Flag of Jersey

Flag of Jersey
Country Jersey
Population 97,857 (2011)
Area (Km²) 118,2
Сontinent Europe
Emoji 🇯🇪
  hex rgb
#CF142B 207, 20, 43
#FFD700 255, 215, 0
#FFFFFF 255, 255, 255

The Jersey flag was adopted on June 12, 1979 and first officially raised on April 1, 1981. The flag has a white background with a diagonal red cross across the flag, above which is the golden crown of the Plantagenets (a red shield with three leopards of Normandy).

Meaning of the flag of Jersey

The flag of Jersey consists of:

  • The diagonal red cross of St. Patrick, the symbol of the patron saint of Ireland;
  • The Jersey coat of arms. Three golden lions, identical to the royal coat of arms of England, combined with a crown symbolize the loyalty of the Jersey residents to the House of Plantagenet.

The Plantagenets were a dynasty of English monarchs who ruled from the mid-12th century to the early 15th century. The term "Plantagenet" comes from a flower called the broomstick (Latin: Planta genista). It was the emblem of Henry II, the first English king of this dynasty. At the beginning of the 12th century, Joffrey of Anjou married Matilda (the last direct descendant of the English throne) and became Duke of Normandy in 1128. He adopted the symbols that were to become the colors of Normandy, namely yellow and red, on his coat of arms. Henry II Plantagenet (1133-1189) chose a coat of arms with 2 leopards. His son, Richard the Lionheart, added a 3rd leopard. Three golden leopards are clearly depicted on the coat of arms of Richard the Lionheart, Duke of Normandy and King of England, in 1198. This is how the coat of arms still looks today - three yellow leopards on a red background.

Legends about the origin of the Jersey flag

The flag, which has been officially used since 1981, has the Jersey coat of arms crowned with the Plantagenet crown. Before that, the flag was a simple red diagonal cross of St. Patrick on a white background. 

Legends about the origin of the Jersey flag and historical facts. History of the Jersey flag

Historical research has not been able to establish the origin of this flag. Among the legends is the story that an erroneous translation from Dutch of the word "Erse" ("Irish") on a Dutch map mistakenly labeled "Ierse" (Jersey) with a red cross of St. Patrick. However, French Admiralty charts show that Jersey used a red diagonal cross even before the adoption of this symbol for the Order of St. Patrick and its inclusion in the modern Union flag.

Some argue that the red cross is of Norman origin. The red cross of the Order of St. Patrick was borrowed in the late 18th century from the heraldry of the Hiberno-Norman Fitzgerald family. If this is an old Norman symbol, then the Jersey red cross may have the same origin. Jersey, along with the other Channel Islands, was granted neutrality by the Pope during the war between England and France. Since they could trade freely with both sides, Jersey ships needed a way to distinguish themselves from English ships. So they rotated the cross of St. George.

In the second half of the 20th century, as Jersey gained more weight on the international stage, many felt that the flag was not distinctive enough to represent the island, that there was too much confusion with the St. Patrick's Cross as an Irish symbol, and that it was adopted as one of the international maritime signal flags. However, many wanted to keep the traditional cross, which has been used since time immemorial. A variant of the flag with three leopards, the island's heraldic symbol, was also proposed.
Thus, the current flag can be seen as a compromise between different trends. Although the flag is flown in Jersey, the three leopards are much more widely used as a national symbol of the government and civilian population.