Flag of Wales

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The Welsh Dragon on the tailfin of an Air Wales ATR 42 aircraft.

The national flag of Wales is The Red Dragon (Welsh: Y Ddraig Goch). It consists of a red dragon, passant, on a green and white field. The exact representation of the dragon is not standardised and many different interpretations exist.

The flag was granted official status in 1959, but the red dragon has been associated with Wales for centuries; indeed, it is claimed to be the oldest national flag still in use. The origin of the adoption of the dragon symbol is now lost in history and myth. A plausible theory is that the Romans brought the emblem to what is now Wales during their occupation of Britain, but it could be even older. The green and white stripes of the flag were additions by the House of Tudor, the Welsh dynasty that held the English throne from 1485 to 1603 (green and white are also the colours of the leek, another national emblem of Wales).

The oldest recorded use of the dragon to symbolise Wales is from the Historia Brittonum, written around 820, but it is popularly supposed to have been the battle standard of Arthur and other ancient Celtic leaders.

Many legends are associated with the Welsh dragon. The most famous is the prophecy of Myrddin (or Merlin) of a long fight between a red dragon and a white dragon. According to the prophecy, the white dragon would at first dominate but eventually the red dragon would win. This is an allegory of the historical struggle between the Welsh and the English.

See also

National flags
List of national flags | List of national coats of arms
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