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The first flag in North America may well
have been the Newfoundland Flag.
The flag was flown in L'Anse aux Meadows and was the Viking Vinland, which may have been "a triangular flag with a cross, depicting a raven with wings spread in upward flight." (ENL)
The first English flag was carried by John Cabot - a red cross on a white background. In the 17th century, the French flew the flag of Joan of Arc, over Placentia and St. John's.
The Union Jack
Under British domination the Union Flag or Union Jack was adopted as Newfoundland's flag which was not officially adopted by the Newfoundland Legislature until 1931.
The original Union Jack was designed when Scotland and England were united in 1606 and the flag represented both countries. The Scottish flag consisted of a white saltire of St. Andrew on a blue background. In the Union Jack this was superimposed by the cross of St. George. The consequent union with Ireland meant an additional cross of red was added to the flag. Hence, we have the "red, white and blue" Union Flag or Union Jack.
Newfoundland Heritage/The Red Ensign
Newfoundland Heritage/The red ensign has the Union Jack in the upper cormer and the badge on the fly. This flag was used to distinguish ships of the British Fleet. It was flown in Newfoundland until 1965.
According to the ``Brief Regarding the Proposal of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador For a Distinctive Provincial Flag'' (1977)
``The ensigns were described by Order in Council 18, October 1865. The White Ensign ... a white flag with a cross of St. Geroge [sic] through the whole flag and the Union Jack in the upper canton, to be used ONLY by ships of the ROYAL NAVY or by yacht clubs to which special license has been given. The BLUE ENSIGN ... a blue flag, with the Union Jack in the upper canton, to be used ONLY by ships of the ROYAL NAVY RESERVE, or by merchant men which are commanded by officers of the Reserve, and have been duly licensed, or by yacht clubs to which special commission had been granted. The RED ENSIGN ... a red flag, with the Union Jack in the upper canton, to be used as a NATIONAL ENSIGN by all British merchantmen. The Red Ensign is the common flag of all people of the British Isles ashore or afloat. It was given to the merchant men in recognition of their great services in winning for Britain supremacy of the seas. The White Ensign was given to the Royal Navy in recognition and Memory of Trafalgar where it was Nelson's flag. The Blue Ensign was given to the Royal Navy Reserve because they were the rear guards of Queen Victoria's ships. The Union Jack was used on all three as the binding link between them and established their rank and designation as Union Ensigns'' (p. 8).The Pink, White and Green Flag, ("Native Flag")
The pink, white and green flag, known as the native flag, developed from the merging of flags flown by two rival groups in the 1800s: the so-called "natives," a group which was composed of well-established citizens of St. John's who were largely Roman Catholic; and a large group of newly arrived immigrants from Ireland.(ENL)
According to Devine and O'Mara (1900, p. 121)
the culminating point was reached in February,1843, during a big haul of wood for Bishop Fleming. There was considerable rivalry for the biggest load, and each slide bore distinctive colors. The 'Bush-borns' and 'Old Country' people had a difference of opinion as to which had the larger load, and a row, in which a good many heads were broken, ensued. When Bishop Fleming heard of the circumstance, he called the ringleaders together, gave them a bit of advice, and induced them to join the pink and green together. This they did by sticking a bit of neutral white between, and thus was born the native flag as we have it to-day. A few of the founders stuck to the plain pink for two or three years;...
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