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Chile - Coat of Arms

Republic of Chile; República de Chile

Last modified: 2017-10-26 by randy young
Keywords: chile | star: 5 points (white) | vertical | coat of arms: per fess (star) |
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[Arms of Chile]
Arms adopted: 24 June 1834.
image by Željko Heimer, 13 December 2005, based on Corel clip art

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History of the Chilean Arms

Chile's first Coat of Arms were adopted in 1812, the second in 1819 and both featured a grey column that represented the tree of liberty, and on the top of the column (like a finial) was a blue globe.

In August 1832, President Prieto and Minister Joaquín Tocornal introduced a design to Congress that it approved on 24 June 1834, this became the third and current Escudo Nacional Coat of Arms of Chile.
Alex Garofolo, 18 January 2015

Description of the Chilean Arms

The escudo is fimbriated yellow and "uses the same colours and star as the flag," but with the star overall and with nervation and shading. The supporters are a huemul (south Andean deer) and an Andean condor, both of whom are wearing a naval crown to symbolize the nation's prowess at sea. In crest is a plume of three feathers - blue, white and red - "which were once a symbol of distinction worn on the hat of the President of the Republic." The motto, added in 1920, reads "Por la razón o la fuerza" (By right or might).

On 18 October 1967, a Supreme Decree specified the characteristics of the arms, and established them, "together with the flag, cockades and presidential standard," as National Symbols.

The arms are charged overall on the flags of both the President and Minister of Defence. The arms may be presented with or without the motto scroll.
Ivan Sache, 9 April 2001; Santiago Dotor, 19 May 2000; António Martins, 16 May 2000; Alex Garofolo, 18 January 2015

Variant Without the Motto Scroll

In Flaggenbuch 1905 [ruh05], Flaggenbuch 1925 [d9e26] and Flaggenbuch 1939 [neu39], the Coat of Arms has neither the motto nor the nervations. But this is likely an error (using the arms without scroll from an other flag, the presidential flag that is above on the same page) but could also be an older version. The presidential flag has the arms like the ones in Flaggenbuch 1905 (similar to the ones in 1939). The Ministry of Defense is a modern flag and the arms must be the modern ones and not the 1905 or 1939 ones. A Chilean Army page about the national and army coats of arms said the motto was added to the arms in 1920. Flaggenbuch 1925 [d9e26] and 1939 [neu39] may have been behind in their information, or perhaps the flags were not changed immediately when the coat of arms was changed. The army page attributes the motto to Bernardo O'Higgins, the father of Chilean independence.
Jaume Ollé, 28 May 2000, 12 April 2001, 4 October 2002 & Joe McMillan, 4 October 2002

Arms of 1819

external link to view image

The original escudo of Chile was created in 1812. It was set on an oval-shaped shield, which became the norm in neighbouring Argentina and Uruguay.

The main device was a grey column, representing the tree of liberty, and atop it was a blue globe, and above (ensigning) that was a crossed sword (bendwise) over palm leaf (bendwise sinister). In the crest position (but probably within the oval) and placed on a small horizontal sky-blue oval, was a white star with the same nervation as the current arms; arching over above that was the motto "POST TENEBRAS LUX" (After the Darkness is Light) in black. Supporting the column on either side were two indigenous men, holding a spear on the left and a bow on the right. The ribbon looked like a golden, curling vine with thorns. In wavy text below that was a second motto, also Latin: "AUT CONSILIO AUT ENSE" (by right or by might).

This shield was modified in June 1817 by replacing the blue-oval, star and topmost motto with "LIBERTAD" (Liberty). In October 1817, LIBERTAD was replaced by two flags with cross flagpoles.
Alex Garofolo, 18 January 2015

Arms of 1812

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"On 23 September 1819, the Chilean Senate approved a new design." On a dark blue oval shield was a grey column, with a darker grey globe atop, on a white marble pedestal. Above the column was a white ribbon bearing the motto "LIBERTAD" that slightly covers the bottom of a white star that represented the province of Santiago. To the left and right of the globe are two more white stars, representing Concepción y Coquimbo. The shield is bordered in gold and surrounded by a laurel branch on each side, joined by a tricoloured ribbon. Behind the shield is an array of silver spears and bayonets, two brown cannon barrels and a pile of three cannonballs on each side. These represented, in order, the "cavalry, infantry, dragoons, artillery and bombers."

The supporter of this Coat of Arms was an indigenous man holding it over his head, while standing on an American Cayman, who had one foot in a cornucopia. In the cayman's mouth was the Lion of Castille, holding the Spanish flag in his forepaws, while his crown has fallen off.
Alex Garofolo, 18 January 2015