Friday, 14 September 2007

Union Jack

Most people are aware that the flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland combines the cross of St George with that of St Andrew and St Patrick. (The latter wasn’t really an Irish symbol at all when it was introduced to the Union Flag in 1801 - it was simply part of the arms of the Anglo-Irish family the Fitzherberts). Over the last 200 years most English, Scots, Irish and even the unrepresented Welsh have come to accept this multi-national symbol.

I was taught that the correct name of the flag was the Union Flag and that the jack was simply the end of a ship over which a flag was flown. Union Jack was therefore incorrect. That, however, is untrue. After being used informally for years the name Union Jack was officially accepted by Act of Parliament as long ago as 1903.

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