The flag of England was adopted in the 16th century. The flag is white with a red cross in the center. The red cross was the emblem for England during the Crusades in the Middle Ages. The flag is known as the Cross of St. George and was originally the flag of the Republic of Genoa. It was adopted by the city of London in 1190 for their ships entering the Mediterranean to benefit from the protection of the powerful Genoese fleet. During the crusade in the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth centuries the English soldiers adopted it for their uniforms and around 1277 it officially became the national flag of England and Wales.