saint since the Crusaders.

Patron saint saint regarded as the tutelary spirit or heavenly advocate of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person

A patron saint, patroness saint, patron hallow or heavenly protector is a saint who in Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism or Eastern Orthodoxy, is regarded as the heavenly advocate of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family or person.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

The flag's official use came to an end in 1801 with the creation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. At that time Saint Patrick's Flag was added to the flag of Great Britain to create the present-day Union Flag.

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Historical sovereign state from 1801 to 1927

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was established by the Acts of Union 1800, which merged the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland.

Flag of the United Kingdom national flag

The national flag of the United Kingdom is the Union Jack, also known as the Union Flag.

Creation

By James I of England, King of Scots, Orders in Council, 1606:

King James had the habit of referring to a "Kingdom of Great Britain", considering that it had been created by the Union of the Crowns. However, despite the personal union which he represented, in practice England and Scotland continued as separate kingdoms, each with its own parliament and laws, for another century. The Kingdom of Great Britain finally came into being in 1707. [4] The flag of the new Kingdom was formally chosen on 17 April 1707, two weeks before the Acts of Union of 1707 were to take effect. Sir Henry St George, Garter Principal King of Arms, had presented several possible designs to Queen Anne and the Privy Council. [5]

The Union of the Crowns was the accession of James VI of Scotland to the thrones of England and Ireland, and the consequential unification for some purposes of the three realms under a single monarch on 24 March 1603. The Union of Crowns followed the death of Elizabeth I of England, the last monarch of the Tudor dynasty, who was James's unmarried and childless first cousin twice removed.

Sir Henry St George (1581–1644) was an English Officer of arms. He was the third son of the herald Sir Richard St George and his wife Elizabeth St John..

Garter Principal King of Arms

The Garter Principal King of Arms is the senior King of Arms, and the senior Officer of Arms of the College of Arms, the heraldic authority with jurisdiction over England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The position has existed since 1415.

Scottish variant

"Scots union flag as said to be used by the Scots." Union Jack 1606 Scotland.svg
"Scots union flag as said to be used by the Scots."

The principal alternative for consideration was a version of the flag with the saltire of Saint Andrew lying on top of that of Saint George, called the "Scots union flag as said to be used by the Scots", but this was rejected.

See also

Related Research Articles

Kingdom of Great Britain constitutional monarchy in Western Europe between 1707–1801

The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called simply Great Britain, was a sovereign state in western Europe from 1 May 1707 to 31 December 1800. The state came into being following the Treaty of Union in 1706, ratified by the Acts of Union 1707, which united the kingdoms of England and Scotland to form a single kingdom encompassing the whole island of Great Britain and its outlying islands, with the exception of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The unitary state was governed by a single parliament and government that was based in Westminster. The former kingdoms had been in personal union since James VI of Scotland became King of England and King of Ireland in 1603 following the death of Elizabeth I, bringing about the "Union of the Crowns". After the accession of George I to the throne of Great Britain in 1714, the kingdom was in a personal union with the Electorate of Hanover.

Acts of Union 1800 acts of the Parliament of Great Britain and the Parliament of Ireland which united the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

The Acts of Union 1800 were parallel acts of the Parliament of Great Britain and the Parliament of Ireland which united the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The acts came into force on 1 January 1801, and the merged Parliament of the United Kingdom had its first meeting on 22 January 1801.

Kingdom of Ireland Historical kingdom on the island of Ireland between 1542 and 1801

The Kingdom of Ireland was a client state of England and then of Great Britain that existed from 1542 until 1800. It was ruled by the monarchs of England and then of Great Britain in personal union with their other realms. The kingdom was administered from Dublin Castle nominally by the King or Queen, who appointed a viceroy to rule in their stead. It had its own legislature, peerage, legal system, and state church.

Flag of England national flag

The flag of England is derived from Saint George's Cross. The association of the red cross as an emblem of England can be traced back to the Middle Ages, and it was used as a component in the design of the Union Flag in 1606. Since the 1990s it has been in increasingly wide use, particularly at national sporting events.

Flag of Scotland flag

The Flag of Scotland consist of a white saltire in a blue field. As the national flag, the Saltire, rather than the Royal Standard of Scotland, is the correct flag for all individuals and corporate bodies to fly. It is also, where possible, flown from Scottish Government buildings every day from 8am until sunset, with certain exceptions.

Saint Georges Cross red cross on a white background

In heraldry, Saint George's Cross, also called the Cross of Saint George, is a red cross on a white background, which from the Late Middle Ages became associated with Saint George, the military saint, often depicted as a crusader.

Saltire heraldic symbol in the form of a diagonal cross

A saltire, also called Saint Andrew's Cross or the crux decussata, is a heraldic symbol in the form of a diagonal cross, like the shape of the letter X in Roman type. The word comes from the Middle French sautoir, Middle Latin saltatoria ("stirrup").

Duke of Rothesay

Duke of Rothesay is a dynastic title of the heir apparent to the British throne, currently Prince Charles. It was a title of the heir apparent to the throne of the Kingdom of Scotland before 1707, of the Kingdom of Great Britain from 1707 to 1801, and now of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is the title mandated for use by the heir apparent when in Scotland, in preference to the titles Duke of Cornwall and Prince of Wales, which are used in the rest of the United Kingdom and overseas. The Duke of Rothesay also holds other Scottish titles, including those of Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland. The title is named after Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, Argyll and Bute, but is not associated with any legal entity or landed property, unlike the Duchy of Cornwall.

Parliament of Great Britain parliament from 1714 to 1800

The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union by both the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland. The Acts created a new unified Kingdom of Great Britain and dissolved the separate English and Scottish parliaments in favour of a single parliament, located in the former home of the English parliament in the Palace of Westminster, near the City of London. This lasted nearly a century, until the Acts of Union 1800 merged the separate British and Irish Parliaments into a single Parliament of the United Kingdom with effect from 1 January 1801.

Royal Arms of Scotland coat of arms

The royal arms of Scotland is the official coat of arms of the King of Scots first adopted in the 12th century. With the Union of the Crowns in 1603, James VI inherited the thrones of England and Ireland and thus his arms in Scotland were now quartered with the arms of England with an additional quarter for Ireland also added. Though the kingdoms of England and Scotland would share the same monarch, the distinction in heraldry used in both kingdoms was maintained. When the kingdoms of Scotland and England were united under the Acts of Union 1707 to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain, no single arms were created and instead, the royal arms as used in either Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom would continue to differ.

Royal Banner of Scotland Scottish Royal Banner of Arms

The Royal Banner of the Royal Arms of Scotland, also known as the Royal Banner of Scotland, or more commonly the Lion Rampant of Scotland, and historically as the Royal Standard of Scotland, or Banner of the King of Scots, is the Royal Banner of Scotland, and historically, the Royal Standard of the Kingdom of Scotland. Used historically by the Scottish monarchs, the banner differs from Scotland's national flag, the Saltire, in that its correct use is restricted by an Act of the Parliament of Scotland to only a few Great Officers of State who officially represent the Monarchy in Scotland. It is also used in an official capacity at royal residences in Scotland when the Head of State is not present.

Saint Patricks Saltire red saltire on a white field

Saint Patrick's Saltire or Saint Patrick's Cross is a red saltire on a white field, used to represent the island of Ireland or Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. In heraldic language, it may be blazoned Argent, a saltire gules. Saint Patrick's Flag is a flag composed of Saint Patrick's Saltire.

Royal coat of arms of Great Britain

The Royal coat of arms of Great Britain was the coat of arms representing royal authority in the sovereign state of the Kingdom of Great Britain, in existence from 1707 to 1801. The kingdom came into being on 1 May 1707, with the political union of the kingdom of Scotland and the kingdom of England, which included Wales. With the 1706 Treaty of Union, it was agreed to create a single kingdom, encompassing the whole of the island of Great Britain and its outlying islands, but not Ireland, which remained a separate realm under the newly created British crown.

Flag of the East India Company

The flag of the East India Company represented the British East India Company between 1600 and 1874. The flag was altered as the nation changed from England to Great Britain to the United Kingdom. It was initially a red and white striped ensign with the flag of England in canton. The flag was later updated to include the flag of Great Britain and flag of the United Kingdom in 1707 and 1801 respectively, as the nation developed.

References

  1. "British Flags". Flaginstitute.org.
  2. "The Union Jack or The Union Flag?". Flaginstitute.org.
  3. A.C. Fox-Davies, The Art of Heraldry: An Encyclopædia of Armory (1904), p. 399
  4. Michael Lynch, The Oxford Companion to Scottish History (2001), p. 356
  5. Linda Colley, Taking Stock of Taking Liberties: a personal view (British Library, 2009), p. 46