Surprisingly, with a flag that is known so synonymously as the Union Jack, its official name is the Union Flag!
The only time the Union Flag is officially called the Union Jack is when it is being flown at sea. The “jack” part comes from a jack being another name for a national maritime flag flown at the head of a ship.
King James I (James VI of Scotland) designed the flag when he inherited the thrones of England and Scotland back in 1606. King James I wanted to combine the two crosses of the respective nations, and thus the Union Flag was born.
Ireland’s famous Cross of St. Patrick was not included during the flag’s inception in the early 1600s, due to Ireland not becoming part of the United Kingdom until 1801. In 1922, Ireland would then go on to form their own state, with just Northern Ireland retaining its British status.
The flag houses England’s Cross of St. George, Scotland’s Cross of St. Andrew and Ireland’s Cross of St. Patrick to form a hybrid of red, white and blue patriotism.
Despite being a part of the United Kingdom, Wales’ famous red dragon does not feature on the flag. Hearsay states that as Wales was historically a part of England, they were not to be considered a separate entity.
Unlike other countries, there is no real code of conduct surrounding the Union Flag. This means that the flag can be reproduced in its original form on merchandise, memorabilia and printed materials, unlike the USA flag which has an entire code dedicated to it.
To the untrained eye, the flag looks symmetrical, doesn’t it? Turn the flag around and you’ll spot a slight difference. It’s the little things that make all the difference…