FREEEEEDOM!!! or What does our Philippine Flag symbolize? Let’s trace it back all the way to Scotland in 832 A.D. (!!!)

Here’s an excerpt of the English translation of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence on June 12 1898 by Sulpicio Guevarra from the original Spanish:

“And, lastly, it was resolved unanimously that this Nation, already free and independent as of this day, must use the same flag which up to now is being used, whose design and colors are found described in the attached drawing, the white triangle signifying the distinctive emblem of the famous Society of the “Katipunan” which by means of its blood compact inspired the masses to rise in revolution; the three stars, signifying the three principal Islands of this Archipelago-Luzon, Mindanao, and Panay where this revolutionary movement started; the sun representing the gigantic steps made by the sons of the country along the path of Progress and Civilization; the eight rays, signifying the eight provinces-Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Laguna, and Batangas – which declared themselves in a state of war as soon as the first revolt was initiated; and the colors of Blue, Red, and White, commemorating the flag of the United States of North America, as a manifestation of our profound gratitude towards this Great Nation for its disinterested protection which it lent us and continues lending us.

So despite vehement revisionism, the text is clear that our Philippine Flag actually commemorates the American Flag!

But where did the American Flag get its inspiration? Apparently it was inspired from the flag of the British East India Company!

Compare the Grand Union Flag (left)  vs. The British East India Flag (right):

Grand Union Flag Grand Union Flag

Here’s a plausible origin:

“At the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776, the United States had no official national flag. The Grand Union Flag has historically been referred to as the “First National Flag”; although it has never had any official status, it was used early in the American Revolutionary War[37] by George Washington and formed the basis for the design of the first official U.S. flag. The origins of the design are unclear. It closely resembles the British East India Company flag of the same era, and an argument dating to Sir Charles Fawcett in 1937 holds that the Company flag indeed inspired the design.However, the Company flag could have from 9 to 13 stripes, and was not allowed to be flown outside the Indian Ocean.[39] Both flags could have been easily constructed by adding white stripes to a British Red Ensign, a common flag throughout Britain and its colonies.”

Obviously, the British East India flag is derived from the Union Jack. But where did the Union Jack come from? Here’s a good explanation of where the Union Jack originated:

“When King James VI of Scotland inherited the throne of England and Ireland and was crowned James I of England in 1603, the crowns of the Kingdom of England, (which included the Kingdom of Ireland and, since the 1535, Wales), and the Kingdom of Scotland were united in a personal union through him. Despite this Union of the Crowns, each kingdom remained an independent state.[9]

On 12 April 1606, a new flag to represent this regal union between England and Scotland was specified in a royal decree, according to which the flag of England, (also representing Wales by implication), (a red cross with a white background, known as St George’s Cross) and the flag of Scotland (a white saltire with a blue background, known as the Saltire or Saint Andrew’s Cross) would be ‘joined together according to the forme made by our heralds, and sent by Us to our Admerall to be published to our Subjects. forming the flag of Great Britain and first union flag. This royal flag was at first only for use at sea on civil and military ships of both Scotland and England. In 1634, King Charles I restricted its use to the monarch’s ships. (Land forces continued to use their respective national banners). After the Acts of Union 1707, the flag gained a regularised status, as “the ensign armorial of the Kingdom of Great Britain“, the newly created state. It was then adopted by land forces as well, although the blue field used on land-based versions more closely resembled that of the blue of the flag of Scotland.”

St. Patrick’s Cross of Ireland was later added to what we know as the Union Jack as this chart will show:

Flags of the Union Jack

Here’s another way of looking at it:


So actually we have The Flag of England or St. George’s Cross’ influence in our flag which dates all the way to Welsh War of 1275:

“The exact origins of the Flag of England are unclear and there are multiple supporting theories, though it is known that the flag appeared during the Middle Ages. It has been recorded that the first known recorded use of the St George’s Cross as an emblem (but not as a flag) of England was in a roll of account relating to the Welsh War of 1275.

But the most ancient influence on our flag is probably The Flag of Scotland or St. Andrew’s Cross which dates ALL THE WAY BACK TO 832 (!!!) – and it’s stuff of legend:

According to legend, in 832 A.D. King Óengus (II) (or King Angus) led the Picts and Scots in battle against the Angles under a king named Athelstan near modern-day Athelstaneford in East Lothian. King Angus and his men were surrounded and he prayed for deliverance. During the night Saint Andrew, who was martyred on a saltire cross, appeared to Angus and assured him of victory. On the following morning a white saltire against the background of a blue sky appeared to both sides. The Picts and Scots were heartened by this, but the Angles lost confidence and were defeated. This saltire design has been the Scottish flag ever since.”

Wow. So the next time you watch Braveheart and want to scream with Sir William Wallace his cry of “FREEEEEEEEEEDOOOOOOOOOOM!” feel free to do so and remember that he not only shared the same sentiments of the Katipunan but they were (in weird sort of way) were actually doing so under the same family of flags. Was that revisionist or what? Hehehe


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