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Union Jack celebrates 400th birthday

April 12, 2006 at 1:36 PM

LONDON, April 12 (UPI) -- The British flag design known as the Union Jack has been flown around the world since it was declared the official symbol by King James I, 400 years ago.

Since April 12, 1606, the Union Jack, as it is commonly referred to, has gone from imperial logo to fashion mark.

It still remains part of the Australian, New Zealand and Fijian flags, evidence of the British empires colonialist reach.

Sky News reports it was flown at the South Pole in 1912 by Capt. Robert Scott and at the top of Mount Everest by Edmund Hillary in 1953.

It's now part of various fashion designers' clothing, on British Airways jets, Mini Cooper cars and was co-opted by musicians such as The Who, Freddie Mercury and Oasis.

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