Caribbean heraldry

The Heraldry of the Americas
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JMcMillan
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Re: Caribbean heraldry

Postby JMcMillan » 28 Apr 2017, 15:06

Caribbean heraldry--can't leave out Cuba.

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From Ralf Hartemink's Heraldry of the World website: "The arms were designed in 1848 by the Cuban poet Tolón and used initially by the independence movement abroad. Cuba became independent in 1902 and the arms were officially adopted on May 20, 1902. The arms were slightly amended (colour and description) on January 6 and January 24, 1906. The upper part symbolizes the important strategic position of Cuba (key between countries). The bends in the lower right half are taken from the national flag. The left half shows a palm tree and some mountains, symbolizing the nature of the country. Behind the shield are the symbols of liberty and freedom. The shield is surrounded by an oak and coffee branch, symbolizing the local flora and the importance of coffee for the economy."
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Chris Green
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Re: Caribbean heraldry

Postby Chris Green » 28 Apr 2017, 16:03

The artist who drew the Cuban arms clearly had no idea what was intended to be behind the shield. As depicted it looks somewhat like a telegraph pole with a night cap on top, but is meant to be a Phrygian cap (or cap of liberty) atop fasces. Fasces (with or without the axe) were originally carried by Roman lictors and were birch rods, perhaps 1.5 metres long, bound with a red leather band.

Communist Cuba would favour such imagery, as the "bonnet rouge" was a French revolutionary symbol, and the fasces were borrowed by syndicalists as a symbol of strength through solidarity.
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Arthur Radburn
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Re: Caribbean heraldry

Postby Arthur Radburn » 28 Apr 2017, 18:56

JMcMillan wrote:Ferns? I would have guessed these were sugar cane leaves, at least based on the emblazonment.
So would I, but the Royal Warrant describes them as "the Fern Polypodium proper". Proper colour, perhaps, but not proper form, to judge from the many photos of polypodium available online.
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Re: Caribbean heraldry

Postby Chris Green » 29 Apr 2017, 09:09

The island of Aruba is not a colony of the Netherlands but constitutionally one of the four countries that make up the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It lies less than 30 kilometres from the coast of Venezuela.

Its arms are:

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Shield: quartered by a cross Argent, the first Azure an aloe plant Or, the second Or the Hooiberg hill Vert issuant from barry wavy sea of Azure and Argent, the third Or two dexter hands Gules shaking each other fesswise, the fourth Gules an Argent cogwheel. Crest: a lion couchant Gules. Supporters: a pair of laurel branches Vert, tied at the bottom. The various charges are said to mean: the lion crest - power and generosity; the cross - devotion and faith; the aloe plant - the island's first important export; the Hooiberg (Aruba's most recognizable and second highest hill) - Aruba rising out of the sea; shaking hands - symbolic of Aruba's good relations with the world; the cogwheel - industry; the laurel branches - traditional symbols of peace and friendship.
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Re: Caribbean heraldry

Postby Chris Green » 29 Apr 2017, 09:59

The island of Curacao is the second of the three Dutch elements of the Caribbean and also lies close to the coast of Venezuela.

The inescutcheon in its arms emphasises the historic link with Amsterdam. The sailing ship represents foreign trade, and the orange tree both a link with the Dutch royal family and the health-giving properties of citrus fruit.

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Re: Caribbean heraldry

Postby Chris Green » 29 Apr 2017, 10:10

The third element of the Netherlands in the Caribbean is the demi-island of Sint Maarten (the other (northern) half being the French Saint Martin). The island lies within sight of Anguilla.

Heraldically it is by far the worst of the three:

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The coat of arms of Sint Maarten consists of a shield with a rising sun and the motto. The shield displays the courthouse in the centre, the border monument to the right, the orange-yellow sage (which is the national flower) to the left. Flying in front of the rising sun is the pelican, which is the national bird of Sint Maarten. Under the shield is a ribbon with the motto (in Latin): Semper pro Grediens (English: always progressing).
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Re: Caribbean heraldry

Postby Chris Green » 29 Apr 2017, 10:19

The arms of the French demi-island of Saint Martin were apparently designed by someone from the same genre of heraldic art as those of Sint Maarten:

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Re: Caribbean heraldry

Postby JMcMillan » 29 Apr 2017, 14:21

Chris Green wrote:Communist Cuba would favour such imagery, as the "bonnet rouge" was a French revolutionary symbol, and the fasces were borrowed by syndicalists as a symbol of strength through solidarity.


Except that the arms predate communism in Cuba by well over a century, and even at that the cap and fasces were widely used symbols of liberty and republicanism well before the French Revolution. The cap in particular appears in the arms of many South and Central American countries with no history of communist domination, from El Salvador to Argentina.
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Re: Caribbean heraldry

Postby Arthur Radburn » 29 Apr 2017, 14:59

To put Aruba, Curacao and St Maarten into context : they, together with Bonaire, Saba and St Eustatius used to be the Netherlands Antilles. The arms of the Netherlands Antilles, granted by Queen Juliana in 1964, were :

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When Aruba became a separate territory in 1986, the number of stars was reduced to five :

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The Netherlands Antilles were dissolved as an administrative unit in 2010.
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Re: Caribbean heraldry

Postby Arthur Radburn » 29 Apr 2017, 15:16

In olden days, the colonial powers which ruled the Caribbean islands tried out several schemes for grouping islands together under a single administration. In addition to the Leeward Islands (British) and the Netherlands Antilles, there were the Windward Islands (British) and the Federation of the West Indies (also British).

The Windward Islands comprised Barbados (until 1885), Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and Dominica (from 1940). The grouping was dissolved in 1960. This was the flag badge approved c1885 :

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This shield was granted as a coat of arms in 1939, and blazoned as Quarterly, Gules, Or, Vert and Sable. Garter King of Arms refused to allow the crown as part of the achievement, because it was the king's personal prerogative and not suitable for colonial governments. However, Garter had no control over flag badges, which were a Colonial Office and Admiralty matter, and had to acquiesce in the continued use of the crown in the badge.

The Federation of the West Indies was an ambitious attempt to form ten of the British-ruled islands into a single state. It was established in 1958, but broke up after Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago seceded in 1962. The federal arms were :

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