Facts about the United Kingdom Flag
The flag of the United Kingdom, commonly known as the Union Jack or Union Flag, is arguably one of the most recognizable flags in the world. And while the first Union Flag appeared in 1603, its roots go back far into the Middle Ages, making it one of the world’s most historic flags.
To understand the design of the Union Flag, you must first understand the early banners of England and Scotland.
The Union Flag was restricted to only naval use during its first 101 years in existence since England and Scotland were still separate countries. It wasn’t until the Acts of Union 1707 when England and Scotland joined together as the state of Great Britain that the flag became the official banner of military and government on land.
The current version of the Union Flag was created by the Acts of Union 1800 that united Great Britain and Ireland. The red saltire of St. Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint, was added on January 1, 1801, reflecting the addition of Ireland in a “United Kingdom.” Though Ireland would gain independence in 1921, the St. Patrick’s Cross remained to represent Northern Ireland, which separated from Ireland to remain a part of the United Kingdom.