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Flag of Wales: History and Meaning

Flag of Wales: History and Meaning

One of the oldest flags in human history is the flag of Wales. Meaning and history of this flag can be gleaned through this Historyplex article. Read on for some interesting facts about the Welsh national flag.
Tanmay Tikekar
Did You Know?
The use of a dragon as a major component of a flag is also present in the design of the flag of Wales's capital city: Cardiff.
The flag of Wales is a rectangle in the ratio 3:5. It is divided longitudinally into two halves: The upper one white and the lower one green. A red dragon adorns the flag, facing the flag post. In terms of heraldry, the dragon is 'passant'. The design of the dragon is not standardized, and many variations upon the basic template are in use.

The color of the Welsh flag have a major significance. The meaning of the Welsh flag is thus: The white half stands for peace and honesty, the green half stands for joy and hope, and the red dragon signifies valor and bravery.

Like the flag of Scotland, but unlike the flag of England, the Welsh national flag is an official national flag passed by the Welsh government. It is flown on Welsh government buildings and is used in other events where Wales participates independently of the other countries in the United Kingdom. This includes soccer and rugby (rugby union), in the latter of which Wales have a considerable international presence.

The national flag of Wales has no presence in the Union Jack, the flag of the United Kingdom. The flags of England, Scotland, and Ireland form the Union Jack. The reason for this is that Wales was annexed to England in 1535, and is represented by St. George's Cross, the English flag.

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Design of the flag of Wales


The complete form of the flag is a relatively recent invention, originating from the Tudors. However, the red dragon has been associated with Wales for centuries, with the most probable source of the close relationship being Roman invaders, who brought the dragon symbol to Wales during their occupation of Great Britain.

The green and white stripes were added by the Tudors between the late 15th and early 17th centuries. The colors symbolized the leek, a national symbol of Wales, along with being the colors of the Tudor House. The dragon is the red dragon of Cadwaladr. The flag is known after the red dragon: Y Ddraig Goch, which means 'the red dragon' in Welsh. It is also known as Baner Cymru, Cymru being the Welsh name for Wales.

The association of a dragon with strength and bravery was common in all of Great Britain at the time, and many kings of the time are said to have included it in some form on their flags or coats of arms. The legendary King Arthur is also said to have had a dragon as his battle standard. Henry V also had a dragon ensign in the Battle of Agincourt.

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The flag of Wales

The flag was officially made the national flag in 1959.

Flag of St. David's

Another flag that is often used to unite Welsh nationalists is the flag of St. David. It is a yellow cross on a black rectangle, in the same dimensions as St. George's Cross. It is mainly used by the Christian Party, who disapprove of the use of the Red Dragon. The flag is widely flown on St. David's Day.

flag of saint david
Design of the flag of St. David

Coloring Page

Here are some images of the Welsh flag that the tiny tots will love to paint.

Click on the images to obtain a printable copy.

wales flag
wales flag on pole
flag of saint david