Thursday 23 April 2015

National Pride

Flag of St George
There was a time when one of the most defining identities people had was their nationality. For king, for country. Under the flag.

This island, Great Britain, has been a melting pot of identities as far back as history is recorded.

Angles, Saxons, Romans, Vikings, French and many more besides.

After the Battle of Hastings in 1066 national identities began to coalesce and merge. Wales became part of the United Kingdom first in 1536, then Scotland in 1707, and finally Northern Ireland in 1922 (although previously the Kingdom of Ireland had been part of the Union since 1800).

Union Flag
We fly the Union Flag; which combines the flags of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland; at the time of the design Wales had been unified with England for long enough that St David didn't get a look in.

The Sovereign nation (which issues our passports) is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Dragon
Nationality seems to undergo waves of expansion and contraction. There are distinct trends of coming together (Nineteenth/Twentieth Centuries) and pulling apart (Twentieth/Twenty-first Centuries).

St George
The bigger the world gets with fast, efficient transportation and free flow of information the  less national identity seems to matter to most people.

Once a year we still celebrate our national identity. For sovereign nations that is often the Country's saints day and for Republics it is the anniversary of the independence (either from Monarch or Empire) of that Country.

So in England we celebrate St George; installed as the Patron Saint of the Nation by Edward III St George isn't English (born in Palestine) and he never killed a dragon (he was a Roman soldier who was martyred).