In a small paragraph, how would you describe as concisely as you can the flag known as the Union Jack?I want to get samples from paragraph to show my students different ways that they could answer...

In a small paragraph, how would you describe as concisely as you can the flag known as the Union Jack?

I want to get samples from paragraph to show my students different ways that they could answer the question- Thanks!

Expert Answers
marilynn07 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Union Jack is a flag that is commonly flown from the bow of a ship to indicate nationality. "On 12 April 1606, the National Flags of Scotland and England were united for use at sea, thus making the first Union 'Jack'." ( The Union Jack has had several variations beginning in 1801 and currently appears in the same form as the Union Flag.

The British Flag appears as 3 crosses in red and white on a field of blue. The White cross of St. Andrew and the Red cross of St. George. Richard I of England introduced the Cross of St. George on a field of white in 1194.  Scotland is represented by a diagonal white cross (called a saltire) of St. Andrew on a field of blue. When James VI of Scotland became James I of England, the two national flags were combined with a diagonal  and right angled white cross, and the red cross of St. George was then laid over the white right angled cross. "28th July, 1707, during the reign of Queen Anne, this flag was by royal proclamation made the National flag of Great Britain, for use ashore and afloat." (  Ireland is represented by the diagonal red cross of St. Patrick on a field of white. When Ireland entered the Union, the red cross of St. Patrick super-imposed over the diagonal cross of Scotland. "The cross of St. Patrick was inserted so the position given to St. Andrew's Cross in one quarter was the same as that given to the Irish one in the diagonally opposite quarter; in heraldry this is known as "counterchanging"  (

The short answer would be that the Union Jack or British flag is a combination of the flags of England, Scotland and Ireland. But one would have to know the history of the United Kingdom in order to picture the flag.

hi1954 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

These are excellent answers, although it should perhaps be pointed out that Ireland did not join the Union, or certainly not voluntarily nor by decision of the people or any legislative body of the people of Ireland.  Beginning with the intervention of Richard fitz Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Pembroke (known as "Strongbow") in Irish affairs in the 12th century, the British gradually seized control over some centuries.  The Act of Union was forced on Ireland, and continued until the Anglo-Irish War of 1916-1922, ending in the liberation of the majority of the country.  Ireland did not have a flag until the 1916 Rebellion, and the flag at that time and later has no cross on it.

In addition, the crosses of St. Andrew of Scotland and St. George of England are the two crosses on the flag.  Wales was long a conquered country (as was Cornwall) by the time of the Union of England and Scotland under King James I, which is what the flag represents.  The red bars on the cross of St. Andrew were added after the Anglo-Irish war to represent St. Patrick and the continued union with Northern Ireland.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I would show students a picture of the flag. The answers described above or very detailed, but probably too sophisticated for most students. I would focus on how the flag represents unity, at least in terms of idealism. I would also explain what all of the colors mean too, and the concept of a family crest.
dominion | Student

The Union Jack flag represents the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The flag represents the countries of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The flag is made up of three Crosses: The St George Cross of England, St Andrew’s cross of Scotland and the St Patrick’s of Cross Ireland. It is worth pointing out that the name Union Jack is actually incorrect, unless the flag is being flown from a JackStaff which is the flagpole on the bow of a ship. The correct name for the flag is the Union Flag; however the Union Jack is what it has being known as for a very long time.