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History of the Scottish flag

The Saltire, the national flag of Scotland, has a white diagonal cross on a blue background which represents the crucifixion of St Andrew, Scotland’s patron saint.

Believed to be the oldest flag in Europe, the origin of the flag comes from an old legend. Tradition has it that the flag originated in a battle fought near the East Lothian village of Athelstaneford in AD 832.

An army under King Angus invaded the Lothians and found itself surrounded by a larger force of Saxon soldiers. Fearing the outcome, King Angus led prayers for victory and legend has it he saw a vision in the clouds that was a formation of a white Saltire against the blue sky.

The king vowed that if, with the saint’s help, he gained victory, then Andrew would thereafter be the patron saint of Scotland and the formation he had seen in the clouds would be the national flag of Scotland. The Scots did win, and the Saltire eventually became the flag of Scotland.

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