Emblem of Eritrea
|Emblem of Eritrea|
|Armiger||State of Eritrea|
|Adopted||24 May 1993|
|Motto||ሃገረ ኤርትራ (Tigrinya)
The State of Eritrea
دولة إرتريا، (Arabic)
Previously, as a colony of the Kingdom of Italy, traditional European heraldry had been introduced, but by 1952 the European heraldic traditions were abandoned as other emblems were adopted to represent the region.
The modern emblem of Eritrea was adopted 24 May 1993, the date of the declaration of independence from Ethiopia. It shows a scene of a dromedary camel in the desert, which is surrounded by an olive wreath. The camel was the beast of burden used during the war of independence from Ethiopia to transport supplies and goods, and was seen as being instrumental to the movement's success by Eritrean nationalists. The name of the country appears on a scroll towards the bottom of the emblem threefold, in Tigrinya, English and Arabic, the three official languages of the state.
Eritrea was first assigned a coat of arms in 1919, when it was a colony of the Kingdom of Italy. The shield was parted in half horizontally, with the top portion displaying a red lion charged on his breast with a white star and the bottom half divided into six wavy bars alternating blue and white. The red lion represents the Italian Kingdom, lions alluding to the Italian King who used the beasts as supporters and red being a common colour associated with Italy and also used by the ruling House of Savoy. The star has long been a symbol of the Italian people, known as the Stellone d'Italia, which protects and guards the nation. The bottom portion displaying blue and white wavy bars is a common heraldic depiction representing water, and alludes to the origins of the colony's name. Eritrea is derived from the Latin Erythræa, the name applied to the Red Sea in antiquity; the colony was named so for its coastline along that body of water.
During the Fascist regime of Italy, which began in 1924, the arms were augmented with symbols of the new government: a red chief was added in 1926, which was charged with fasces and laurel wreath. Eritrea was then absorbed into the colony of Italian East Africa in 1936, reducing it to a province of the new and larger colony. The arms of Eritrea made up one field in the arms of Italian East Africa, but without the chief added in 1926. In 1941, when the province was conquered and placed under British administration, the fascist chief was removed and the original arms were again employed. In 1951, the process of annexation by Ethiopia began, and the arms continued in use until the following year.