History of the St George England flag

St George (England) flag: This is a brief history of the flag, it origins and why it was chosen to represent the country. 

The Flag of England

How does the English flag look? It’s a red horizontal and vertical cross against a white background, seemingly more associated with hospitals today than in a country. Some people from outside the United Kingdom tend to associate England with the Union Jack. It is not, however, the flag of England.

Why is that? Because England is no longer an official country – it became a devolved nation in the United Kingdom in 1707. It followed the Union Act – where the kingdoms of Scotland and England became one. The combining of countries created a new flag and a new global identity.

Today English flags are still commonly used. As England still competes in popular sports such as football, rugby, and cricket as a devolved nation – the flag flies high in sporting events and continues to have historical significance. The lifespan of the English flag is quite intriguing.

The History of the English Flag

The English flag derives from the cross of Saint George. He was a patron military saint that died refusing to give up his Christian faith. During the 11th-century crusades, Saint George’s legends had been shared to inspire English soldiers who took on his emblem in the fields of battle.

Richard the Lionheart is recorded to have taken on the red cross on white background as a nationalistic identity for England that was further wielded in battles and conflicts to come. There were centuries of English flag flying as an independent, God-loving nation – but things changed in the 18th century.

James I, king of Scotland – became King of England. He passed an Act of Union through parliament that made Scotland and England one country and combined colors. The white cross of Scotland with the red English one. Henceforth, the Union Jack became the identity of the newly formed Great Britain. The Irish cross was incorporated into the British flag as the state was added to the Union in 1801.

Where Do You See the English Flag Today?

Since the 19th century, the English flag has served very little use in an official capacity. That’s not to say English flags are still seen today as a flag of modern and past significance.

England continues to compete as an independent entity in sports. Fans will always don their Saint George’s crosses when supporting their teams in games such as football, rugby, cricket, and more.

It is quite unusual for a devolved nation to enter official international competitions – but England’s long history as a country and contributor to sporting development – exceptions are made.

There remains a lot of pride in each devolved nation of the United Kingdom as well – with each having its patron saint day celebrated widely. On Saint George’s day, you will see hordes of red and white flags on display celebrating their identity as an English person.

If you are interested in buying one of our International flags, you can always take a look at our online store.

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