The Flag of Malta (Maltese: Bandiera ta' Malta) is a basic bi-colour, with white in the hoist and red in the fly: colours from the blazon of the arms of Malta. Tradition states that the colours of the flag were given to Malta by Count Roger of Sicily, in 1091. The banner of Count Roger was a chequered red and white flag, and he gave a set from this banner. However, many say that this claim is only a legend developed through time. A key stronghold during the Crusades, much of the heraldry of Malta is influenced by the colours and devices of the Knights of Malta. Their badge was the characteristic Maltese cross, and their arms was a white cross on a red field. From these colours came the red and white shield that was used during the colonial period. The George Cross medal was added to the shield in 1943. It was awarded to the Islanders by King George VI of the United Kingdom for heroism in World War II. In 1964, the blue canton on which the cross was originally placed was replaced by a red fimbriation.
In the upper hoist corner (in the canton of the white field) is the George Cross, outlined in red. The honour was awarded by King George VI to the entire Maltese population for their exceptional bravery and gallantry during World War II. This flag was adopted upon Malta's independence, on 21 September 1964. The Maltese flag is unique in that it is the only national flag in the world bearing a decoration from another country, in this case, the United Kingdom.
The civil ensign is totally different: it shows a red field, bordered white and charged with a white Maltese cross.