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why do wales have a dragon on their flag

Although an integral part of the United Kingdom, Wales is not represented on the national flag, or, more popularly known as the Union Jack. The proud and ancient battle standard of the Welsh is The Red Dragon ( Y Ddraig Goch ) and consists of a red dragon, passant (standing with one foot raised), on a green and white background. As with any ancient symbol, the appearance of the dragon has been adapted and changed over the years, and hence several different variations exist. The current flag was officially adopted in 1959, and is based on an old royal badge used by
since Tudor times. The red dragon itself has been associated with Wales for centuries, and as such, the flag is claimed to be the oldest national flag still in use. But why a dragon? The answer to that particular question is lost in history and myth. Roman Cavalry Draco One legend recalls Romano-British soldiers carrying the red dragon (Draco) to Rome on their banners in the fourth-century, but it could be even older than that. It is considered that the Welsh kings of Aberffraw first adopted the dragon in the early fifth century in order to symbolise their power and authority after the Romans withdrew from Britain. Later, around the seventh century, it became known as the Red Dragon of Cadwaladr, king of Gwynedd from 655 to 682.

Geoffrey of Monmouth in his Historia Regum Britanniae, written between 1120 and 1129, links the dragon with the Arthurian legends, including Uther Pendragon the father of Arthur whose name translates as Dragon Head. Geoffreyвs account also tells of the prophecy of Myrddin (or Merlin) of a long fight between a red dragon and a white dragon, symbolising the historical struggle between the Welsh (red dragon) and the English (white dragon). The oldest recorded use of the dragon to symbolise Wales however, is from the Historia Brittonum, written by the historian Nennius around 820. The red dragon was even said to have been used as the British standard at the Battle of Crecy in 1346, when the, dressed in their beloved green and white, played such a crucial role in defeating the French. The coat of arms of Henry VII with the Welsh Dragon supporting the royal arms of England And although raised the dragon standard in 1400 as a symbol of revolt against the English Crown, the dragon was brought to England by the, the Welsh dynasty that held the English throne from 1485 to 1603. It signified their direct descent from one of the noble families of Wales. The green and white stripes of the flag were additions of Henry VII, the first Tudor king, representing the colours of his standard.

During reign the red dragon on a green and white background became a favourite emblem on Royal Navy ships. As the national flag of Wales, the red dragon appears to have regained popularity in the early part of the twentieth century, when it was used for the 1911 Caernarfon Investiture of Edward, Prince of Wales. It wasn t until 1959 however, that it became officially recognised as the national flag of the principality. The Red Dragon now flies proudly over public and private buildings throughout Wales, and thousands still cross the border into England every other year, when the two nations meet for their вhistoric struggleв on the battlefield known as Twickenham. Welshmen, women and children carrying the dragon as a symbol of pride in their history and culture. Fire-breathing dragons are a staple of folklore the world over throw in a knight and a princess and you have yourself a fabulous fairytale. Wales has a healthy collection of tangled tales relating to warring warriors, kings, dragons and princesses of course, but although the dragon has been a part of the Welsh flag since 1959, what s the story behind the legend? Rugby fans on their way to the Principality Stadium, Long before the faithful old hound Beddgelert was slain in a case of mistaken identity, Beddgelert (the place) was a stomping ground for Vortigern a Celtic King, who was looking for a spot to build a castle.

Though Vortigern quite liked the look of Dinas Emrys, he encountered mystical goings on when he tried to build his fortress. He was advised to sacrifice a young boy (who turned out to be Merlin), who then warned him that his chosen site for a castle was above an underground lake where two dragons lay sleeping. Vortigen s men dug down and sure enough, found two dragons (one red, one white) who started to fight fiercely. The red dragon triumphed and was said to represent Vortigen s people and (according to Geoffrey of Monmouth) was a prophecy of the coming of King Arthur, whose father s name Uther Pendragon translates as Dragon s Head. And if you don t believe us, a 1945 excavation of the Dinas Emrys site reveled evidence of a lake and fortress dating back to Vortigen s time. just saying careful where you roam in Wales (remember: let sleeping dragons lie). A view across Dinas Emrys, But really. why was the dragon chosen to feature on the Welsh flag? It has actually appeared on the battle flags of various British soldiers on their way to Rome since the 4th century and was later adopted by 5th century Welsh kings keen to show their authority following the Roman withdrawal.

Wales proper flag debut though could probably be considered during the battle of Bosworth field in England. It was here that Henry Tudor defeated Richard III. This Pembroke-born English king would then go on to reign over England for 24 years as Henry VII. Though the Welsh dragon faded in popularity somewhat and wasn t featured on the Union Flag of 1606, Queen Elizabeth declared in 1959 that that only the Red Dragon on a green and white flag should be flown on government buildings in Wales. Now of course you ll see it on badges, buttons, bumper stickers and painted on the faces of eager rugby fans at rugby internationals. There really is no flag quite like it and we think it s one of the best. so there. St Davids Day Parade 2014, by Fancy spotting some dragons of your own? Enjoy this? Share it with friends Your next steps. Roman ruins, concentric castles, steam trains industrial mines, Wales is the place to be inspired. Ghost-haunted lakes, defeated giants and wizards: myths and legends await you around every corner. From Viking beginnings to craftsmen, harpists and sunbathers, north Wales has quite a history.

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