Coat of arms of Åland

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Arms of Åland with comital coronet

The coat of arms of Åland features a golden red deer on a blue field. This is traditionally surmounted by a comital coronet of the elder Swedish style.[1]

The arms borne today by the Åland islands were originally granted to the similar-sounding island province of Öland in 1560, displaying a golden red deer on a blue field. In 1569, Åland had been given to the Swedish queen dowager Katarina Stenbock as a fief and was awarded a provincial coat of arms displaying two roe deer on a field strewn with nine roses. The arms of these two similar-sounding Swedish provinces became confused early on, and in the 1880s Öland's arms were recorded as two roe deer with nine roses.[2] Sweden had ceded much of its eastern territory, including the Åland Islands, to Russia in 1809, which became the Grand Duchy of Finland, but the heraldic switch-up was not discovered until the 1940s.

During a heraldic revision in 1944, the Swedish National Heraldry Office (Riksheraldikerämbetet) discovered that a mistake had been committed. Heraldic authorities in Finland were notified of the error but ultimately decided not make any changes and not to adopt the coat of arms originally intended for Åland (with the two roe deer and nine Finnish roses), as they had long since granted Åland the arms which had been usurped from Öland. This decision made it necessary for Swedish heralds to once again alter the coat of arms for Öland, to avoid further confusion. It was then decided in 1944 that the Öland deer should have a red collar and attire to distinguish it from the arms which had been first granted to Öland but now belonged to Åland.[2]

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  1. ^ "Maakuntien vaakunat" (in Finnish). Archived from the original on 2007-02-21. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  2. ^ a b Nevéus, Clara; Wærn, Jacques de (1992). Ny Svensk Vapenbok (in Swedish). Stockholm, Sweden: Streiffert & Co Bokförlag HB. p. 32. ISBN 91-7886-092-X.