Flag it up !

At  the South Bank (on the Thames) , at Jubilee Gardens,  near the “London “Eye”, stands a remarkably tall (say 60 feet / 20 meters?) wooden flagpole, atop of which flies the flag of the UK.

The flagpole was a gift of the forest industry of British Columbia  (a Province of Canada)  to the UK for the 1951 Festival of Britain., which was held in this area.   The  flagpole was re-erected by the Provincial Government of British Columbia in 1977 to mark the Silver Jubilee (25 years as Queen 1952- 1977)  of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

It was a coincidence that the Festival was held in 1951 and that Elizabeth became Queen in 1952.  The Festival had been planned since 1947 as a way to boost the morale of the British people  after World War 2 and was timed for the centenary of “The Great  Exhibition” of 1851.   King George V1 died in 1952 at which date Elizabeth  immediately became Queen, with her  formal “Coronation” organised for the following June 1953.

Canada is an independent country.  It has chosen to be a member of  “The Commonwealth of Nations“,  a group of 53 “free and equal” countries united by language, history, culture and their shared values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.  Member states have no legal obligations to one another. Most of these countries were once part of “The British Empire”.

Elizabeth is the Queen of UK and at the same time she is Queen of 15 of the Commonwealth countries.     32 other members are Republics and 5 others have different monarchs.  Per diagram here.     It is for each country independently  to choose whether Elizabeth is to be their Queen.   Canada is one of the Countries that has so chosen.

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British Columbia

A wide territory once know as “Columbia District”  encompassed what is now “British Columbia” as well what are now the USA States of Washington and Oregon. This large “Columbia District”  was later divided  [by the Oregon Treaty on August 8, 1848]  between UK and USA .   Queen Victoria then chose  the name British Columbia to distinguish the British sector of the Columbia District from the United States (“American Columbia”).  The division was made along  the 49th parallel .  In 1866, Vancouver Island became part of the colony of British Columbia, and the city of Victoria on the Island became the united colony’s capital. In 1871 British Columbia became the sixth province of Canada.

“Columbia” is a reference to Christopher Columbus, the Italian 15th century explorer of the “New World”, under the patronage of Spain.

Atop of the flagpole flies the flag of the UK,  to celebrate the UK’s pleasure at this kind gift from Canada.      The things you learn from a flagpole – great!

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