Coat of arms of Croatia
|Coat of arms of Croatia|
|Armiger||Republic of Croatia|
|Adopted||21 December 1990|
|Crest||A crown of five arms, as follows: Azure a mullet of six points Or above a crescent argent; Azure two bars gules; Azure three leopard heads caboshed Or; Azure a goat statant Or unguled and armed gules; Azure on a fess gules fimbriated argent a marten courant proper in chief a mullet of six points Or|
|Escutcheon||Chequy gules and argent|
The coat of arms of the Republic of Croatia (Croatian: Grb Republike Hrvatske) consists of one main shield and five smaller shields which form a crown over the main shield. The main coat of arms is a checkerboard (chequy) that consists of 13 red and 12 silver (white) fields. It's also informally known in Croatian as šahovnica ("chessboard", from šah, "chess"). The five smaller shields represent five different historical regions within Croatia.
The checkerboard coat of arms (šahovnica) is first attested as an official symbol of the kingdom of Croatia on an Innsbruck tower depicting the emblem of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor in 1499. It appeared on a seal from the Cetingrad Charter that confirmed the 1527 election of Emperor Ferdinand I as king of Croatia at the Parliament on Cetin.
The origin of the design has often been purported as being medieval. Historic tradition states it to be the arms of Stephen Držislav in the 10th century. A Split stone baptistry from the time of Peter Krešimir IV (r. 1058–1074/5) has engraved falcons that carry something that resembles a chequy on their wings, and the bell tower of the medieval Church of St. Lucy, Jurandvor has a checkerboard pattern carved onto it.
The size of the checkerboard ranges from 3×3 to 8×8, but most commonly 5×5, like in the current design. It was traditionally conjectured that the colours originally represented two ancient Croat states, Red Croatia and White Croatia, but there is no historical evidence to support this.
Towards the Late Middle Ages the distinction for the three crown lands (Croatia 'proper', Dalmatia, Slavonia) was made. The šahovnica was used as the coat of arms of Croatia proper & together with the shields of Slavonia and Dalmatia was often used to represent the whole of Croatia in Austria-Hungary. It was used as an unofficial coat of arms of the Kingdom of Croatia adopted in 1848 and as an official coat of arms of the post-1868 Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia (both unofficially known as Triune Kingdom). The two are the same except for the position of the šahovnica and Dalmatian coat of arms which are switched around & with different crowns used above the shield - the later employing St Stephen's crown (associated with Hungarian kings).
By late 19th century šahovnica had come to be considered a generally recognized symbol for Croats and Croatia and in 1919, it was included in the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later the Kingdom of Yugoslavia) to represent Croats. When the Banovina of Croatia was formed, the šahovnica (chequy gules and argent) was retained as the official symbol.
The Ustashe regime which had ruled Croatia during the World War II superimposed their ideological symbol, the letter "U" above or around the šahovnica (upper left square white) as the official national symbol during their rule.
After the Second World War, the new Socialist Republic of Croatia became a part of the federal Second Yugoslavia. The šahovnica was included in the new socialist coat of arms. It was designed in the socialist tradition, including symbols like wheat for peasants and an anvil for workers, as well as a rising sun to symbolize a new morning and a red star for communism.
During the change to multiparty elections in Croatia (as part of the collapse of Communist rule in Eastern Europe from the late 1980s), and prior to the establishment of the current design, the šahovnica, shedding the communist symbols that were the hallmark of Croatia in the second Yugoslavia, reappeared as a stand-alone symbol as both the 'upper left square red' and 'upper left square white' variants. The choice of 'upper left square red' or 'upper left square white' was often dictated by heraldic laws and aesthetic requirements.
The first-field-white variant was adopted by the Republic of Croatia and used briefly in 1990. According to constitutional changes which came into effect on 26 June 1990 the red star in the flag of SR Croatia was to be replaced by the "historical Croatian coat of arms with 25 red and white fields", without specifying order of fields. The first-field-white variant was used at the official flag hoisting ceremony on 25 July and was later occasionally used on par with the first-field-red variant until 12 December 1990 when the current coat of arms was officially adopted.
The current design
On 21 December 1990, the post-socialist government of Croatia, passed a law prescribing the design created by the graphic designer Miroslav Šutej, under the aegis of a commission chaired by Nikša Stančić, then head of the Department of Croatian History at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zagreb.
The new design added the five crowning shields which represent the historical regions from which Croatia originated. They are, from left to right:
Central Croatia - Considered the oldest known symbol representing Croatia: Azure, a mullet of six points Or surmounted above a crescent Argent - A golden six-pointed star (representing the morning star) over a silver crescent moon on a blue shield. The oldest known example is found on the obverse side of the Croatian Frizatik's minted by Andrew II as Duke of Croatia (Latin: Dux Croatiae). Today it is most commonly associated with the Illyrian movement where it is mostly depicted with a red background.
Dubrovnik region - Coat of arms of Dubrovnik: Azure, two bars gules - Two red stripes on a dark blue shield. This is a simplified variation of the Coat of arms of Dubrovnik, with two red bars instead of four, it was used by Dubrovnik Republic since 14th century. The original coat of arms is the old coat of arms of Árpád dynasty, granted to Dubrovnik Republic by King Louis I in 1358 as it became a vassal of the Hungarian-Croatian king. The red-blue variant hails from 1950s interpretation of the template (decorative) lines within the originally white lines of the original CoA.
Dalmatia - Coat of arms of Dalmatia: Azure, three leopards' heads caboshed Or, crowned Or - Three golden, crowned leopard heads, two over one, on a blue shield. This coat of arms was in use since at least 14th century. It was granted and confirmed by King Sigismund of Luxemburg and his wife Queen Mary. Until 1526 this coat of arms was also used to represent Croatia in general apparent from the coat of arms of several kings: Louis I, Queen Mary, King Matthias and King Louis II. It is also found on the great seal of King Albert where it also represented Croatia as a whole. Originally the coat of arms was three lion heads on red background, turned to left.
Istria - Coat of arms of Istria: Azure, a goat statant Or, attired and hoofed Gules - Golden goat with red hooves and horns, on a dark blue shield. This coat of arms is derived from the old coat of arms of the March of Istria. The goat as a symbol of Istria is claimed to be associated with Istria since ancient times.
Slavonia - Coat of arms of Slavonia: Azure, a fess Gules fimbriated Argent surmounted by a mullet of six points Or, a marten Sable courant proper in chief - Six-pointed star (morning star) above two silver stripes on a blue shield (representing the rivers Drava and Sava marking the Northern and Southern border of Slavonia), between them a black (in some versions gold-yellow) running Pine marten (Kuna in Croatian - note the national currency Croatian kuna) on a red field. This coat of arms was derived from an earlier version found on Slavonian Banovac coins minted in between 1235 and 1384. It showed a marten running on a field between two six-pointed stars. These arms were officially granted by king Ladislaus Jagiello in 1496. It was used as the official seal of Croatian Sabor from 1497 until the late 18th century.
Some of the more traditional heraldic pundits have criticized the latest design for various design solutions, such as adding a crown to the coat, varying shades of blue in its even fields, and adding the red border around the coat. The government has accepted their criticism insofar as not accepting further non-traditional designs for the county coats of arms, but the national symbol has remained intact.
Unlike in many countries, Croatian design more commonly uses symbolism from the coat of arms, rather than from the Croatian flag. This is partly due to the geometric design of the shield which makes it appropriate for use in many graphic contexts (e.g. the insignia of Croatia Airlines or the design of the shirt for the Croatia national football team), and partly because the Pan-Slavic colors are present in many European flags.
Coat of arms of Croatia used in 1527 as part of a seal on the Cetingrad Charter.
Kingdom of Croatia (1525-1868).
Coat of arms of Croatian Crown land (until 1868)
Coat of arms of Transleithania (1868-1915).
Lesser Coat of arms of Transleithania (1915-1918).
Common coat of arms of Austria-Hungary (1915–1918).
Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1918–1943).
Banovina of Croatia (1939–1943).
Independent State of Croatia (1941–1945).
Socialist Republic of Croatia (1947–1990).
Republic of Croatia (1990).
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