On this day in history in 1606, the Union Jack was created.
The Union Flag is sometimes known as the Union Jack after its creator, James I of England, James VI of Scots. Jack comes from the Latin for James, Jacobus.
James became King of Scots at one year old when his mother Mary Queen of Scots was deposed by rebel Scottish Lords. James patiently waited another thirty-five years until his aunt, Elizabeth I of England died and he succeeded to the throne of England.
James wanted to unite his two kingdoms but the Parliaments of the two sovereign nations opposed it vigorously. James persistently asked his Parliaments to bring about a plan for union but they continually came up with objections. Meanwhile, James did what he could to effect a unification. Firstly, he declared himself ‘King of Great Britain’, a term he created for his new kingdom. James also minted a new coin, which could be used in either England or Scotland. He named it the ‘Unite’. It was worth five shillings in Sterling and three pounds in Scots. (The Scottish currency had been greatly devalued during James reign in Scotland).
Most importantly, James created the new flag overlaying the English cross of St George on the Scottish cross of St Andrew to form a new National Flag. He rejected other designs suggested by his advisors on the grounds that they were not ‘united’. The Union Flag was augmented in 1801 when Ireland became part of The United Kingdom.
James never saw the union of England and Scotland. His great granddaughter, Queen Anne, brought about the Union in 1707.
How the Union Flag was created.
Alternative plans for a new flag.
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©2006 Ward’s Book of Days