A brief track back through the history behind the flags used in the British Isles
The flags of the countries in the British Isles all have a story and one that inevitably involves politics, religion, royalty and egos!
Click the text in the light blue title panals below to open and close each part of the journey and begin your exploration!
The Union Jack is the national flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
It comprises the three different heraldic crosses of the national flags of England, Ireland and Scotland and is the symbol of the countries being united under one sovereign. Wales is counted as part of England.
There is a right way and a wrong way to fly the Union Jack. The broader (wider) diagonal white stripe should always be at the top on the side of the flag nearest the flagpole.
The flag is part of the story of
the want to unite the lands of the British Isles that probably begins after the departure of the Romans from
Britannica in 408 AD. The Roman second century geographer Ptolemy is credited with the first use of the name
great Britain (megale Britannia), and at the same time he termed Ireland as
lesser Britain, (mikra Brettania).
The departure of the Romans saw many invasions of the British Isles and migrations of peoples within Britain itself and across to adjacent lands over several hundred years. This included the migration of ancient Britons from Wales across the English Channel, to what is now modern day Brittany in France, in the face of Anglo Saxon invasions of Britain which pushed the ancient Britons into Wales. The influx of Britons into the French region eventually saw the name of the region change from its Roman name Armorica to Britannia over the coming centuries. In circa 1136 a Welsh cleric, Geoffrey of Monmouth is noted as using the term
Little Britain to describe what is now Brittany, to distinguish it from
Great Britain in his book
History of the Kings of Britain (
Historia Regum Britanniae).
The history of the Union Jack could be said to have started with Pope Adrian IV, the only English Pope, reportedly issuing (possible agreed in advance) a papal Bull empowering Henry II of England to annex Ireland to his kingdom 1155. However Henry did not set foot in Ireland until he invaded at Waterford in 1171 and awarded his son, John, his Irish territories and the title of
Lord of Ireland. It was with the accession of John to the throne of England in 1166 when the Lordship of Ireland fell directly under the English Crown. One of John’s other claims to fame, or infamy, was to be the King that brought about the political crisis in England that brought tension between the King and his Barons that resulted in the signing of the Magna Carta on 15 June 1215. This document attempted to answers the questions of whether the King is above the law or was he bound by it, who decides if the King has broken the law and who actually make laws? It gave the right to justice and a fair trial to all free men (who this actually included is a matter of context at the time) and stated that no taxes could be demanded without the
general consent of the realm. It is seen as a very important document in British history.
The next part of the story of the union lies with Edward I, and his conquest of the last realms of Wales in 1283. Wales remained a de facto separate principality until the Laws in Wales Acts of 1535 and 1542 (sometimes called the
Acts of Union) by Henry VIII brought a common legal system. The flag of England, the Cross of Saint George, was therefore considered the flag of England and Wales.
Henry VIII fallout with the Catholic Church saw the creation of the Kingdom of Ireland. Though he was declared King of Ireland in 1542 it was not recognised by the Catholic Church. It was not till 1555, after the accession of the Roman Catholic Queen Mary I of England that saw the issue of a papal Bull that recognised her as the Queen of Ireland and a separate kingdom under the English monarchy.
On the 24th March 1603 James VI, King of Scotland (following the death of Elizabeth I, the Queen of England and Ireland) becoming James I, King of England and Ireland. On 24th October 1604 he decreed in a proclamation:
We do by these presents, by force of our kingly power and prerogative, assume to ourself by the clearness of our right, the name and style of King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, etc…
James I made a proclamation on 12 April 1606 that amalgamated the English and Scottish flags, to create the first Union Flag, and ordered it flown from the mastheads of all ships in Scotland and England. The Irish red Cross of St Patrick was not included as it was still a separate kingdom. The proclamation did not give any name to the flag and the first recorded use of the name
Union Flag is accredited to the use of the flag in 1625, possibly just prior to James I death when he made an offer to become a shareholder in the East India Company and allow them to fly his
Union Flag - an offer they rejected. It was also reportedly mentioned in the list of flags and banners used at his funeral in 1625.
James son, Charles I, made a proclamation on May 5th 1634 forbidding any ships apart those in the Royal Navy, or in its service, from flying the Union Flag. Ships of other English subjects were to fly the St George's cross, and those of Scotland the cross of St Andrew.
Charles I rule of the country led to the English Civil War(s) and the English Interregnum (
between reigns), the victory for the Parliamentarians, creation of the Commonwealth of England in 1649 and the Protectorate in 1653 with Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland.
There were several flags of various designs at this time, the most notable and of interest perhaps is the
Protectorate Jack used by the parliamentary navy for part of the time. This incorporated an Irish harp into the centre of James's Union Flag.
The restoration of the monarchy with Charles II in 1660 saw the new monarch eagerly take up the James I Union Flag, Samuel Pepys reports that any harps on any flags were to be removed as it
was offensive to the King. Charles also issued a proclamation that once again said the Union Flag should only be flown by the Royal Navy.
jack is a source of some debate and ranges from a shortened form of the term Jacobus (latin for James) to a description of a small flag flown from a small mast mounted on the bowsprit of a ship. Regardless of this its use was common by the end of the seventeenth century though it was called by various other names, including
His Majesty's Jack and the
Kings Jack. It is in 1674, in a further royal proclamation dated 18th September, that we see acknowledged that the term
Union Jack is in common use:
.... his Majesty hath thought fit, with the advice of his Privy Council, by this his Royal Proclamation, strictly to charge and command all his subjects whatsoever, that from henceforth they do not presume to wear his Majesty's Jack (commonly called The Union Jack) in any of their ships or vessels , without particular warrant for their so doing from his Majesty, or the Lord High Admiral of England, or the Commissioners for executing the office of Lord High Admiral ….
The next few decades and the succession to the throne by Charles II brother, James II,
saw turmoil in the British Isles once more with the
Glorious Revolution in 1688. James II was overthrown and replaced with Mary II and William of Orange (William III). Parliament brought in the Bill of Rights 1689 which among other things excluded all Catholics from the throne, since:
and required the Sovereign to swear to maintain the Protestant religion in the coronation oath.
….it hath been found by experience that it is inconsistent with the safety and welfare of this protestant kingdom to be governed by a papist prince...
Economic pressures in Scotland are then credited as one of the major factors for the next steps in the Union and of the Union Flag with Treaty of Unions in 1707 under Queen Anne, following Acts of Union being passed by the Parliaments of Scotland and England. Robert Burns later wrote in a poem in 1791:
about influences on Scottish Parliamentarians in the vote.
We're bought and sold for English gold, Such a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation!
The first article of the Treaty formally created
Great Britain and declared the makeup of the flag:
Queen Anne decided to retain the James 1 Union Flag.
That the two Kingdoms of (fn. 1) Scotland and England, shall, upon the first Day of May next ensuing the Date hereof, and for ever after, be united into one Kingdom by the Name of Great-Britain, and that the Ensigns Armorial of the said united Kingdom, be
such as her Majesty shall appoint; and the Crosses of St. Andrew and St. George be conjoined in such a manner as her Majesty shall think fit, and used in all Flags, Banners, Standards, and Ensigns, both at Sea and Land.
The treaty was also notable for uniting the Parliaments of Scotland and England and retaining the Scottish legal system for the Scotland.
The latter parts of the eighteenth century brought rebellion and discord in Ireland and in 1800 both the Irish and Great Britain (Scotland and England) Parliament passed Acts of Union to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. On 1st January 1801 King George III issued two proclamations, one setting out the design of the Union Flag to include the Irish red saltire, the cross of St Patrick, the design we know today, and a second restricting the Union Jack, as it was termed, to be flown only in Royal Navy ships. The term Union Flag was used for the flag used by land armies.
Life for the flag has pretty much remained constant since then, in 1902 the Admiralty issued a circular allowing the use of either Union Jack or Union Flag as a description officially.
There did arise then the question of what the British people called their flag and when and where it could be flown. This was answered in Parliament when the Earl of Crewe, on the 14th July 1908, in answer to a question said:
My Lords, the noble Earl asks me, with a view to removing any possible doubt that may exist on the subject, whether it is a fact that the full
Union Jack may be flown on land by every citizen in the Empire. As many of us know, there has existed in the public mind a Curious confusion as to what flags may be flown and what may not. At one time it seemed to be believed that the Royal Standard could be flown anywhere and by anybody. That, however, as we now know, is not the case. It was formally announced that the Royal Standard is the personal flag of the Sovereign, and cannot properly be flown without His Majesty's permission, which is only granted when either the King or Queen is present. But, of course, a very different state of things applies to the Union Jack. I think it may fairly be stated, in reply to the noble Earl, that the Union Jack should be regarded as the National flag, and it undoubtedly may be flown on land by all His Majesty's subjects.
Though the Union Jack has not changed since 1801, the lands it covers has. The nineteenth century in Ireland was one of famine, religious tension and rebellion that resulted in the creation, through the Anglo - Irish treaty in 1922, of Northern Ireland (which remained in the United Kingdom) and the Irish Free State in Southern Ireland as a separate entity . The Union Jack at that point became the flag of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
For many centuries following the Roman period English monarchs had various personnel war standards, apparently following on from the Roman tradition. There is no real evidence of their use in England before the conquest of the Romans.
It appears common for people to have several standards at the time and the Saxons adopted the dragon as their principal war standard and the Danish vikings brought over a raven flag. It appears that the association of flags and particular saints began in this tenth century period, and more importantly perhaps the significance that the saints had been soldiers, for example King Athelstan was sent the banner of St Maurice in 927 who had been purportedly of help to the Emperor Charlemagne in his Spanish wars. The dragon standard was apparently one of the standards carried into battle by King Harold in 1066 and can be seen in the Bayeux Tapestry.
The Dragon was flown by English Kings, amongst other banners in many conflicts, for example by Richard I (Richard the Lionheart) in 1190 at Messina (
..The king of England proceeded in arms : the terrible standard of the Dragon is borne in front)
in the crusades, and by the English army at Lewes in 1216 (King Henry III), at Crecy in 1346 by King Edward III when he ordered the English Dragon raised in response to the French raising of the Oriflamme to signify
no quarter was to be given, and at Bosworth Field in 1485 by the victor, King Henry VII. It is notable that King Henry’s Dragon was the Welsh Red Dragon. He had been born and raised in Wales prior to leaving for safety for France and Britainny before returning, landing in Wales on 7 August 1485 and commencing battle with Richard III on 21 August 1485 and the Red Dragon banner was one of the three banners he presented in thanks to his victory at St Paul's Cathedral on the 3rd September 1485.
However it was not the only banner flown, and the red on white cross of St George was one of several Saint’s banners.
St George was in fact a Roman solider of the third century, who was repeatedly tortured and then executed on 23 April 303 AD for refusing to recant from his Christian faith by the Emperor Diocletian. He was soon regarded as a much admired Christian martyr and it is reported that he was made a Saint in 494 by Pope Gelasius I.
The story of St George is believed to have first been documented in Great Britain in the seventh century by St Adomnán, the Abbot of Iona in Scotland and the writings of Bede.
The oldest church dedicated to St George is in Fordington, Dorset, originally the royal church of the Kings of Wessex, built in 857AD. William Belet, a Knight who was rewarded with the Manor of Fordington by William the Conqueror, is said to have given a set of carved stones above a doorway, (a Tympanum stone) depicting St George coming to the aid of the crusaders in the Battle of Antioch in 1098.
The St George story becomes entwined with a dragon at the time of the crusaders, the basic story being that a town in Libya was being ravaged by a dragon and would only be appeased if the locals feed him first two sheep a day, and when the sheep ran out, a child was fed every day to the dragon after being selected by lottery. One day its was the King's daughter that was chosen. The King tried to persuade his subjects to send one of their own children with promises of gold and land in her stead, but failed and she was sent to be fed to the dragon.
St George was passing at the time and saw the dragon and maiden, the maiden tried to tell St George to flee but he makes the sign of the cross, to enlist God’s help, fights and grievously wounds the dragon. He asked the maiden for her cloth belt, or girdle, and ties it around the dragon's neck and the maiden leads it meekly back to her people.
The king and the people are terrified as they approach. St George calls out that he will slay the dragon if they consent to be baptised and convert to Christianity. They duly do so and St George slays the dragon and all is well in the world.
The story of a soldier saint and the nature of his deeds seemed to appeal to the English, even though he was foreign and that England had its own Saints such as St Edmund and Edward the Confessor, the warrior Saint George became popular through the crusades and afterwards, first as a cross emblazoned on clothing worn by soldiers of Edward I (possibly invoking the
slaying the dragon legend in his wars with the Welsh and their red dragon), and then as banner or standard. Richard II made an order for the whole of the army to be ensigned with the St George's cross.
In the battle of Crecy in 1346, the battle cry of the English was
God and St George but the St George's cross that was carried was just one of many carried. In 1348 Edward III created the Order of the Garter, the oldest order of British Chivalry. The patron
saint of the Order is St George and its spiritual home is the St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.
As well as the cross of Saint George being the national flag of several other nations the warrior saints flag was still one of several saints flags carried in Britain. This all ended with English reformation where flags and banners of saints, other than St George, disappeared in 1522.
Saint George actually became the primary patron saint of England after the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. After Henry V’s victory St George was declared
... the patron and special protector of the nation by the Archbishop Henry Chicheley.
The Saltire, or the cross of St Andrew, is the national flag of Scotland.
The diagonal shape of the cross is representative of the cross St Andrew was crucified on, though the date is uncertain it is taken as being during the rule of Emperor Nero on the 30th November 60 AD.
St Andrew, the patron Saint of fisherman, is considered by some to be the first of Jesus’s apostles, being the first to recognise Jesus as the Messiah. He was martyred at Patras in Greece, As tradition tells he was tied to a cross in the shape of the roman numeral
Crux Decussata, at his own request as he felt unworthy to die on the same type of cross on which Jesus Christ had died, though the earliest evidence of this tale does not appear till the twelfth century.
Christianity came to Scotland, possibly during the late Roman era in southern Scotland and the sixth century saw missionaries from Ireland, traditionally St Ninian, St Kentigern and St Columba (the latter founding a monastery on Iona in 563), spread the religion amongst the people.
The association of Scotland with St Andrew seems to have an uncertain, and romantic, provence and is commonly believed to have begun with Angus (or Óengus, Hungus) II (Pictish King of Scotland 820 until 834), St Regulus and some relics of St Andrew. The stories are mixed in with the dedication of the first church at St Andrews though the dates are somewhat contradictory - there being approx 400 years between the time of Regulus and that of Augus! In summary the tale tells that, after an Angel’s instruction, Regulus fled from Patras in 345 AD on a ship with some relics of St Andrew, and was told to dedicate a church to St Andrew wherever his ship should be wrecked. Regulus then began a long voyage which was to end in Scotland. As the Regulus approached the Scottish coast King Angus was about to do battle with the English Saxons. On the night prior to a battle, St Andrew appeared to King Angus and promising him victory and warned him of the approach of the relics. King Angus vowed that if they were victorious they would revere St Andrew. It is said that on the day of the battle a white cloud formation in the shape of the cross of St Andrew appeared in the blue sky and this gave heart to the picts and they were victorious. Regulus was later wrecked in what is now St Andrews bay and was met by Angus's three sons and the St Andrew's Church was established. A further story puts the relics arriving in Scotland from Hexham in the eighth century with the fleeing Bishop of Hexham who is said to have established a following among the Picts. It is understood that politics at the time the stories arose in the twelfth century may have been involved timing and telling of these stories - linking them to the relics long voyage, and subsequent wrecking, to bring forward the time of the relics appearance so they are before the establishment of St Columba monastery in Iona, establishing a primacy of appearance for St Andrew over St Columbia.
This was the time of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. There is also a theory that the story of Regulus was used to bring the date of the establishment of the Scottish church ahead of that in England and Ireland and therefore was a powerful reason for independance - an important consideration in the twelfth century and a political tool with one school of thought saying that it helped persuade the papacy to recognise the independence of Scotland, and the Scottish Church. On the 27th June 1299 Pope Boniface VIII intervened in the War with England by sending a letter, addressed to King Edward I of England, demanding that Edward end the war against Scotland:
....The fact will doubtless have reached your highness' ears, and is, we doubt not, enshrined in your memory, how that from ancient times the kingdom of Scotland has in full right belonged, and is still judged to belong, to the Church above named ; and that that same kingdom, as we have heard, has never owed nor can ever owe feudal rights either to yourself, or to your predecessors on the throne of the kingdom of England.
He went on to say :
.... Moreover, your royal highness is able to know, how the said kingdom was won over and converted to the body of the Catholic faith by the venerable relics of the blessed apostle Andrew ...
A Scottish historian, William Forbes Skene, in the nineteenth century, wrote with another gloss on the story:
With the departure of the Columban Clergy, the veneration of St Columba as the apostle of the northern Picts seems to have been given up, at least by the southern portion of that people, and St Peter now became the patron saint of the kingdom and continued to be so till the year 736, when Angus [Angus 1, the first Scottish King of the Picts ] the son of Fergus established his power by the defeat of Nectan himself, and the other competitors for the throne.
As the king rapidly brought the territories of the other Pictish families under his sway, and even added Dalriada to his kingdom, he seemed desirous to connect a new ecclesiastical influence with his reign, for in the same year that he completed the conquest of Dalriada he founded a church at St Andrews, in which he placed a new body of clergy, who had brought the relics of St Andrew with them, and this apostle soon became the more popular patron saint of the kingdom, while the previous patronage of St Peter disappeared from the annals
Regardless of this it appears St Andrew was established and accepted as the patron Saint of Scotland by the 900’s.
It is notable though the Saltire is recorded as being worn on clothing for Scottish and French troops raiding England in July 1385, it’s not till 1512 when the first evidence of a Saltire flag is found.
Dragons have featured in the minds of Britons as standards for near two thousands years. Fact is mixed with romantic fiction in the story of dragons.
What is known is that Romans, particularly their cavalry units after their Dacian wars of 101 -106 AD, increasingly began to fly a hollow wood or bronze dragon’s head from a pole with a body of cloth attached. The howling sound the wind made as it passed through the dragon's head as the standard barrier galloped, with the streaming cloth must have been a stirring and frightening sight. Called the Draco, or Signum Draconis, it was a symbol they adopted from their Dacian foes and must have become a familiar sight to the occupied Britons.
With the departure of the Romans, dragons (both red and white) continued to appear as standards for the warring factions in Britain, both the original Britons, forced into modern day Wales, and Scotland by the invading Angles and Saxons.
Mythology takes the stage at this period with the story of King Ludd of Briton and his brother Llefelys. From the Mabinogion of ancient welsh mythology, it tells how King Ludd follows the advice of his brother to capture two fighting dragons, one red , one white and imprisons them at Dinas Emrys in Snowdonia. Later stories in Historia Brittonum tell how later the Welsh King Vortigern, while fighting the Saxons, tries to build a castle on top of the hidden dragons and his castle is mysteriously demolished every night. Eventually, after seeking advice, the King is told to find a boy with a father
from another world and sprinkle the ground with his blood. A boy is found, later to become Merlin in stories, who tells the King of the hidden dragons. The King digs for the dragons and frees them, they wake and continue their long fight. Eventually the red dragon triumphs over the white and is the victor, Merlin tells the King that the white dragon represents the Saxons and the red dragon the King and his people, or the modern day Welsh. Later tales link in with Arthurian legend and King Arthur, through his father Uther Pendragon - the surname translating in Welsh to
Chief Dragon or
The dragon appears to have been adopted by Welsh soldiers fighting in battle, appearing at the Battle of Crecy in 1346 and in 1400, Owain Glyndwr raised the dragon during his revolt against Henry IV, echoing its role in Welsh mythology as a symbol of struggle and resistance.
The red dragon raises his head again in the Wars of the Roses in the fifteenth century and once again politics is possible used as a reason to move things in history. The Lancastrian contender at the end of the war, and eventually victor, Henry Tudor, claimed descent to the Cadwallader, one of old Welsh Kings of Gwynedd (685 - 682 AD) allegedly the last King of the Britons, through his grandfather, Owen Tudor, who had been born in Anglesey. The Kingdom of Gwynedd was later the last Welsh realm to fall to the invasions of Edward I in 1283, who made his son ‘Prince of Wales’ in 1301.
Henry started his campaign in Wales after landing from France and used his Welsh ancestry to enlist support and protect his troops as they moved through Wales flying the red dragon of Cadwallader on the white and green Tudor colours towards Bosworth field and the forthcoming battle on 22 August 1485.
It was Henry’s dragon banner that drew King Richard III attention in the battle. On seeing the banner Richard led his Knights in the last mounted charge by knights at the end of the age of medieval chivalry in Britain. In this fateful charge Richard killed the Henry’s Dragon standard bearer causing it to fall to the ground. Richard was then dismounted, surrounded and slain while bravely fighting his enemies, reportedly by a Welsh soldier with a halberd. In thanks for his victory Henry Tudor (Henry VII) carried the Red Dragon of Cadwallader along with the cross of St George to support his claim to be a true representative of the ancient kings of Britain and served as his tribute to the Welsh people who had made his victory possible.
Though Henry used the dragon flag in his Royal Navy, the dragon did not become the official symbol of Wales till 1807 when it was included in the Royal Badge of Wales. This was modified in 1953 to include the motto
Y Ddraig Goch Ddyry Cychwyn. Though the dragon flag was used in the investiture of the Prince of Wales in 1911, it was not until 1959 when it was recognised as the national flag of Wales
St Patrick is the patron Saint of Ireland, and perhaps it's a bit of a mystery how he’s associated with the red saltire or red cross. He was not martyred, and it appears strange that he is now associated with a cross as a heraldic symbol.
St Patrick was not Irish, but was born on mainland Britain at some point (tales vary as to location - from in Scotland, Cumbria and Wales) and was enslaved and carried to Ireland.
He escaped slavery after six years and returned home to become a missionary, whence he returned to the country he had been a child slave and was instrumental in converting the Irish to Christianity and spreading message of Christ there
St Patrick is more associated with the shamrock, which is derived from the Irish word for
little clover. It is said that St Patrick used the shamrock as a simple way to explain the Holy Trinity and how the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit could all exist as separate elements of the same entity. The shamrock has now become the symbol of Christianity in Ireland and of Ireland itself.
The red saltire appears to have its origins in the crest of the Irish FitzGerald dynasty, which has a red cross. The FitzGeralds had been a predominant family in Ireland since the time of Henry II as part of England's efforts to subjugate Ireland.
During the time of the Cromwellian Protectorate the Harp was used to represent Ireland but was reportedly ordered removed by James I as he found it offensive.
Time progressed and 1783 saw King George III create the Order of St Patrick which used the red saltire for the emblem for the order. It then proved a convenient emblem to incorporate into Queen Anne’s new flag of the Union in 1801.
Southern Ireland duly separated from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and 1922 saw the Order of St Patrick discontinued and the creation of the Irish Free State with its own flag of Ireland or the Irish Tricolour.
The European flag symbolises both the EU and represents the identity and unity of Europe. The use of the flag is been controlled jointly by the Council of Europe and the European Union.
It is a circle of 12 gold stars on a blue background, standing for the ideals of unity, solidarity and harmony among the peoples of Europe.
The circle is a symbol of unity but number of stars has nothing to do with the number of member countries.
Like the Union Jack, there is a right and a wrong way to fly it (you need to look at the stars!)
The history of the flag goes back to 1950, following the formation of the Council of Europe. A committee was set up to look into the creation of a European Flag. After much discussion it was agreed to be a blue flag with a circle of stars, more discussion cut the number of stars from fifteen (the number of members of the Council of Europe) to twelve. It was approved and adopted on the 8th December 1955.
The formation of the EU grew with the Treaty of Rome in 25th March 1957, creating amongst other European communities, the EEC. The UK, though a founder member of the Council of Europe, was not a member of any of these new European communities. Following the Merger Treaty, or the Brussels Treaty, effective 1st July 1967, the various european communities combined, including the EEC, to form the EC. This time, from a UK perspective, is noted for the rejection of UK membership of the Communities by the French President Charles De Gaulle in 1963 and in 1967.
1st January 1973 saw the first expansion of the EC from its six founding countries (Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, France, Netherlands and West Germany) to include the UK, Ireland and Denmark. The UK voted in a referendum in June 1975 to join European Community (The Common Market).
Further expansion of the EC occurred in 1st January 1981, when Greece joined followed by Portugal and Spain on 1st January 1986. During this time, on 11th April 1983, the flag of the Council of Europe was adopted by the European Parliament as the flag of the EC and the European Council formally adopted it after seeking permission from the Council of Europe and first displayed it on 29th May 1986.
The EC evolved into the EU after the twelve EC members signed the Maastricht Treaty 7 February 1992 which took effect in 1993. The EU adopted the European flag. The next 10 years saw the entry of Austria, Sweden and Finland into the EU on 1st January 1995 and the creation of the Euro in 1995 with its entry into circulation on 1st January 2002 in members in the Eurozone.
The EU further expanded on 1st May 2004 to include 10 new members (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia). 1st January 2007 saw Bulgaria and Romania accepted into the EU with Croatia on 1st July 2013.
- English Public Law By David Feldman, 2009
- Church and state through the centuries : a collection of historic documents with commentaries By Sidney Z. Ehler, John B. Morrall, 1967
- British flags, their early history, and their development at sea; with an account of the origin of the flag as a national device by Perrin, William Gordon, 1922
- Union Jack: The Story of the British Flag By Nick Groom, 2006
- Historian's Guide to Early British Maps: A Guide to the Location of Pre-1900 Maps of the British Isles Preserved in the United Kingdom and Ireland By Helen Wallis, Anita McConnell, 1995
- Irish Civilization: An Introduction By Arthur Aughey, John Oakland, 2013
- Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the High Court of the Admiralty commencing with the judgements of the Right Hon Sir William Scott, Michaelmas Term,1798, Volume 3 By Chr. Robinson , LL.D Advocate, 1810
- London: The Selden Map and the Making of a Global City, 1549-1689 By Robert K. Batchelor, 2014
- The New Annual Register or General Repository of History, Politics and Literature for the Year 1801 By Andrew Kippis, 1802
- Renewal and Reformation: Wales c1415-1642 By Glanmor Williams, 1987
- The Armies of Crécy and Poitiers Christopher Rothero, 1981
- Legions of Rome: The definitive history of every Roman legion By Stephen Dando-Collins, 2010
- The Battlefield Site - The Battle of Bosworth , 22nd August 1485
- About Religion, Christianity - Different Forms of Crucifixions
- The European Union - The European Flag
- Hansard, 14th July 1908 - The Earl of Crewe speech on the flying of the Union Jack
- BBC - On this day 6th June 1975 - UK embraces Europe in referendum
- BBC - Religions - St Patrick
- BBC - Wales History - An official emblem
- BBC - Wales History - The origins of the flag
- BBC - Wales History - The dragon and war
- Catholic onLine - St Andrew
- Christianity.com - Adrian, the Only English Pope - Dan Graves, MSL
- Data Wales - The Welsh Flag
- The Flag Institute - British Flags
- The Flag Institute - The Union Jack or the Union Flag?
- Ancient Armour and Weapons in Europe by John Hewitt
- Heraldica.org - Royal Styles and Titles in England and Great Britain
- Historic UK.com - St Patrick - The most celebrated Welshman in America?
- Historic UK.com - The Red Dragon of Wales
- National Trust - A tale of two dragons...at Beddgelert
- New Advent - St Andrew
- Parliament - Act of Union 1707 - Union of the Crowns
- Royal.gov - The British Monarchy - Order of St Patrick
- Royal.gov - The British Monarchy - Union Jack
- Scottish Archive Network - St Andrew
- Scottish Places - St Andrews
- Archive.com - SOME FEUDAL LORDS AND THEIR SEALS MCCCJ WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY LORD HOWARD DE WALDEN -Barons' Letter to Pope Boniface
- Wikipedia - FitzGerald Dynasty
- Wikipedia - Flag of England
- Wikipedia - Flag of Europe
- Wikipedia - Flag of Scotland
- Wikipedia - Geoffrey of Monmouth
- Wikipedia - Historia Brittonum
- Wikipedia - Mabinogion
- Wikipedia - Saint Patrick
- Wikipedia - Saltire
- Wikipedia - Union Jack
- Wikipedia - Welsh Dragon