Date: Wed, 03 Mar 1999 17:28:38 -0600
St. Andrew's cross is also called a Saltire.
The white on blue color scheme has to do with such a cross that appeared in clouds in the sky at a battle, signalling Scottish victory. I think it was the battle of Largs in 1263, http://www.scotclans.com/clans/1263.htm [19 June 1999, I stand corrected. It was ``in a battle near Athelstaneford in East Lothian, circa 832AD when Angus mac Fergus, King of the Picts, defeated the army of Athelstane, King of Northumbria.'']
The white on blue St. Andrew's cross flag is also called the Saltire.
As a flag, it is one of the oldest national flags in the world.
That's the Union Jack [when it flies from a ship; the Union Flag otherwise]. The third flag that was combined in it was the St. Patrick's Saltire of Ireland; Wales was considered part of England. The blue of the Union Flag was darkened about 1801 and again in 1869, and is much darker than the blue color of the Saltire. http://fotw.vexillum.com/flags/gb.html
What blue the Saltire should be is a subject of much debate. The best answer I've seen is to wait to see what flies outside the new Scottish Parliament House when it opens; the color of that flag will have been pedanted to death.
The Saltire also appears in many other flags, including those of Nova Scotia, Hawaii, and Georgia, all of which may be seen in http://sinclair.quarterman.org/
There is also the flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, http://fotw.vexillum.com/flags/us-anv.html and its derivative the Confederate battle flag.
All of these Saltires are derived by various historical processes from the Scottish Saltire. The Hawaii flag, for example, incorporates a Union Jack. And if you count all the other flags that do the same, such as Australia and New Zealand, the total number is probably rather large.
There are other Saltire flags that are probably not related, such as the red on white St. Patrick's Saltire Irish flag, and the green historical Polish flag.
Added 30 March 2000: Another saltire flag is that of Jamaica. Others include historical flags of Russia and Greece. Scotland was perhaps the first country to use a saltire in its flag, but not all saltire flags are derived from the Scottish Saltire.
Last changed: 00/05/28 14:35:02