BY HUGO RICHARDS
This article is the first in a fun, ongoing series explaining flag history.
The Union Jack, or Union Flag is well-known as the national flag of the United Kingdom. Around 1674 the British flag became officially known as the Union Jack only when mounted on a warship. It should always be known as the Union Flag when flown on land.
The Union Jack is composed of the cross of St. George, the saltire of St. Andrew, and the saltire of St. Patrick (a saltire is a diagonal cross as seen in the picture to the right). These are the patron saints of England, Scotland, and Ireland, respectively. When the crowns of these three kingdoms were united in the 1600s, the flags of the patron saints of England, Ireland and Scotland were incorporated into the Union Jack, to show one union. This is shown in the diagram on the right.
You might also spot the Union Jack in the designs of other flags, including the flags of Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. For a short while (1775-1777) the Union Jack was even in the flag of the United States!