The Union Jack was the flag and symbol of Great Britain. These flags were mainly seen on important buildings, like forts, or on ships, like military ships.
When King James VI of Scotland ascended to the English throne, thereby becoming James I of England, the national flags of England and Scotland on land continued to be, respectively, the red St. George's Cross and the white St. Andrew's Cross. Confusion arose, however, as to what flag would be appropriate at sea. On 12 April 1606 a proclamation was issued:
"All our subjects in this our isle and kingdom of Great Britain and the members thereof, shall bear in their main top the red cross commonly called St. George's Cross and the white cross commonly called St. Andrew's Cross joined together according to a form made by our heralds and sent to our Admiral to be published to our said subjects."
However, the flag was for use only at sea in civil and military ships of both Scotland and England. In 1634 its use was restricted to the king's ships. The flag went out of use in 1649 when England became a commonwealth but was restored for use in the king's ships after the restoration in 1660. The flag became "the ensign armorial of the United Kingdom of Great Britain" as one of the provisions of the Act of Union in 1707, when the kingdoms of England and Scotland were united.
The HMS Providence flew a unique Union Jack with the St. Patrick's Cross embedded on it. The flag was prominently displayed on the ship during the quest for the Fountain of Youth. When the crew of the Providence fought against Blackbeard's pirate crew at the Fountain of Youth and the Spanish Army appeared, Lieutenant Commander Theodore Groves boldly unfurled the Union Jack in front of the Spanish, proclaiming the Fountain as the property of his King. However, he was shot a moment later by The Spaniard and his body fell on the ground, partly covered by the flag.
Behind the scenes
- In real-world history the British military vessels were required to fly the Union Jack from the jackstaff at the head of the bowsprit. The flag is incorrectly flown from the peak of the gaff on the HMS Providence in On Stranger Tides and from the stern flagstaff on the Essex in Dead Men Tell No Tales.
- Several British merchant ships in Pirates of the Caribbean fly the Union Jack (the Fair Wind in The Price of Freedom and the Princess and the Henrietta in The Curse of the Black Pearl). In real-world history, the use of the Union Jack at sea was limited to military vessels. In 1674 all British merchant vessels were specifically ordered to fly Saint George's Cross or the red flag with Saint George's Cross in the upper left canton.
- Unlike the 18th century version, the modern version of the Union Jack has St. Patrick's Cross, instead of the one without it. The modern version was used in these Pirates of the Caribbean-related material:
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl trailer - on the background for the film's logo.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Missing Pirate
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - seen being flown on the HMS Providence.
- LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game - flown at Fort Charles and on the HMS Providence.
- In Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, in a deleted scene titled "It's Just Good Business", a model of the HMS Endeavour in Cutler Beckett's cabin flies the two Union Jacks, one blue EITC flag, and one striped blue and white flag. One of the soldier figures on Beckett's desk holds the British flag.
- Jack Sparrow: Silver
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned
- The Price of Freedom
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (First appearance of the 18th century Union Jack)
- The Buccaneer's Heart! (First identified as the Union Jack)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Missing Pirate (First appearance of the modern Union Jack)
- Pirates of the Caribbean Online
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
- LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game (Non-canonical appearance)
- Disney Infinity (Non-canonical appearance)
- Kingdom Hearts III (Non-canonical appearance)