Coat of Arms

The figures we see on the Coat of Arms of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico are inspired on those that appear on the Coat of Arms which the Spanish Crown granted to the Island of Puerto Rico at the beginning of the XVI Century. It was first recognized by King Ferdinand by virtue of Royal Decree on November 8, 1511, but it wasn't until March 9, 1905 that a law, establishing the official Coat of Arms was signed. It is the only one in Latin America still in official use since the conquest.

The predominant color on the background is the green, it is known that this color was used at the beginnings of the Christian era in allusion to Saint John the Baptist, as a symbol of the grass or vegetation when he would preach in the deserted jungle of Judea. Within the background there is a white lamb on top of the Book of Revelations, holding the seven seals of The Apocalypse of Saint John the Apostle. The lamb represents purity which corresponds to the figure of the Lamb of God, the Agnus dei, identified as Jesus Christ. The lamb holds a white flag with a red cross, the "Cross of Jerusalem" used by the monarchs to expel the "non-Christians" from the Spanish peninsula.

The rim is covered by 16 symbols: 4 castles signifying the "Kingdom of Castilla", 4 lions, representing the "Kingdom of Leon", both, lions and castles, represents the unity of both kingdoms, 4 flags, and 4 crosses of Jerusalem are symbols of Saint John the Baptist.

The crown on top symbolizes the "Royalty" who authorized this shield. To the right, an "F" for Fernando, to the left, a "Y" for Ysabel, who were over the crown (King and Queen of the Spanish Empire) when Puerto Rico was discovered, evoke the great pioneering efforts. The quiver of arrows and yoke represent ideograms for the initials of the Catholic Kings, F and Y.

The inscription reads "JOHANNES EST NOMEN EJUS" or "Juan (John) is its name", as Puerto Rico was originally called San Juan (Saint John), which today is the name of the capital city.

The use of the Coat of Arms of Puerto Rico is governed by certain Regulations promulgated by the Secretary of State of Puerto Rico on May 2, 1960, according to Act No. 7 of August 8, 1952, of the Legislature, amended by Law 143 of June 3, 1976.


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