It has been around for several hundred years

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Nothing says United Kingdom like the Union Flag or Union Jack. The flag has a great history and within that history are many interesting facts! Omnipresent in souvenir shops, in public buildings and in certain sporting events such as the Olympic Games or the Wimbledon Championship, the British flag is one of the best known internationally. Today we comment on some curiosities of the emblem that represents the United Kingdom:The first British flag came about in 1606 when James VI of Scotland inherited the English throne and became known as James I of England. He sought to create a flag that combined the symbols of the two countries and represented the unification of their crowns. The Union Flag began to be used in 1606. King James I of England and Ireland (also held the title of James VI of Scotland) decided to join the crowns of the three countries under the same flag. With this monarch is when for the first time in history began to speak of the country of “United Kingdom”, although the three territories that were part of it continued to be administered separately. The flag was created to be used especially in the maritime field, in order to facilitate the recognition of ships at sea. This first British flag differed from the model used today, since it did not include the red cross of St. Patrick on behalf of Ireland, which was finally added in 1801 giving rise to the teaching currently used. Click the next ARROW to see the next image!

It represents three of the four UK countries

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The Union Jack originally combined England’s red cross (which represents St. George) with Scotland’s white saltire (which stands for St. Andrew). Ireland’s red saltire (which symbolizes St. Patrick) was added to the flag when it became a part of the United Kingdom in 1801. Click the next ARROW to see the next image!

Wales isn’t on the Union Jack

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Historically, Wales has always been considered to be a part of England, so the Union Jack’s designers probably didn’t even think of including it in the flag. It would have been spectacular; Wales’s national symbol is a red dragon, which looks fantastic on any flag! Click the next ARROW to see the next image!

It’s called the Union Jack only when it’s at sea

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During James I’s reign, Scotland and England retained their respective flags on land. The British flag was used only by ships, which is why it’s called the Union “Jack” — jacks are a type of maritime national flag that are flown at the head of the ship. So, the flag is technically called Union Jack only when it’s at sea; on land, it’s supposedly called the Union Flag. Click the next ARROW to see the next image!

It’s not symmetrical

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At first glance, the Union Jack might look like it has a symmetrical design. But, if you look closer, you’ll see that it actually doesn’t. On the left side, the red lines of Ireland’s saltire are placed beneath the white lines of Scotland’s saltire; the opposite is true for the right side. Click the next ARROW to see the next image!

The Union Jack appears in other places’ flags

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One of the reasons why the Union Jack is so familiar is that it’s present in the flags of other nations, islands, states, and territories. Most of them came under British reign at some point or another and have decided to honor the legacy of colonial rule through their flags. Click the next ARROW to see the next image!

Australia’s national and state flags have the Union Jack

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The Union Jack is prominently featured in Australia’s flag, placed above the Commonwealth star and beside the five stars of the Southern Cross (a constellation that’s highly visible to those in the southern hemisphere). The flags of Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales, South Australia, and Western Australia also feature the Union Jack. Click the next ARROW to see the next image!

New Zealand has voted to keep its Union Jack-inspired flag

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New Zealand’s flag is similar to Australia’s; the only difference is that, instead of the Commonwealth Star and the Southern Cross, it has four red stars with white borders. There has been a decades-long debate as to whether the country should keep this flag or replace it with a new one. On March 2016, New Zealanders voted to keep the existing flag design. Click the next ARROW to see the next image!

Hawaii’s flag also has the Union Jack

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It’s a bit strange considering that Hawaii has never come under British rule. The island group came across the Union Jack when George Vancouver, a British captain, gave one to King Kamehameha I in 1793. Hawaiians have opted to make it a part of their flag even when they became a U.S. state. Click the next ARROW to see the next image!

The Union Jack design can be used any way you want

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Currently, the UK has no rules that govern the use of the Union Jack and prohibit flag desecration. Because of this, designers and manufacturers are free to use the flag in their products in any way they want. This is why it’s easy to find underwear, office chairs, high heels, and even welders’ masks with the Union Jack design.

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