Cross of Saint George
While Columbus was in Spain seeking backing for his expedition, a John Cabot was in England on a like mission but with little success. When the news of Columbus' discovery of the new land reached King Henry VII his interest quickly changed. It took over a year to outfit the ship and recruit and train a crew for John Cabot's expedition.
John Cabot sailed to the new land under the English National flag, a red cross of St. George on a white field. The English National flag was the flag King Edward I and the Prince of Wales flew in the crusades to the Holy Land.
On June 24, 1497, John Cabot mounted this flag on the shores of Labrador, now a region of Canada, it was the first flown over the Americas, except for the Viking flag. On subsequent voyages Cabots' would travel as far south as Florida but never built a settlement.
The English National flag flew on the ships the Susan Constant, Godspeed and the Discovery, carrying 105 passengers which departed from England in December 1606 and reached the Virginia coast in late April 1607, later know as Jamestown. It was also one of the flags flown on the Mayflower when it arrived at Plymouth Rock in 1620.
The St. George's Cross flag was flown on the foremast of English merchant ships, with the Union flag on the mainmast (the Scottish ships would have the St. Andrew flag on the foremast, a white cross on a blue filed).