Portal:Heraldry/Selected article archive

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

See also Portal:Heraldry/Selected biography archive

May 2006[edit]

Entrance of the College of Arms building in London

The College of Arms, in London, is an office regulating heraldry and granting new armorial bearings. As its name suggests, it is a corporate body (founded 1484) consisting of the professional heralds who are delegated heraldic authority by the Queen for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. (Note that Scotland is not included; that country has its own heraldic authority: Lord Lyon King of Arms and his office.) The college also grants arms to citizens of other Commonwealth countries that do not have their own heraldic authorities. (Canada and South Africa have their own heraldic authorities, the Canadian Heraldic Authority and the Bureau of Heraldry, respectively.) (more...)

June 2006[edit]

The Canadian Heraldic Authority (French: Autorité héraldique du Canada) is part of the Canadian honours system under the Governor General of Canada. The Authority is responsible for the creation and granting of new coats of arms (armorial bearings), flags and badges for Canadian citizens, permanent residents and corporate bodies. The Authority also registers existing armorial bearings granted by other recognized heraldic authorities, approves military badges, flags and other insignia of the Canadian Forces, and provides information on heraldic practices.

The CHA is the Canadian counterpart of the College of Arms in London and the Court of the Lord Lyon in Scotland and is well-known for its innovative designs, many incorporating First Nations symbolism. (more...)

July 2006[edit]

The arms of Cardinal Hoyos displayed in SS. Nome di Maria al Foro Traiano

Ecclesiastical heraldry is the tradition of heraldry developed by Christian clergy. Within the Roman Catholic Church, every bishop has his own personal coat of arms. The shield usually combines the bishop's personal attributes with those of his diocese, and may change if he is appointed to a different position. Around the shield are other elements corresponding to the position in the hierarchy, including the Roman galero (or gallero), the cross, the mitre and the crosier. With modifications, similar customs are followed by clergy in the Anglican Church, the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches, and the Orthodox Churches. The Papal coat of arms has its own heraldic customs. (more...)

August 2006[edit]

Arms of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

The tradition and practice of heraldry in Poland dates from the 13th century. Although influenced by French and German heraldic practice, differs in a number of respects. One of the most striking is that a coat of arms does not belong to a single family. Many, sometimes hundreds of unrelated families may use a single coat of arms. Each coat of arms also has its own name. One side-effect of this unique arrangement was that it became customary to refer to members of the nobility (Polish: Szlachta) by both their family name and the name of their coat of arms. (more...)

September 2006[edit]

The coat of arms of Hungary

The Coat of Arms of Hungary was adopted in July 1990, after the end of the Socialist regime, although it has been used before, both with and without the crown, sometimes as part of a larger, more complex coat of arms, and many of its elements date back to the Middle Ages. It is usually said that the silver stripes represent four rivers (Duna, Tisza, Dráva, Száva) and the hills represent three mountain ranges (Mátra, Tátra, Fátra), but this theory is historically unfounded. (more...)

October 2006[edit]

The flag of Mexico

The flag of Mexico is a vertical tricolor of green, white and red charged in the center of the white stripe with the coat of arms. While the meaning of the colors has changed over time, these three colors were adopted by Mexico following independence from Spain during the country's War of Independence. The current flag was adopted in 1968, but the overall design has been used since 1821. The current law of national symbols that governs the use of the national flag has been in place since 1984. (more...)

November 2006[edit]

Coat of arms of Slovakia

The coat of arms of Slovakia is composed of a silver (argent) double cross, elevated on the middle peak of a dark blue mountain consisting of three peaks. It is situated on a red (gules) early gothic shield. Extremities of the cross are amplificated, and its ends are concaved. The same symbol (with other colours and minor changes) is in the sinister portion of the Hungarian coat of arms. (more...)

December 2006[edit]

National emblem of Belarus (1995 - current)

The National Emblem of Belarus (Belarusian: Дзяржаўны герб Рэспублікі Беларусь, Russian: Государственный герб Республики Беларусь), which replaced the historic Pahonia arms in a 1995 referendum, features a ribbon in the colors of the national flag, the map of Belarus, wheat ears and a red star. It is sometimes referred to as the coat of arms of Belarus, which is incorrect due to lack of several heraldic elements. The emblem is an allusion to the one used by the Byelorussian SSR, designed by I.I. Dubasov in 1950. Emblems reminiscent of the times of the Soviet Union are also used by the nations of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and the region of Transnistria. (more...)

January 2007[edit]

Flag of Lithuania (adopted 1989, modified 2004)

The flag of Lithuania is a horizontal tricolor of yellow, green and red. The flag was adopted on March 20, 1989 on the advent of breaking away from the Soviet Union. Before its readoption, this flag was used from 1918 until 1940, when Lithuania was occupied in turn by Nazi Germany and by the Soviet Union. From 1945 until 1989, the Soviet Lithuanian flag consisted first of a generic red flag with the name of the republic, then changed to the more familiar red flag with white and green bars at the bottom. The last change to the flag occurred in 2004 when the aspect ratio changed from 1:2 to 3:5. (more...)

February 2007[edit]

Flag of Armenia

The national flag of Armenia, the Armenian Tricolor, consists of three horizontal bands of equal width, red on the top, blue in the middle, and orange on the bottom. The Armenian Supreme Council adopted the current flag on August 24, 1990. On June 15, 2006, the Law on the National Flag of Armenia was passed by the Armenian Parliament.

Throughout history, there were many variations of the Armenian flag. In ancient times, Armenian Dynasties were represented by different symbolic animals displayed on their flags. In the 20th century, there were several Soviet flags representing Armenian nation. (more...)

March 2007[edit]

The Raven banner (in Old Norse, Hrafnsmerki; in Old English, Hravenlandeye) was a flag, possibly totemic in nature, flown by various viking chieftains and other Scandinavian rulers during the ninth, tenth and eleventh centuries CE. The flag, as depicted in Norse artwork, was roughly triangular, with a rounded outside edge on which there hung a series of tabs or tassels. It bore a resemblance to ornately carved "weather-vanes" used aboard Viking longships.

Scholars conjecture that the raven flag was a symbol of Odin, who was often depicted accompanied by two ravens. Its intent may have been to strike fear in one's enemies by invoking the power of Odin. As one scholar notes: "The Anglo-Saxons probably thought that the banners were imbued with the evil powers of pagan idols, since the Anglo-Saxons were aware of the significance of Óðinn and his ravens in Norse mythology." (more...)

April 2007[edit]

The Heralds is a novel written by Brian Killick in 1973. It is a fictional account of the inner workings of the College of Arms in London. The book follows the exploits of the College's members after the announcement that the current Garter Principal King of Arms will be retiring.

The vast majority of the plot revolves around the thirteen ordinary officers of arms at the college. The plot in striking respects resembles the plot of the film, Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949), in which an anti-hero systematically eliminates those who stand between him and succession to a Dukedom, only to find that he is tried and convicted of a crime he did not commit. (more...)

June 2007[edit]

Coat of arms of Amsterdam

The coat of arms of Amsterdam is the official symbol of the city of Amsterdam. It consists of a red and black shield with three silver Saint Andrew's Crosses, the Imperial Crown of Austria, two golden lions, and the motto of Amsterdam. Several heraldic elements have their basis in the history of Amsterdam. The crosses are thought to represent the three traditional dangers to the city: flood, fire and pestilence. The crown was awarded in 1489 by Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, out of gratitude for services and loans. The crosses and the crown can be found as decorations on different locations in the city. (more...)

July 2007[edit]

Flag of the Philippines

The national flag of the Philippines is a horizontal bicolor with equal bands of blue and red, and with a white equilateral triangle based at the hoist side; in the center of the triangle is a golden yellow sun with eight primary rays, each containing three individual rays; and at each corner of the triangle is a five-pointed golden yellow star. The flag is displayed with the blue field on top in times of peace, and with the red field on top in times of war. The design was conceptualized by Emilio Aguinaldo during his exile in Hong Kong in 1897, and formally adopted in 1898. The flag's colors have varying symbolism, and the shade of blue has changed over time. (more...)

August 2007[edit]

The frontispiece of the record of the heraldic visitation of Ulster King of Arms, Daniel Molyneux. This was undertaken in the city of Dublin in February 1607.

Heraldic visitations were tours of inspection undertaken by Kings of Arms in England, Wales and Ireland in order to regulate and register the coats of arms of nobility and gentry and boroughs, and to record pedigrees. They took place from 1530 to 1688, and their records provide important source material for genealogists.The first provincial visitations were carried out under warrant granted by Henry VIII to Thomas Benolt, Clarenceux King of Arms dated 6 April 1530. He was commissioned to travel throughout his province and was given authority to enter all homes and churches. Upon entering these premises, he was authorized to "put down or otherwise deface at his discretion...those arms unlawfully used". (more...)

September 2007[edit]

Queen's Colours (top) and Regimental Colours (bottom) of the Irish Guards (left) and the Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons) (right).

In military organizations, the practice of carrying colours or standards, to act both as a rallying point for troops, and to mark the location of the commander, is thought to have originated in Ancient Egypt some 5,000 years ago. It was formalised in the armies of medieval Europe, with standards being emblazoned with the commander's coat of arms. As armies became trained and adopted set formations, each regiment's ability to keep its formation was potentially critical to its, and therefore its army's, success. In the chaos of battle, not least due to the amount of dust and smoke on a battlefield, soldiers needed to be able to determine where their regiment was. (more...)

October 2007[edit]

Flag of Portugal.

The flag of Portugal consists of a rectangular (ratio 2:3) uneven vertical bicolor, that is, a field vertically divided into two unequal stripes of green, at the hoist, and red, at the fly. The minor version of the national coat of arms (armillary sphere and Portuguese shield) is centered over the boundary between the colors at equal distance from the upper and lower edges. Portugal officially adopted this design for its national flag on 30 June 1911, replacing the one used under the constitutional monarchy, after it was chosen among several proposals by a special commission, whose members included Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro, João Chagas, and Abel Botelho. (more...)

December 2007[edit]

Banner of the Republic of Poland.

Throughout most of the history of Poland, the banner of Poland was one of the main symbols of the Polish State, normally reserved for use by the head of state. Although its design changed with time, it was generally a heraldic banner, i.e., one based directly on the national coat of arms: a crowned White Eagle on a red field (Gules an eagle Argent crowned Or). A national banner is not mentioned in the current (2007) regulations on Polish national symbols, although today's presidential jack is based directly on the pre-war design for the Banner of the Republic. (more...)

January 2008[edit]

The Australian Flag at full mast.

The flag of Australia was chosen in 1901 from entries in a worldwide design competition held following Federation. It was approved by Australian and British authorities over the next few years, although the exact specifications of the flag were changed several times both intentionally and as a result of confusion. The current specifications were published in 1934, and in 1954 the flag became legally recognised as the "Australian National Flag". The flag is a defaced Blue Ensign: a blue field with the Union Flag in the canton (upper hoist quarter), and a large white seven-pointed star known as the Commonwealth Star in the lower hoist quarter. The fly contains a representation of the Southern Cross constellation, made up of five white stars – one small five-pointed star and four, larger, seven-pointed stars. (more...)

February 2008[edit]

Coat of Arms of Canada (since 1994)

The Royal Coat of Arms of Canada (known formally as the Arms of His/Her Majesty in Right of Canada) is, since 1921, the official coat of arms of the Canadian monarch, and thus also of Canada. It is closely modelled after the royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom with distinctive Canadian elements replacing or added to those derived from the British.

The maple leaves in the shield, blazoned "proper", were originally drawn vert (green) but were redrawn gules (red) in 1957. A circlet of the Order of Canada was added to the arms for limited use in 1987. The shield design forms the Royal Standard of Canada, and the shield is found on the Canadian Red Ensign. The Flag of the Governor General of Canada, which formerly used the shield over the Union Jack, now uses the crest of the arms on a blue field. (more...)

March 2008[edit]

'The Battle of Trafalgar by J. M. W. Turner (oil on canvas, 1822–1824) shows the last three letters of this famous signal flying from the Victory.

"England expects that every man will do his duty" was a signal sent by Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson from his flagship HMS Victory as the Battle of Trafalgar was about to commence on October 21, 1805. Trafalgar was the decisive naval engagement of the Napoleonic Wars. It gave the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland control of the seas, removing all possibility of a French invasion and conquest of Britain. Although there was much confusion surrounding the wording of the signal in the aftermath of the battle, the significance of the victory and Nelson's death during the battle led to the phrase becoming embedded in the English psyche, and it has been regularly quoted, paraphrased and referenced up to the modern day. (more...)

April 2008[edit]

Flag of Germany

The flag of Germany is a tricolour consisting of three equal horizontal bands displaying the national colours of Germany: black, red and gold. The black-red-gold tricolour first appeared in the early 19th century and achieved prominence during the 1848 revolution. The short-lived Frankfurt Parliament of 1848–50 proposed the tricolour as a flag for a united and democratic German state. With the formation of the Weimar Republic after World War I, the tricolour was adopted as the national flag of Germany. Following World War II, the tricolour was designated as the flag of both West and East Germany. Both flags were identical until 1959, when socialist symbols were added to the East German flag. Since reunification on 3 October 1990, the black-red-gold tricolour has remained the flag of Germany. (more...)

May 2008[edit]

Flag of Canada

The National Flag of Canada, also known as the Maple Leaf, and l'Unifolié (French for "the one-leafed"), is a red flag with a white square in its centre, featuring a stylized 11-pointed red maple leaf. Its adoption in 1965 marked the first time a national flag had been officially adopted to replace the Union Flag. The Canadian Red Ensign had been unofficially used since the 1890s and was approved by a 1945 Order-in-Council for use "wherever place or occasion may make it desirable to fly a distinctive Canadian flag". In 1964, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson appointed a committee to resolve the issue, sparking a serious debate about a flag change. Out of three choices, the maple leaf design by George F. G. Stanley was chosen. The flag made its first appearance on February 15, 1965; the date is now celebrated annually as Flag Day. Other flags have been created for use by Canadian officials, government bodies, and military forces. (more...)

June 2008[edit]

Coat of Arms of the Basque Country

The current Coat of arms of the Basque Country is the official coat of arms of the Basque Country, Autonomous community of Spain. It consists of a party per cross representing the three historical territories of Álava, Guipuscoa and Biscay, as well as a fourth, void quarter. The arms are ringed by a regal wreath of oak leaves, symbolic of the Gernikako Arbola. The fourth quarter once constituted the linked chains of Navarre; however, following a legal suit by the Navarre Government claiming that the usage of the arms of a region on the flag of another was illegal, the Constitutional Court of Spain bound to remove the chains of Navarre in a judgment of 1986. (more...)

July 2008[edit]

The flag of Hong Kong

The flag of Hong Kong, or the Regional Flag of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, features a stylised, white, five-petal Bauhinia blakeana flower in the centre of a red field. The flag was adopted on 16 February 1990. On 10 August 1996, it received formal approval from the Preparatory Committee, a group which advised the People's Republic of China (PRC) on Hong Kong's transfer of sovereignty from the United Kingdom to the PRC in 1997. The flag was first officially hoisted on 1 July 1997, in the handover ceremony marking the transfer of sovereignty. The precise use of the flag is regulated by laws passed by the 58th executive meeting of the State Council held in Beijing. The design of the flag is enshrined in Hong Kong's Basic Law, the city's constitutional document, and regulations regarding the use, prohibition of use, desecration, and manufacture of the flag are stated in the Regional Flag and Regional Emblem Ordinance. (more...)

August 2008[edit]

Ireland King of Arms was the title of an Irish officer of arms from 1392 until the accession of Henry VII as King of England in 1485. The office was replaced in 1552 by that of Ulster King of Arms, which in 1943 was merged with Norroy King of Arms forming the present office of Norroy and Ulster King of Arms. In theory, Ireland King of Arms enjoyed heraldic jurisdiction in the whole of the Lordship of Ireland. (more...)

September 2008[edit]

The flag of India

The National Flag of India was adopted in its present form during an ad hoc meeting of the Constituent Assembly held on the 22 July 1947, twenty-four days before India's independence from the British on 15 August 1947. It has served as the national flag of the Dominion of India between 15 August 1947 and 26 January 1950 and that of the Republic of India thereafter.

Designed by Pingali Venkayya, the flag is a horizontal tricolour of "deep saffron" at the top, white in the middle, and green at the bottom. In the centre, there is a navy blue wheel with twenty-four spokes, known as the Ashoka Chakra, taken from the Lion Capital of Asoka erected atop Ashoka pillar at Sarnath. The diameter of this Chakra is three-fourths of the height of the white strip. The ratio of the width of the flag to its length is 2:3. The official flag specifications require that the flag be made only of "khadi," a special type of hand-spun cloth made popular by Mahatma Gandhi. The display and use of the flag are strictly enforced by the Indian Flag Code. (more...)

October 2008[edit]

Coat of Arms of Munich

The coat of arms of Munich (Münchner Wappen) depicts a young monk dressed in black holding a red book. It has existed in a similar form since the 13th century, though at certain points in its history it has not depicted the central figure of the monk at all. As the German name for Munich, i.e. München, means of Monks, the monk in this case is a self-explanatory symbol who represents the city of Munich. Appearing on a document of May 28, 1239, the oldest seal of Munich has a picture of a monk wearing an open hood. While all seal impressions show the monk with the book in one hand and three outstretched fingers in the other, the monk has varied slightly, appearing in profile, then later full-faced and bare-headed. By the 19th century the figure was portrayed as youthful and became known as the Münchner Kindl or Munich Child. The coat of arms in its current form was created in 1957 and is still an important symbol of the Bavarian state capital. (more...)

November 2008[edit]

Polish naval airport flag

Polish national law defines flags either through an act of parliament or a ministerial ordinance. Apart from the national flag, these are mostly military flags, used by one or all branches of the Polish Armed Forces, especially the Polish Navy. Flags flown by vessels of non-military uniformed services are also included in the list.

Most of the flags feature white and red, the national colors of Poland. The national colors, officially adopted in 1831, are of heraldic origin and derive from the tinctures (colors) of the coats of arms of Poland (the White Eagle) and Lithuania (the Pursuer). Additionally, some flags incorporate the White Eagle itself, either identical with that of the national coat of arms or one of its variants, known as military eagles, used by the Armed Forces. (more...)

December 2008[edit]

Example of arms attributed to Jesus from the 15th-century Hyghalmen Roll, based on the instruments of the Passion

Attributed arms are coats of arms given to legendary figures, or to notable persons from times before the rise of heraldry. Beginning in the 12th century, imaginary arms were assigned to the knights of the Round Table, and soon arms were given to biblical figures, to Roman and Greek heroes, and to kings and popes who had not historically borne arms. The specific arms could vary, but the arms for major figures soon became fixed.

Notable arms attributed to biblical figures include the arms of Jesus based on the instruments of the Passion, and the shield of the Trinity. Medieval literature attributed coats of arms to the Nine Worthies, including Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and King Arthur. Arms were given to many kings predating heraldry, including Edward the Confessor and William I of England. These attributed arms were sometimes used in practice as quarterings in the arms of their descendants. (more...)

January 2009[edit]

The flag of Belarus

The current national flag of Belarus was formally adopted on June 7, 1995, following the result of a referendum voted on by the Belarusian people in the previous month. This new design replaced a historical white and red flag used by the Belarusian People's Republic of 1918, before Belarus became a Soviet Republic, and again after it regained its independence in 1991. A few groups have continued to use the white and red flag, though its display in Belarus has been restricted by the government of President Alexander Lukashenko.

The current flag is a modification of the 1951 flag used while the country was a republic of the Soviet Union, mainly in the removal of the hammer and sickle and the red star, and the reversal of red and white in the hoist pattern. The Standard of the President of Republic of Belarus is identical to the national flag with a 5:6 ratio with the addition of the National emblem of Belarus. (more...)

February 2009[edit]

The flag of Japan

The national flag of Japan is a white flag with a large red disc (representing the rising sun) in the center. The flag's official name in Japanese is Nisshōki (日章旗 "sun flag"?) but the flag is more commonly known as Hinomaru (日の丸 "sun disc"?). The Hinomaru was widely used on military banners in the Sengoku (Warring States) period of the 15th and 16th centuries. During the Meiji Restoration the flag was officially adopted for use as the civil ensign by Proclamation No. 57 on February 27, 1870 (January 27, Meiji 3 in the Japanese calendar). However, the flag was not adopted nationally until August 13, 1999, by the Law Regarding the National Flag and National Anthem.

Along with the national anthem Kimi ga Yo, the Hinomaru is considered a controversial symbol of the militaristic past of the country. Use of the Hinomaru was also severely restricted during the early years of the American occupation of the country after World War II, although restrictions were later relaxed. Japanese law did not designate any particular flag as the national flag from 1885 until 1999, although the Hinomaru was legally the national flag for the brief period from 1870 until 1885. Despite this, several military banners of Japan are based on the design of the Hinomaru, including the sun-rayed Naval Ensign. The Hinomaru was used as a template to design other Japanese flags for public and private use. (more...)

March 2009[edit]

Marcela Mariño de Agoncillo

Marcela Mariño de Agoncillo (June 24, 1860 – May 30, 1946), also simply known as Marcela Agoncillo, was a Filipina renowned in Philippine history as the principal seamstress of the first and official flag of the Philippines, gaining her the title of Mother of the Philippine Flag.

After finishing her studies at Sta. Catalina College, Agoncillo married Filipino lawyer and jurist Don Felipe Agoncillo. When her husband was exiled to Hong Kong during the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution, Agoncillo and the rest of the family joined him and temporarily resided there to avoid the anti-Filipino hostility of some foreign countries. While in Hong Kong, General Emilio Aguinaldo requested her to sew a flag that would represent their country. Agoncillo, her eldest daughter and a friend manually sewed the flag in accordance with General Aguinaldo's design which later became the official flag of the Philippines. (more...)

April 2009[edit]

Cubs Win Flag

The Cubs Win Flag is a victory flag that is flown at Wrigley Field after every Chicago Cubs home win. The flag is variously referred to by approximately a dozen names, combining; either Cubs or Chicago Cubs; Win, W, White, White W, or W Win; and flag, banner or banner flag. It has become an important symbol for fans that one retailer describes as a fan banner instead of flag, or banner flag. In addition, days when the win flag is flown are known as "White Flag Days". The tradition of flying a win or loss flag over the stadium began soon after the construction of the scoreboard in 1937.

The flag has used two different color schemes with the letter "W" on a solid background, and there is a loss indicator flag with a letter "L". Additionally, the flags have been complemented by different color schemes of indicator lights. The flag has become a very symbolic emblem for devout Cubs fans. Some retailers sell slightly different versions that also have the Cubs logo at the bottom. (more...)

May 2009[edit]

Flag of Poland

The flag of Poland consists of two horizontal stripes of equal width, the upper one white and the lower one red. The two colors are defined in the Polish constitution as the national colors. A variant of the flag with the national coat of arms in the middle of the white stripe is legally reserved for official use abroad and at sea. A similar flag with the addition of a swallow-tail is used as the naval ensign of Poland.

White and red were officially adopted as national colors in 1831. They are of heraldic origin and derive from the tinctures (colors) of the coats of arms of the two constituent nations of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, i.e. the White Eagle of Poland and the Pursuer (Lithuanian: Vytis, Polish: Pogoń) of Lithuania, a white knight riding a white horse, both on a red shield. Prior to that, Polish soldiers wore cockades of various color combinations. The national flag was officially adopted in 1919. Since 2004, Polish Flag Day is celebrated on May 2. (more...)

June 2009[edit]

Flag of Tunisia

The national flag of Tunisia (Arabic: علم تونس‎) is predominantly red and consists of a white circle in the middle containing a red crescent around a five-pointed star. The Bey of Tunis Al-Husayn II ibn Mahmud decided to create the flag after the Battle of Navarino on 20 October 1827, which was adopted in 1831 or 1835. It remained the country's official flag during its time as a French protectorate, and was confirmed as the national flag of the Republic of Tunisia with the signing of the Constitution of Tunisia on 1 June 1959. It was not until 30 June 1999 that its proportions and design were clearly specified in law.

The crescent and star recalls the Ottoman flag and is therefore an indication of Tunisia's history as a part of the Ottoman Empire. (more...)

July 2009[edit]

1957 Coat of Arms of Québec with French, English and Canadian elements

Canadian heraldry refers to the cultural tradition and style of coats of arms and other heraldic achievements in modern and historic Canada, including national, provincial, and civic arms, noble and personal arms, ecclesiastical heraldry, heraldic displays as corporate logos, and Canadian heraldic descriptions.

Canadian heraldry derives mainly from heraldic traditions in France and the United Kingdom while adding distinctly Canadian symbols, especially those which reference the First Nations and other aboriginal peoples of Canada. Canadian heraldry has a unique system of cadency for daughters inheriting arms, and a special symbol for United Empire Loyalists. Since 1988, both personal and corporate heraldry in Canada is officially governed by the Canadian Heraldic Authority, which reviews all applications for arms. (more...)

August 2009[edit]

A crest badge of a clan chief of a fictional Scottish clan. A clan chief is the only one entitled to three eagle feathers.

A Scottish crest badge, more commonly called a clan crest, is a heraldic badge worn to show one's allegiance to a specific Scottish clan. Crest badges may be worn by any member of a clan. Even though it is the most common name, the term clan crest is a misnomer. There is no such thing as a clan crest. Modern crest badges usually consist of the clan chief's personal crest surrounded by a strap and buckle and the chief's motto or slogan. Although "clan crests" are commonly bought and sold, the heraldic crest and motto belong to the chief alone and never the clan member. Crest badges, much like clan tartans, do not have a long history, and owe much to Victorian era romanticism, having only been worn on the bonnet since the 19th century. The original badges used by clans are said to have been specific plants worn in bonnets or hung from a pole or spear. (more...)

September 2009[edit]

Two heralds at the funeral of King Johan III from 1594

Swedish heraldry refers to the cultural tradition and style of heraldic achievements in modern and historic Sweden. It belongs culturally to the German-Nordic heraldic tradition, noted for its multiple helmets and crests which are treated as inseparable from the shield, repetition of colours and charges between the shield and the crest, and its scant use of heraldic furs. Swedish heraldry is similar to Danish heraldry; both were heavily influenced by German heraldry. The medieval history of the Nordic countries was closely related, so they developed their heraldic individuality rather late. Swedish and Finnish heraldry have a shared history prior to the Diet of Porvoo in 1809. Unlike the macaronic and highly stylized English blazon, Swedish heraldry is described in plain language, using only Swedish terminology.

In Sweden today, the official coats of arms of corporations and government offices are protected by Swedish law, if the coat of arms is registered with the Swedish Patent and Registration Office. Heraldic arms of common citizens (burgher arms), however, are less strictly controlled; these are recognised by inclusion in the annually published Scandinavian Roll of Arms. (more...)

October 2009[edit]

Flag of Western Australia with black swan

The Black Swan is an important cultural reference in Australia, although the character of that importance historically diverges between the prosaic in the east and the symbolic in west. The Black Swan is also of spiritual significance in the traditional histories of many Australian Aboriginal peoples across southern Australia.

The Black Swan is the official state emblem of Western Australia, and is depicted on the Flag of Western Australia, as well as being depicted on the Western Australian Coat-of-Arms. The symbol is used in other emblems, coins, logos, mascots and in the naming of sports teams. (more...)

November 2009[edit]

The seal of Indiana

The seal of Indiana is used by the Governor of Indiana to certify official documents. The seal has gone through several revisions since the region was a part of the Northwest Territory. It is likely the original seal, which is similar to the current one, was created by William Henry Harrison during his administration of the Indiana Territory. The current design of the seal was standardized by the Indiana General Assembly in 1963.

The sun rising in the picture represents that Indiana has a bright future ahead and is just beginning. The mountains it rises over are a representation of the Allegheny Mountains showing that Indiana is in the west. The woodman represents civilization subduing the wilderness that was Indiana. The buffalo represents the wilderness fleeing westward away from the advancing civilization. (more...)

December 2009[edit]

National flag of Singapore

The national flag of Singapore was first adopted in 1959, the year Singapore became self-governing within the British Empire. It was reconfirmed as the national flag when the Republic gained independence on 9 August 1965. The design is a horizontal bicolour of red above white, charged in the canton by a white crescent moon facing, toward the fly, a pentagon of five small white five-pointed stars. The elements of the flag denote a young nation on the ascendant, universal brotherhood and equality, and national ideals.

The national flag is not used as an ensign by vessels at sea. In its place, one of three derivatives of the national flag is used, depending on a vessel's status: merchant vessels and pleasure craft fly a civil ensign of red charged in white with a variant of the crescent and stars emblem in the centre; non-military government vessels such as coast guard ships fly a state ensign of blue with the national flag in the canton, charged with an eight-pointed red and white compass rose in the lower fly; and warships fly a naval ensign similar to the state ensign, but in white with a red compass rose emblem. (more...)

January 2010[edit]

Mateiu Caragiale

Mateiu Ion Caragiale March 25 [O.S. March 12] 1885-January 17, 1936) was a Romanian poet and prose writer, best known for his novel Craii de Curtea-Veche, which portrays the milieu of boyar descendants before and after World War I. Caragiale's style, associated with Symbolism, the Decadent movement of the fin de siècle, and early modernism, was an original element in the Romanian literature of the interwar period. In other late contributions, Caragiale pioneered detective fiction locally. The scarcity of writings he left is contrasted by their critical acclaim and a large, mostly posthumous, following, commonly known as mateists.

Also known as an amateur heraldist and graphic artist, Caragiale discovered a passion for history and heraldry while at Sfântul Gheorghe College in Bucharest, when he would fill his notebooks with sketches of blazons. Caragiale studied Romanian heraldry and, to this goal, read Octav-George Lecca's Familii boiereşti române ("Romanian Boyar Families"). Many of the comments added by him to his copy of the book are polemic, sarcastic, or mysterious, while the sketches he made on the margin include portrayals of boyars being put to death in various ways, as well as caricatures (such as a blazon displaying a donkey's head, which he mockingly assigned to Octav-George Lecca himself). Caragiale's interest in heraldry and genealogy mirrored his tastes and outlook on the world, which have been described as "snobbery", "aestheticism", and "dandyism". (more...)

February 2010[edit]

Flag of Kosovo

The flag of the Republic of Kosovo was adopted by the Assembly of Kosovo immediately following the declaration of independence of the Republic of Kosovo from Serbia on 17 February 2008. The flag is the result of an international design competition, organized by the United Nations-backed Kosovo Unity Team, which attracted 993 entries. Under the terms of the contest, all entries had to reflect the multi-ethnic nature of Kosovo, avoiding the use of the double-headed eagle or the use of solely red and black or red, blue and white color schemes. The now-used design is a variant of one proposal designed by Muhamer Ibrahimi. It shows six white stars in an arc above a golden map of Kosovo on a blue field. The stars symbolize Kosovo's six major ethnic groups. (more...)

March 2010[edit]

Royal Standard of Scotland

The Royal Standard of Scotland, also known as the Banner of the King of Scots or more commonly the Lion Rampant of Scotland, is the Scottish Royal Banner of Arms. Used historically by the King of Scots, the Royal Standard of Scotland differs from Scotland's national flag, The Saltire, in that its correct use is restricted by an Act of the Parliament of Scotland to only a few Great Officers of State who officially represent The Sovereign in Scotland. It is also used in an official capacity at Royal residences in Scotland when the Sovereign is not present.

The earliest recorded use of the Lion rampant as a Royal emblem in Scotland is by Alexander II in 1222. This emblem occupied the shield of the Royal coat of arms of the ancient Kingdom of Scotland which, together with a Royal banner displaying the same, was used by the King of Scots until the Union of the Crowns in 1603, when James VI acceded to the thrones of the Kingdom of England and Kingdom of Ireland. The Lion Rampant of Scotland can be seen today in the Royal Standard of the United Kingdom. (more...)

April 2010[edit]

Shield of the Trinity

The Shield of the Trinity or Scutum Fidei is a traditional Christian visual symbol which expresses many aspects of the doctrine of the Trinity, summarizing the first part of the Athanasian Creed in a compact diagram. In medieval England and France, this emblem was considered to be the heraldic arms of God (and of the Trinity). The precise origin of this diagram is unknown, but it was evidently influenced by 12th-century experiments in symbolizing the Trinity in abstract visual form, mainly by Petrus Alfonsi's Tetragrammaton-Trinity diagram of ca. 1109.

The Shield of the Trinity diagram is attested from as early as a ca. 1208-1216 manuscript. The diagram was used heraldically from the mid-13th century, when a shield-shaped version of the diagram (not actually placed on a shield) was included among the heraldic shields in Matthew Paris' Chronica Majora, ca. 1250. Allegorical illustrations ca. 1260 show the diagram placed on a shield. The period of its most widespread use was during the 15th and 16th centuries, when it is in found in a number of English and French manuscripts, books, stained-glass windows and ornamental carvings. (more...)

May 2010[edit]

Heirlooms of Clan MacLeod of Dunvegan Castle, including Fairy Flag

The Fairy Flag (Scottish Gaelic: Am Bratach Sìth) is an heirloom of the chiefs of Clan MacLeod. It is held in Dunvegan Castle along with other notable heirlooms, such as the Dunvegan Cup and Sir Rory Mor's Horn. The flag is made of silk, is yellow or brown in colour, and measures about 18 inches (46 cm) square. Now ripped and tattered, it is extremely fragile. The flag is covered in small red "elf dots". In the early part of the 19th century, the flag was also marked with small crosses, but these have since disappeared. The flag may have been an important relic, perhaps from the Crusades, or it may have even been a raven banner.

There are numerous stories associated with the flag, most of which deal with its magical properties and mysterious origins. Clan tradition, preserved in the early 19th century, tells how the Fairy Flag was entrusted to a family of hereditary standard bearers. Tradition states that the flag was unfurled at several clan battles in the 15th and 16th centuries; the flag's magical powers are said to have won at least one of them. In the mid 20th century, the Fairy Flag was said to have said to have extinguished a fire at Dunvegan Castle, and to have given luck to servicemen flying bombing missions in the Second World War. (more...)

June 2010[edit]

1848 tricolor flag of Romania

The colors of the national flag of Romania (Romanian: Drapelul României) have a long history. Red, yellow and blue were found on late 16th-century royal grants of Michael the Brave, as well as shields and banners. During the Wallachian uprising of 1821, they were present on the canvas of the revolutionaries' flag and its fringes; for the first time a meaning was attributed to them: "Liberty (sky-blue), Justice (field yellow), Fraternity (blood red)". Article 124 of the 1866 Constitution of Romania provided that “the colors of the United Principalities will be Blue, Yellow and Red”. The order and placement of the colors were decided by the Assembly of Deputies in its session of 26 March 1867. Thus, following a proposal by Nicolae Golescu, they were placed just as in 1848.

On 30 December 1947, Romania was proclaimed a people’s republic and all the kingdom’s symbols were outlawed, including the coats of arms and the tricolor flags that showed them. According to article 101 of the 1948 Constitution, “The flag of the Romanian People’s Republic is composed of the colors: blue, yellow and red, arranged vertically. In the middle is placed the national coat of arms”. (more...)

July 2010[edit]

The Lion and Sun

The Lion and Sun or Shir-o-khorshid (Persian: شیر و خورشید‎) is one of the better-known emblems of Iran, and between 1423 and 1979 was an element in Iran's national flag. The motif, which combines "ancient Iranian, Arab, Turkish, and Mongol traditions", became a popular symbol in Iran in the 12th century. The lion and sun symbol is based largely on astronomical and astrological configurations: the ancient sign of the sun in the house of Leo, which itself is traced backed to Babylonian astrology and Near Eastern traditions.

During the Safavid era, the lion and sun stood for the two pillars of society, the state and the Islamic religion. It became a national emblem during the Qajar era. In the 19th century, European visitors at the Qajar court attributed the lion and sun to remote antiquity; since then, it has acquired a nationalistic interpretation. During the reign of Fat'h Ali Shah and his successors, a crown was also placed on the top of the symbol to represent the monarchy. Beginning in the reign of Fat'h Ali Shah Qajar, the Islamic aspect of the monarchy was de-emphasized. The emblem remained the official symbol of Iran until the 1979 revolution, when the "Lion and Sun" symbol was removed from public spaces and government organizations, and replaced by the present-day Coat of arms of Iran. (more...)

August 2010[edit]

Law Regarding the National Flag and National Anthem of Japan as published in the Official Gazette (August 15, 1999)

The Law Regarding the National Flag and Anthem (国旗及び国歌に関する法律 Kokki Oyobi Kokka ni Kansuru Hōritsu?) (abbreviated as 国旗国歌法) is a law that formally established Japan's national flag and anthem. It was promulgated on August 13, 1999, and established the Nisshōki (日章旗?, Sun-circle flag) as the national flag of Japan and the song Kimigayo (君が代?) as the national anthem of Japan. Details about each symbol were provided in appendixes in the law, such as construction details of the flag and sheet music for Kimigayo. The law did not provide any protocols involving both symbols or how they should be used or respected. Due to the lack of rules about the usage of both symbols, different national and prefectural agencies and ministries came up with their own regulations.

Before the passage of this law, there was no official flag or anthem that represented Japan. From 1870, the Nisshōki (日章旗?) flag, also referred to as the Hinomaru (日の丸?), was used in various capacities to represent Japan; Kimigayo (君が代?) was used as Japan's de facto anthem since 1880. (more...)

September 2010[edit]

State emblem of Pakistan

Pakistan has several official national symbols including a historic document, a flag, an emblem, an anthem, a memorial tower as well as several national heroes. The symbols were adopted at various stages in the existence of Pakistan and there are various rules and regulations governing their definition or use. The oldest symbol is the Lahore Resolution, adopted by the All India Muslim League on 23 March 1940, and which presented the official demand for the creation of a separate country for the Muslims of India. The Minar-e-Pakistan memorial tower which was built in 1968 on the site where the Lahore Resolution was passed. The national flag of Pakistan was adopted just before independence was achieved on 14 August 1947. The national anthem (Qaumi Tarana) and the state emblem of Pakistan were each adopted in 1954. There are also several other symbols including the national animal, bird, flower and tree. (more...)

October 2010[edit]

Flag of the People's Republic of China

The flag of the People's Republic of China is a red field charged in the canton (upper left corner) with five golden stars. The design features one large star, with four smaller stars in a semicircle set off towards the fly (right side). The red represents revolution; the five stars and their relationship represent the unity of the Chinese people under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Sometimes, the flag is referred to as the "Five Star Red Flag" (simplified Chinese: 五星红旗; traditional Chinese: 五星紅旗; pinyin: wǔ xīng hóng qí).

The flag was designed in response to a circular distributed by the Preparatory Committee of the New Political Consultative Conference (新政治協商會議籌備會) in July 1949, shortly after they came to power following the Chinese Civil War. About three thousand entries were received for the design competition, and after slight modifications, the design by Zeng Liansong, a citizen from Rui'an, Zhejiang, was chosen as the national flag. The construction sheet for the national flag was published on September 28, 1949 by an order from the Presidium of the First Plenary Session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. The first flag was hoisted by Mao Zedong on a pole overlooking Beijing's Tiananmen Square on October 1, 1949, at a ceremony announcing the founding of the People's Republic. (more...)

November 2010[edit]

Flag of Europe

The Flag of Europe is the flag and emblem of the European Union (EU) and Council of Europe (CoE) (it is also used to indicate the euro or eurozone countries). It consists of a circle of 12 golden (yellow) stars on a blue background. The blue represents the west; the number of stars represents completeness while their position in a circle represents unity. The stars do not vary according to the members of either organisation as they are intended to represent all the peoples of Europe, even those outside European integration.

The flag was designed by Arsène Heitz and Paul Lévy in 1955 for the CoE as its symbol, and the CoE urged it to be adopted by other organisations. In 1985 the EU, which was then the European Economic Community (EEC), adopted it as its own flag (having had no flag of its own before) at the initiative of the European Parliament. The flag is not mentioned in the EU's treaties, its incorporation being dropped along with the European Constitution, but it is formally adopted in law. (more...)

December 2010[edit]

Flag of the Republic of China

The flag of the Republic of China, commonly known as Taiwan, was first used in mainland China by the Kuomintang (KMT, Chinese Nationalist Party) in 1917 and was made the official flag of the ROC in 1928. It was enshrined in the 6th article of the Constitution of the Republic of China when it was promulgated in 1947. Since 1949, the flag is mostly used within Taiwan where the Republic of China relocated after having lost the Chinese Civil War to the People's Republic of China.

In Chinese, the flag is commonly described as Blue Sky, White Sun, and a Wholly Red Earth (traditional Chinese: , , 滿; simplified Chinese: , , ; pinyin: Qīng Tiān, Bái Rì, Mǎn Dì Hóng) to reflect its attributes. The canton (upper corner on the hoist side) originated from the "Blue Sky with a White Sun flag" proposed by Lu Hao-tung in 1895 and adopted as the KMT party flag. The "red earth" portion was added by Sun Yat-sen in 1906. After the Republican revolution, the provisional Senate selected the "Five-Colored Flag" as the national flag in 1912. After President Yuan Shikai suppressed the KMT, Sun Yat-sen established a government-in-exile in Tokyo and eventually a rival government in Guangzhou in 1917, using the KMT flag as the national ROC flag. This flag was made the official national flag on December 17, 1928 after the Northern Expedition toppled the Beiyang government. (more...)

January 2011[edit]

Flag of the Italian Republic

The flag of Italy (bandiera d'Italia, often referred to in Italian as il Tricolore) is a tricolour featuring three equally sized vertical pales of green, white, and red, with the green at the hoist side. Its current form has been in use since 19 June 1946 and was formally adopted on 1 January 1948.

The first entity to use the Italian tricolour was the Repubblica Cispadana (Cispadane Republic) in 1797, after Napoleon's victorious army crossed Italy. During this time many small republics of Jacobin inspiration supplanted the ancient absolute states and almost all, with variants of colour, used flags characterised by three bands of equal size, clearly inspired by the French model of 1790. The colours chosen by the Republic were red and white, the colours of the flag of Milan, and green, which was the colour of the uniform of the Milanese civic guard. Some have attributed particular values to the colours, and a common interpretation is that the green represents the country's plains and the hills; white, the snow-capped Alps; and red, blood spilt in the Wars of Italian Independence. A more religious interpretation is that the green represents hope, the white represents faith, and the red represents charity; this references the three theological virtues. (more...)

February 2011[edit]

Coat of arms of Albany, New York

The coat of arms of Albany, New York is a heraldic symbol representing the city of Albany, the capital of the U.S. state of New York. The coat of arms is rarely seen by itself; it is almost always used in the city seal or on the city flag. The current coat of arms was adopted in 1789, although prior to that it was significantly simpler, ranging from stylized lettering to a caricature of a beaver. Included in the coat of arms are references to Albany's agricultural and fur-trading past. It is supported by a white man and an American Indian and is crested by a sloop. The coat of arms is meant to represent the "symbols of industry and its rewards to man and beast on land and sea". (more...)

March 2011[edit]

1892 version of flag of Puerto Rico with light blue tone

The Flags of Puerto Rico represent and symbolize the island and people of Puerto Rico. The origins of the current flag of Puerto Rico, adopted by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in 1952, can be traced to 1868, when the first Puerto Rican flag, "The Revolutionary Flag of Lares", was conceived by Dr. Ramón Emeterio Betances and embroidered by Mariana "Brazos de Oro" Bracetti. The exiled Puerto Rican Revolutionary Committee chose the Flag of Lares as their standard. In 1892, the Revolutionary Committee adopted a design modeled after the Cuban flag. The new flag consisted of five equal horizontal bands of red (top and bottom) alternating with white; a blue isosceles triangle based on the hoist side bears a large, white, five-pointed star in the center.

The display of a Puerto Rican flag was outlawed and the only flags permitted to be flown in Puerto Rico were the Spanish flag (1492 to 1898) and the flag of the United States (1898 to 1952). In 1952, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico declared the flag originally designed in 1892 to be the official flag, but without specifying the tones of colors to be used. The color of the triangle that was used by the administration of Luis Muñoz Marín was the dark blue that is used in the flag of the United States, instead of the original light blue, thus creating a political controversy which has lasted throughout the years. (more...)

April 2011[edit]

Royal Arms of England (1193-1340)

In heraldry, the Royal Arms of England is a coat of arms symbolising England and its monarchs. Its blazon (technical description) is Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or armed and langued Azure, meaning three identical gold lions with blue tongues and claws, walking and facing the observer, arranged in a column on a red background. This coat, designed in the High Middle Ages, has been variously combined with those of France, Scotland, Ireland, Nassau and Hanover, according to dynastic and other political changes affecting England, but has not itself been altered since the reign of Richard I. (more...)

May 2011[edit]

The National Flag of Mexico

In Article 18 of the Law on the National Arms, Flag, and Anthem (Ley Sobre El Escudo, la Bandera y el Himno Nacionales) there is a listing of dates that the Mexican flag is flown by all branches of government. Civilians are also encouraged to display the national flag on these days. Many of the dates listed in the law denote significant events and people that shaped of Mexican identity and the course of its History. Some of the holidays and commemorations listed require the flag to be flown at half-staff. The national flag can be flown any day of the year by civilians or at festive occasions in persurrence to Article 15 of the Law on the National Arms, Flag, and Anthem. (more...)

June 2011[edit]

The colors in the PACE flag (Italian for 'peace')

A rainbow flag is a multi-colored flag consisting of stripes in the colors of the rainbow. The actual colors shown differ, but many of the designs are based on the traditional scheme of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet, or some more modern division of the rainbow spectrum (often excluding indigo, and sometimes including cyan instead). The use of rainbow flags has a long tradition; they are displayed in many cultures around the world as a sign of diversity and inclusiveness, of hope and of yearning.

There are several independent rainbow flags in use today. The most widely known is perhaps the pride flag representing gay pride. The peace flag is especially popular in Italy and the cooperative flag symbolizes the international co-operative movement. It is also used by Andean people to represent the legacy of the Inca empire (Wiphala) and Andean movements. (more...)

July 2011[edit]

A well known example of German burgher arms: canting arms of Albrecht Dürer.

Burgher arms are coats of arms of commoners (i.e. non-nobles) in heraldry of the European continent. Although the term "burgher" arms refers to bourgeoisie, it is often extended also to arms of (Protestant) clergy and even to arms of peasants. In continental Europe, the use of armorial bearings has never been restricted to a particular social class (unlike in Britain). Every individual, every family and every community has been free to adopt and use arms and as they please, provided they have not wrongfully assumed the arms of another. The exception was arms in Portugal, where king Afonso V restricted burgher arms to the use of colours only.

Use of coats of arms by burghers and artisans began during 13th century and in the 14th century some peasants took to using arms. The arms of commoners bore a far wider variety of charges than the arms of nobility like everyday objects, in particular, tools. In burgher arms are met sometimes also house marks which are not met in arms of nobility. Most widespread burgher heraldry was and still is in Switzerland and in Netherlands. In Netherlands only a small percentage of the existing arms belong to the nobility. (more...)

August 2011[edit]

Seal of Dartmouth College

The Seal of Dartmouth College is the official insignia of Dartmouth College, an Ivy League university located in Hanover, New Hampshire, United States. Anglo-American law generally requires a corporate body to seek official government sanction, usually in the form of a charter, in order to operate. Such chartered bodies normally authenticate their official acts by marking them with a distinctive seal. The seal's design is usually complicated to avoid counterfeiting, but it can also express something about the institution's history or mission. Dartmouth College is one such chartered body, and it obtained its official seal in 1773. (more...)

September 2011[edit]

Flag of Ecuador

The flag of Ecuador, which consists of horizontal bands of yellow (double width), blue and red, was first adopted on September 26, 1860. The design of the current flag was finalized in 1900 with the addition of the coat of arms in the center of the flag. Before using the yellow, blue and red tricolor, Ecuador used white and blue flags that contained stars for each province of the country. The design of the flag is very similar to that of Colombia and Venezuela, which are also former constituent territories of Gran Colombia. All three are based on a proposal by Venezuelan General Francisco de Miranda, which was adopted by Venezuela in 1811 and later Gran Colombia with some modifications. There is a variant of the flag that does not contain the coat of arms that is used by the merchant marine. This flag matches Colombia's in every aspect, but Colombia uses a different design when her merchant marine ships are at sail. (more...)

October 2011[edit]

The Flag of Scotland, the Saltire

The Flag of Scotland, (Scottish Gaelic: Bratach nàiseanta na h-Alba, Scots: Banner o Scotland), also known as Saint Andrew's Cross or The Saltire, is the national flag of Scotland. Consisting of a blue background over which is placed a white representation of an X-shaped cross, the Saltire is one of Scotland's most recognisable symbols.

According to legend, the Christian apostle and martyr Saint Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, was crucified on an X-shaped cross at Patras, (Patrae), in Achaea. Use of the familiar iconography of his martyrdom, showing the apostle bound to an X-shaped cross, first appears in the Kingdom of Scotland in 1180 during the reign of William I. Use of a simplified symbol associated with Saint Andrew which does not depict his image has its origins in the late 14th century. The earliest reference to the Saint Andrew's Cross as a flag is to be found in the Vienna Book of Hours, circa 1503, where a white saltire is depicted with a red background. In the case of Scotland, use of a blue background for the Saint Andrew's Cross is said to date from at least the 15th century. (more...)

November 2011[edit]

Flag of Indiana

The flag of Indiana was designed by Paul Hadley and officially adopted by the state of Indiana on May 31, 1917. It was the state's first official flag and has remained unchanged since then except for the creation of a statute to standardize the production of the flag. The flag consists of a gold torch that represents liberty and enlightenment; the rays around the torch represent their far-reaching influence. The nineteen stars represent Indiana's place as the nineteenth state to join the United States. The thirteen stars in the outer loop symbolize the original Thirteen Colonies, the five inner stars represent the next five states added to the Union, and the one large star above the torch represents Indiana. (more...)

December 2011[edit]

Flag of Bhutan

The national flag of Bhutan is one of the national symbols of the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. The flag is based upon the tradition of the Drukpa Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism and features Druk, the Thunder Dragon of Bhutanese mythology. The basic design of the flag by Mayum Choying Wangmo Dorji dates to 1947. A version was displayed in 1949 at the signing of the Indo-Bhutan Treaty. A second version was introduced in 1956 for the visit of Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuk to eastern Bhutan; it was based upon photos of its 1949 predecessor and featured a white Druk in place of the green original. The National Assembly of Bhutan codified a code of conduct in 1972 to formalize the flag's design establish protocol regarding acceptable flag sizes and conditions for flying the flag. (more...)

January 2012[edit]

Red ensign of Singapore

The Red Ensign of Singapore is a civil ensign used by privately-owned, non-military ships that are registered in Singapore. The overall design of the ensign is a modification of the national flag, with the ratio of the width to the length extended to 1:2. The ensign was created by law in 1966. The use of this ensign is regulated by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). According to the MPA, the Red Ensign is the only ensign to be used on Singaporean civilian ships, and the national flag is not an acceptable substitute. The ensign must be hoisted on all Singaporean ships on entering or leaving port. (more...)

February 2012[edit]

The shield blazoned Azure, a Bend Or, which was the subject of Scrope v. Grosvenor

Scrope v. Grosvenor was one of the earliest heraldic law cases brought in England. The case resulted from the fact that two different families were using the same undifferenced coat of arms. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the composition of coats of arms was very simple. Most shields consisted of only one charge and two tinctures, and there were times when two families bore the same coat of arms in the same jurisdiction. In the fourteenth century, though, cases of two unrelated families bearing the same coat of arms became less tolerated. When this happened, the monarch was usually called on to make a decision. (more...)

March 2012[edit]

Emblem of Italy

The emblem of Italy (Italian: emblema della Repubblica italiana) was adopted by the newly formed Italian Republic on 5 May 1948. Although often referred to as a coat of arms (or stemma in Italian), it is technically an emblem as it was not designed to conform to traditional heraldic rules. The emblem comprises a white five-pointed star, with a fine red border, superimposed upon a five-spoked cogwheel, standing between an olive branch to the dexter side and an oak branch to the sinister side; the branches are in turn bound together by a red ribbon with the inscription REPVBBLICA ITALIANA. The emblem is used extensively by the Italian government. The armorial bearings of the House of Savoy, blazoned gules a cross argent, were previously in use by the late Kingdom of Italy; the supporters, on either side a lion rampant Or, were replaced with fasci littori (literally bundles of the lictors) during the fascist era. (more...)

April 2012[edit]

Coat of arms of Germany

The coat of arms of Germany displays a black eagle (the Bundesadler "Federal Eagle", formerly Reichsadler "Imperial Eagle") on a yellow shield (Or, an eagle displayed sable). The current official design is due to Tobias Schwab (1887–1967) and was introduced in 1928. It is a re-introduction of the coat of arms of the Weimar Republic (in use 1919–1935) adopted by the Federal Republic of Germany in 1950. The Weimar Republic had re-introduced the medieval coat of arms of the Holy Roman Emperors, in use during the 13th and 14th centuries, before Sigismund of Luxemburg adopted the double-headed eagle beginning in 1433. The single-headed Imperial Eagle (on a white background, Argent, an eagle displayed sable) had also been used by the German Empire during 1889–1918, based on the earlier coat of arms of Prussia. (more...)

May 2012[edit]

The MOL Pride, owned and operated by a Japanese company, flying the flag of Liberia as a flag of convenience

The term flag of convenience describes the business practice of registering a merchant ship in a sovereign state different from that of the ship's owners. The term refers to the civil ensign the ship flies to indicate its country of registration or flag state. A ship operates under the laws of its flag state, and these laws are used if the ship is involved in an admiralty case. The modern practice of flagging ships in foreign countries began in the 1920s in the United States, when shipowners frustrated by increased regulations and rising labor costs began to register their ships to Panama. As of 2009, more than half of the world’s merchant ships are registered under flags of convenience. (more...)

June 2012[edit]

Self portrait of Matthew Paris

Matthew Paris (lit. "Matthew the Parisian"; c. 1200 – 1259) was a Benedictine monk, English chronicler, artist in illuminated manuscripts and cartographer, based at St Albans Abbey in Hertfordshire. He wrote a number of works, mostly historical, which scribed and illuminated himself, typically in drawings partly coloured with watercolour washes, sometimes called "tinted drawings". Some were written in Latin, some in Anglo-Norman or French verse. His Chronica Majora is an oft-cited source, though modern historians recognize that Paris was not always reliable. (more...)

July 2012[edit]

Coat of arms of Singapore

The coat of arms of Singapore is the heraldic symbol representing the Southeast Asian island nation of Singapore. It was adopted in 1959, the year Singapore became self-governing within the British Empire. At the centre of the emblem is a red shield bearing a white crescent (a new moon, representing a rising young nation) and five white stars (representing various national ideals including multiculturalism). While the use of the coat of arms is restricted to the government, the symbol enjoys wide use on the national currency and state decorations, and appears on the cover of the national passport.(more...)

August 2012[edit]

The 22 cantonal coats of arms in the stained glass dome of the Federal Palace of Switzerland (ca. 1900)

There are 26 modern cantons of Switzerland, each of which has an official flag and coat of arms.The history of development of these designs spans the 13th to 20th centuries. With the exception of Lucerne, Schwyz and Ticino, the cantonal coats of arms are simply arrangements of the cantonal flags in a shield shape. This fashion originates in the 15th century. (more...)

September 2012[edit]

The original Eureka Flag

The Eureka Flag is a design which features: a dark blue field 260 x 400 cm (2:3.08 ratio); a horizontal stripe 37 cm wide and a vertical line crossing it of 36 cm wide; and 5 eight pointed stars, the central star being 65 cm tall (point to point) and the other stars 60 cm tall, representing the Crux Australis constellation. The design was first used for the war flag of the Eureka Rebellion of 1854 at Ballarat in Victoria, Australia.

The flag design has gained wider notability due to its adoption in Australian culture as a symbol of democracy, protest and other causes. It is listed as an object of state heritage significance on the Victorian Heritage Register and was named as a Victorian Icon by the National Trust in 2006. (more...)

October 2012[edit]

Mary Pickersgill

Mary Pickersgill (born Mary Young; February 12, 1776 – October 4, 1857), was the maker of the Star Spangled Banner Flag hoisted over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. Pickersgill learned her craft from her mother, Rebecca Young, also a noted flag maker. In 1813, Pickersgill was commissioned by Major George Armistead to make a flag for Baltimore's Fort McHenry that was so large that the British would have no difficulty seeing it from a great distance. The flag was installed in August 1813, and, a year later, during the Battle of Baltimore, Francis Scott Key could see the flag while negotiating a prisoner exchange aboard a British vessel, and was inspired to pen the words that became the United States National Anthem. (more...)

November 2012[edit]

Flag of South Africa

The current flag of the Republic of South Africa was adopted on 27 April 1994, at the beginning of the 1994 general election, to replace the flag that had been used since 1928. The new national flag, designed by State Herald Frederick Brownell, was chosen to represent the new democracy.

According to official South African government information, the South African flag is "a synopsis of principal elements of the country's flag history." However, "no universal symbolism should be attached to any of the colours." The only symbolism in the flag is the V or Y shape, which can be interpreted as "the convergence of diverse elements within South African society, taking the road ahead in unity". (more...)

December 2012[edit]

The shield of the Portuguese town of Castello Rodrigo, inverted for the town's treachery in the 1383–1385 Crisis

An abatement is a modification of a coat of arms, representing a less-than honorable augmentation, imposed by an heraldic authority (such as the Court of Chivalry in England) or by royal decree for misconduct. An example is inverting the entire escutcheon of an armiger found guilty of high treason. Recorded instances of abatements of arms include disarmed lions and reversed or erased charges. As many heraldic writers note, the use of arms is not compulsory, so armigers are likely to relinquish a dishonored coat of arms than to advertise their dishonor. (more...)