Cross of St. George

Circa: 1492 A.D.

White field with large red cross. (C4)

For centuries the Cross of St. George was the national banner of England. Earlier, in the City States of Italy during the Middle Ages, the flag was developed, in order to symbolize the state itself since there was no King or personal ruler.

Genoa adopted St. George as its patron saint about the year 1100. St. George was a Roman soldier of the 3rd century about whom we know very little, except that he met death as a Christian martyr, and is the hero of the legendary feat of slaying the dragon.

When the English Crusaders came to Italy, his story captivated them. They carried it back to England where gradually the red cross of St. George displace earlier banners.

King Henry VII of England sent John Cabot to explore the new world after news that Columbus had discovered land on the other side of the Atlantic. Cabot set sail in a small ship with a crew of only 18 men in May of 1497. He discovered land somewhere along the coast of Newfoundland, or Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

This English flag was the first flag, other than the Viking flag, flown over the continent of North America.

Even after the adoption of the British Union flag, the Cross of St. George was still used. Thus it was seen aboard the English ship, the Mayflower, as the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in 1620.