February 17, 2003

Flag and Country

"No, that is the Confederate Naval Jack. It is not the Confederate Battle Flag. Battle flags were square. And this flag was not the National Flag of the Confederate States". A class mate had just soundly corrected our prof who was about to use "THE" (misnamed) Confederate flag as an example of a symbol that 'signified' some very negative things.

"The Naval Jack was flown on ships in port. That's all it was. The Battle Flag that is square shares the central St. Andrews Cross and was the battle flag for the successful Northern Virginia Army, and later the rectangular form came to be associated with the southern states. It was expropriated after the war by groups that went on to become the KKK, and it acquired its racial connations thereafter. Those were not associated initially with this symbol." Katie knows her stuff.

Man, I actually came away from class with something; and after spending a while browsing around the world of flags this afternoon, I stand somewhat informed. Here is a nice display with explanations of the various flags of the Confederacy as they evolved.

The X-shaped St Andrews cross takes its origins from the days of Christ's disciples (according to one story). St. Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland and the white cross against a pale blue background is the national flag of that country.

This cross was incorporated with modification as the "Southern Cross" in the Confederate Naval Jack and other similar flags. A very strong contingent of Scots-Irish had migrated to the southern tier of states, shunning their former enemies the English who settled predominately in "NEW ENGLAND", so it is not surprising that they would incorporate this emblem in their flags. (

Another example of how flags evolve from earlier flags: Consider the Union Jack of the "United" Kingdom.Three crosses: the Cross of St. George (England), Cross of St. Andrew (Scotland) and Cross of St. Patrick (Ireland) go together to form the Union Jack. Fascinating! Maybe I need to get out more. Ya think?

But you probably already knew all this. You probably listened in class instead of drawing caricatures of your history teacher, or counting her "ummm"s and "uhhh"s like I was doing. I sorta figured that'd come back to haunt me.

Posted by fred1st at February 17, 2003 06:58 PM | TrackBack
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