Portal:Heraldry Information

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Welcome to the Heraldry and Vexillology Portal!

Flags of the Nordic countries
A herald wearing a tabard

Vexillology (from the Latin vexillum, a flag or banner) is the scholarly study of flags, including the creation and development of a body of knowledge about flags of all types, their forms and functions, and of scientific theories and principles based on that knowledge. Flags were originally used to assist military coordination on the battlefield, and have evolved into a general tool for signalling and identification, particularly identification of countries.

Heraldry encompasses all of the duties of a herald, including the science and art of designing, displaying, describing and recording coats of arms and badges, as well as the formal ceremonies and laws that regulate the use and inheritance of arms. The origins of heraldry lie in the medieval need to distinguish participants in battles or jousts, whose faces were hidden by steel helmets.

Selected coat of arms

Coat of arms of Amsterdam

The coat of arms of Amsterdam is the official symbol of the city of Amsterdam. It consists of a red and black shield with three silver Saint Andrew's Crosses, the Imperial Crown of Austria, two golden lions, and the motto of Amsterdam. Several heraldic elements have their basis in the history of Amsterdam. The crosses are thought to represent the three traditional dangers to the city: flood, fire and pestilence. The crown was awarded in 1489 by Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, out of gratitude for services and loans. The crosses and the crown can be found as decorations on different locations in the city. ( more...)

Selected flag

Flag of the Republic of China

The flag of the Republic of China, commonly known as Taiwan, was first used in mainland China by the Kuomintang (KMT, Chinese Nationalist Party) in 1917 and was made the official flag of the ROC in 1928. It was enshrined in the 6th article of the Constitution of the Republic of China when it was promulgated in 1947. Since 1949, the flag is mostly used within Taiwan where the Republic of China relocated after having lost the Chinese Civil War to the People's Republic of China.

In Chinese, the flag is commonly described as Blue Sky, White Sun, and a Wholly Red Earth ( traditional Chinese: , , 滿 ; simplified Chinese: , , ; pinyin: Qīng Tiān, Bái Rì, Mǎn Dì Hóng) to reflect its attributes. The canton (upper corner on the hoist side) originated from the " Blue Sky with a White Sun flag" proposed by Lu Hao-tung in 1895 and adopted as the KMT party flag. The "red earth" portion was added by Sun Yat-sen in 1906. After the Republican revolution, the provisional Senate selected the "Five-Colored Flag" as the national flag in 1912. After President Yuan Shikai suppressed the KMT, Sun Yat-sen established a government-in-exile in Tokyo and eventually a rival government in Guangzhou in 1917, using the KMT flag as the national ROC flag. This flag was made the official national flag on December 17, 1928 after the Northern Expedition toppled the Beiyang government. ( more...)

Selected article

'The Battle of Trafalgar by J. M. W. Turner (oil on canvas, 1822–1824) shows the last three letters of this famous signal flying from the Victory.

"England expects that every man will do his duty" was a signal sent by Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson from his flagship HMS Victory as the Battle of Trafalgar was about to commence on October 21, 1805. Trafalgar was the decisive naval engagement of the Napoleonic Wars. It gave the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland control of the seas, removing all possibility of a French invasion and conquest of Britain. Although there was much confusion surrounding the wording of the signal in the aftermath of the battle, the significance of the victory and Nelson's death during the battle led to the phrase becoming embedded in the English psyche, and it has been regularly quoted, paraphrased and referenced up to the modern day. ( more...)

Selected picture

Did you know...

Flag of Trondheim

  • ...that the Norwegian heraldic authority forbade any other municipality to use the dog rose which appears on the Flag of Trondheim (pictured), because of the symbol's long association with that city?

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