Coats of arms of German colonies

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Coats of arms of German colonies were prepared but never formally granted.[1]

In 1914, the diplomat William Solf proposed that Germany's colonies be assigned flags and arms, like the flags and arms used by the British colonies. Solf believed that these would serve to advertise Germany's power, and would encourage German pride amongst the colonials. Emperor William was enthusiastic about the idea, and drafts were prepared for his inspection by Solf in conjunction with the Heraldry Office and the Duke of Mecklenburg. However, World War I broke out before the project was finalised, and the arms were never actually taken into use. This was in part because giving the colonies their own insignia in times of war could have let them have symbols to rally around in rebellion.[2] Following the defeat in the war, Germany lost all its colonies and the prepared arms were therefore never granted.

The arms all followed a similar style. In chief was placed the Imperial Eagle, bearing a shield with the arms of the House of Hohenzollern. In the main part of the shield was a colony specific symbol, such as an elephant for the colony of Kamerun. Above the shield was placed the German State Crown (which was merely symbolic, and did not physically exist). Early drafts included a scroll displaying the name of the colony or protectorate in German, but given the unheraldic nature of such a name scroll, it is unlikely this would have been part of the final blazon.

The proposed arms of the colonies of the German Empire.
Proposed Coat of Arms New Guinea 1914.png
Proposed Coat of Arms Samoa 1914.png
Proposed Coat of Arms Southwest Africa 1914.png
German New Guinea German Samoa German South-West Africa
Proposed Coat of Arms Cameroon 1914.png
Proposed Coat of Arms Togo 1914.png
Proposed Coat of Arms East Africa 1914.png
Kamerun Togoland German East Africa


  1. ^ The Emperor's new coat of arms (Spiegel Online, 26 February 2009, in German).
  2. ^ Schurdel, H.D. Battenberg (1995). Flaggen & Wappen Deutschland - Heraldik, Hymnen, BRD & DDR Flaggen und Wappen, Deutsche Ostgebiete, ehem. deutsche Kolonien u.v.m.

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