The Red Dragon - Y Ddraig Goch (Y Ddraig Goch)

The origins of the Welsh red dragon and its flag.

According to legend, the Celts (ancestors of the Welsh) carried banners with red dragons on them when they went into battle with the Anglo-Saxons (ancestors of the English) who carried banners with white dragons on them.......

THE RED DRAGON - (Welsh: Y Ddraig Goch)

The Flag of Wales - "Y Ddraig Goch" (The Red Dragon)

Despite being a part of Britain, the Welsh flag and its dragon are not included in the Union Flag. The Union Flag comprises the flags of England (red cross on a white background), Scotland (white diagonal cross on a blue background) and Ireland (red diagonal cross on a white background). The Irish flag dates back from the time that the whole of the island of Ireland was one kingdom and a part of Britain, whereas now its two separate nations (a kingdom that's still a part of the UK and an independent republic) with two separate flags though the old Irish flag still remains in the Unon Flag. Wales is represented in the Union Flag by the Flag of England instead as Wales and England make up the same kingdom with the same laws and banknotes whereas Scotland, though a part of Britain, is a separate kingdom with different laws and different banknotes (though the same coins). Wales and England are far more inextricably linked together than they are with Scotland.
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Although an integral part of the United Kingdom, Wales is not represented on the national flag, or Union Flag, more popularly known as the Union Jack.

The proud and ancient battle standard of the Welsh is The Red Dragon (Welsh: Y Ddraig Goch) and consists of a red dragon, passant, on a green and white background. As with any ancient symbol, the appearance of the dragon has been adapted and changed over the years, and hence several different variations exist.

The current flag was officially adopted in 1959, and is based on an old royal badge used by British kings and queens since Tudor times. The red dragon itself has been associated with Wales for centuries, and as such, the flag is claimed to be the oldest national flag still in use in the world. But why a dragon? The answer to that particular question is lost in history and myth.

One legend recalls Romano-British soldiers carrying the red dragon (Draco) to Rome on their banners in the fourth century, but it could be even older than that.

It is considered that the Welsh kings of Aberffraw first adopted the dragon in the early fifth century in order to symbolise their power and authority after the Romans withdrew from Britain. Later, around the seventh century, it became known as the Red Dragon of Cadwaladr, king of Gwynedd from 655 to 682.

Geoffrey of Monmouth in his Historia Regum Britanniae, written between 1120 and 1129, links the dragon with the Arthurian legends, including Uther Pendragon the father of Arthur whose name translates as Dragon Head. Geoffrey’s account also tells of the prophecy of Myrddin (or Merlin) of a long fight between a red dragon and a white dragon, symbolising the historical struggle between the Welsh (red dragon) and the English (white dragon).

The Anglo-Saxon White Dragon of the English.

The oldest recorded use of the dragon to symbolise Wales however, is from the Historia Brittonum, written by the historian Nennius around 820.

The red dragon was even said to have been used as the British standard at the Battle of Crecy in 1346, when the Welsh archers, dressed in their beloved green and white, played such a crucial role in defeating the French.

And although Owain Glyndwr raised the dragon standard in 1400 as a symbol of revolt against the English Crown, the dragon was brought to England by the House of Tudor, the Welsh dynasty that held the English throne from 1485 to 1603. It signified their direct descent from one of the noble families of Wales. The green and white stripes of the flag were additions of Henry VII, the first Tudor king, representing the colours of his standard.

During Henry VIII's reign the red dragon on a green and white background became a favourite emblem on Royal Navy ships.

As the national flag of Wales, the red dragon appears to have regained popularity in the early part of the twentieth century, when it was used for the 1911 Caernarfon Investiture of Edward, Prince of Wales. It wasn't until 1959 however, that it became officially recognised as the national flag of the principality.

The Red Dragon now flies proudly over public and private buildings throughout Wales, and thousands still cross the border into England every other year, when the two nations meet for their ‘historic struggle’ on the rugby battlefield known as Twickenham. Welshmen, women and children carrying the dragon as a symbol of pride in their history and culture.

Historic UK
Last edited by Blackleaf; Mar 11th, 2007 at 06:37 AM..
John Welch
The Welsh are attached to their dragon, but seem uninterested in its meaning. The name "Pendragon" suggests a tradition from before Roman times. Did the famous druids lack the wit to create their own symbol for Britain? The Gundestrup Cauldron of 1st cent.BC has a deity holding a horned snake and a torc in the other hand. The torc appears on a sculpted Celt warrior of 3rd cent.BC. "Dragon" is Greek drakon, Latin draco meaning "snake", the form of the Roman dragon banner of Alan troops now in Koblenz Museum. Alans were with Scythians on the Danube. Greek writers recorded Scythian and Celt origin legend about their snake-woman ancestress, the echidna viper Fr. guivre /wyvern. She was from the Scythians' Dnieper, Dniester and Don rivers, and the Celtic Danube, as in Danaan gods of Eire. These names are from Brahmins' river-goddess "Danu"-J Koch. Advanced Wesh Studies,UWales.
The Celtic echidna was daughter of Brettanos of Gaul and mother of Chimera war-goat, Greek chimaira "goat". She leads the Fr. Montpellier regiment, the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and the Fort Henry guard at Ontario. As Brahmins developed their teaching about Danu from 1500 BC, the dragon was known before the Romans' time. It was a royal symbol from Cambodia to Eire (and Canada). It was on the Tudor Royal Arms, and lives at the dragon chapel at Windsor castle.
John Welch.