United Kingdom UK Flag

United Kingdom
UK Flag


Description of the United Kingdom (UK) Flag - The Union Jack
  • As the above picture of the United Kingdom (UK) Flag indicates the colors of the United Kingdom (UK) Flag, or Union Jack, are red, white and blue - the actual background, or field, is blue
  • According to Ancient and Heraldic traditions much symbolism is associated with colors. The colors on the United Kingdom (UK) Flag represent the following:
    • White - peace and honesty
    • Red - hardiness, bravery, strength & valour
    • Blue - vigilance, truth and loyalty, perseverance & justice
  • All Flag pictures depict flags flying, from the viewer's point of view, from left to right

  • The shape and flag ratio of the United Kingdom (UK) Flag is described as 1:2 ( length twice the height )
  • The United Kingdom flag pictures the crosses of the Patron Saints of England, Scotland and Ireland on a blue field as follows:
    • The red cross of Saint George,  the patron saint of England, edged in white
    • Superimposed on the diagonal red cross of Saint Patrick the patron saint of Ireland
    • Superimposed on the diagonal white cross of Saint Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland
  • To fly the United Kingdom flag the correct way up, the broad white band of St. Andrew should be above the red band of St. Patrick in the upper-hoist canton
  • The Meaning & History of the the Union Jack, or given its correct title the Union Flag, is the national flag of the United Kingdom. The name "Union Jack"  derives from its early use as a 'jack' which is the small flag flown at the bow of a ship
  • The red saltire cross attributed to St. Patrick was added to represent Ireland however St Patrick was not a martyr and therefore no cross was ever ascribed to him
  • The red cross, attributed to St. Patrick, is in actual fact, part of the heraldic device of the Fitzgerald family crest
  • The Fitzgerald family were sent by the English King Henry II of England (1154-1189) to suppress the Irish in 1172
  • This flag has never been used as an emblem of Ireland by the Irish



Canton - Flag Terminology

Flag Terminology - Did you Know ?
  • The design and description uses specific flag terminology based on Heraldic principles
  • Animal blazons should always appear with the heads facing the flag - staff side
  • The Study of the Flags is called Vexillology
  • Your interest in flags makes you a Vexillologist!
  • Increase your knowledge - Play the Flag Quiz
Terminology & Etiquette in United Kingdom (UK) Flag display
  • Hoist - the act or function of raising the United Kingdom (UK) flag, as on a rope
  • Half Staff or Half Mast - the United Kingdom (UK) flag is hoisted to half of the potential height of the flag pole to denote grief and mourning
    • Performed by first raising the United Kingdom (UK) flag to the top, then lowering the United Kingdom (UK) Flag halfway
  • Distress - denoted by flying the United Kingdom (UK) flag upside-down
  • Manner of hoisting - The United Kingdom (UK) flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously
  • No disrespect should be shown to the United Kingdom (UK) flag
  • The United Kingdom (UK) flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit the Flag to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way
  • The United Kingdom (UK) flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing on the flag of any nature
  • The United Kingdom (UK) flag should be hoisted first and lowered last
  • International Flag relating to United Kingdom (UK) Flag usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace
  • We hope that the presentation of facts and information regarding United Kingdom (UK) Flag Etiquette has provided a useful resource
Flag History & Evolution:
  • The idea of flying a flag grew from the requirements of ancient warfare and the battlefield
  • Shields were painted with emblems to identify Friend or Foe
  • Warriors needed to know where their leaders were - the custom of carrying a pole was adopted
  • An emblem such as a shield, animal or religious device was attached to the pole for identification
  • The emblems were also used for identity and to cover suits of armour - Coats of Arms  were born
  • These emblems were the forerunners of modern flags
  • The Romans were the first to use a cloth flag - they were square and fastened to cross bars at the end of spears - the idea of fastening a flag to the side of a pole soon followed
  • The strict rules of Heraldry are still used when designing an emblem and creating anew flag
United Kingdom (UK) Flag Etiquette
  • United Kingdom (UK) Flag etiquette is very strict and is is essential that Flag protocols and rules are followed correctly
  • Basic Flag Etiquette applies to all nations, including United Kingdom (UK) as follows:
  • Etiquette relating to the order of precedence for the flag
    • National Flag of United Kingdom (UK)
    • State Flag of United Kingdom (UK)
    • Military Flag of United Kingdom (UK) (in order of creation date)
    • Other Flag of United Kingdom (UK)
  • The United Nations uses alphabetical order when presenting a national flag including the United Kingdom (UK) Flag. Their flag etiquette ensures that no one country's flag has precedence over another country's flag
  • The National flag of United Kingdom (UK) should never be flown above another national flag on the same staff as this would suggest superiority, or conversely, inferiority of one flag, or Nation, over another
  • The United Kingdom (UK) flag should never be allowed to drag along the ground
  • A tattered or faded flag of United Kingdom (UK) should be removed and replaced with a new flag
  • Due care and consideration must be taken to ensure that the United Kingdom (UK) flag is always flown the correct way up
  • A Flag of United Kingdom (UK), when in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem of display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning in private with all due care and respect

National Flags of the World Map

United Kingdom

Location: Western Europe, islands including
the northern one-sixth of the island of
Ireland between the North Atlantic
Ocean and the North Sea,
northwest of France


United Kingdom (UK)

  • Land Size of United Kingdom (UK) : 244,820 sq km
  • Climate / Weather of United Kingdom (UK) : temperate; moderated by prevailing southwest winds over the North Atlantic Current; more than one-half of the days are overcast
  • Population of United Kingdom (UK) : 60,270,708 (July 2004 est.)
  • Former Name(s) : N/A
  • Capital City of United Kingdom (UK) : London
  • GDP of United Kingdom (UK) : $1.664 trillion (2003 est.)
  • Main Industries :  machine tools, electric power equipment, automation equipment, railroad equipment, shipbuilding, aircraft, motor vehicles and parts, electronics and communications equipment, metals, chemicals, coal, petroleum, paper and paper products, food processing, textiles, clothing, and other consumer goods
  • Currency of United Kingdom (UK) : British pound (GBP)
  • Agricultural products : cereals, oilseed, potatoes, vegetables; cattle, sheep, poultry; fish
  • Main Colors of United Kingdom (UK) Flag : Red, white and blue
Concise History of United Kingdom and the UK Flag (Union Jack)

  • Queen Elizabeth I named the son of Mary Queen of Scots (her cousin) as her successor
  • James VI of Scotland therefore also became James I of England and on April 12, 1606
  • The first 'Union Flag' was created by combining the red cross of St. George of England and the saltire of St. Andrew of Scotland
  • Wales had been conquered by Edward I of England (1239 - 1307) and became incorporated into England under the Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284. Wales was therefore considered part of the kingdom of England and the Welsh flag never became part of the Union Flag
  • The Union Flag was originally a royal flag rather than a national flag
  • The new Union flag was only for use at sea by the military vessels of England and Scotland to show common allegiance in the two countries to the monarch
  • The term "ensign" is a flag that is flown (as by a ship) as the symbol of nationality
  • In 1649 - the execution of King Charles I and dissolution of the monarchy
  • 1649 - Oliver Cromwell decreed that the use of the Union Flag was discontinued because it’s purpose was to show allegiance to a crown which no longer existed
  • In 1660 the monarchy was restored and the Union flag was used specifically in the king's ships
  • 1707 - England and Scotland were officially united in the Act of Union and the flag became "the ensign armorial of the United Kingdom"
  • January 1, 1801 - Act of Union with Ireland - The red saltire cross, attributed to St. Patrick, was added to represent Ireland
  • The Union Jack has never been made an official civil flag by any legal process
  • It has become the British National Flag through usage, custom & practice
  • In 1908  it was stated in Parliament that "the Union Jack should be regarded as the National flag"
  • In 1933 the Home Secretary stated “... the Union Flag is the national flag and may properly be flown by any British subject on land”

English Flag

The Flag and Nation of United Kingdom (UK)


We hope that the presentation of facts and information regarding the Flag and Country of United Kingdom (UK) has provided a useful educational resource.


To improve your knowledge of Flags and Vexillology still further check out the Flag and Nations Index and test your knowledge with our interactive, multi-choice, picture-based Flag Trivia Quiz Game - it's fast and it's fun!


United Kingdom UK Flag

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