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The Coat of Arms of Ecuador
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The 1900 Congress established the COA [ coat of arms ] and the flag as physical symbols of the Fatherland.

The Ecuadorian Coat of Arms is an oval shape which encompasses one of the most extraordinary landscapes of Ecuador [ sic ]. A bright blue sky provides the backdrop to the Andean giant Chimborazo; from the silver snow runs a river whose waters expand and flow amongst the lushious green pastures surrounding it. The Guayas river is the symbol of national unity of mountains and coastland throughout the Ecuadorian regions, highlighting the diversity of the landscape. The ship, bearing a Caduceus [ symbol of the god Mercury and of trade ] , is reminiscent of the first of its kind built in the docks of Guayaquil in 1840, some even suggest it was the first to be built in South America. The astrological signs of the months of March, April, May and June, ie. Aries, Taurus, Gemini and Cancer are engraved on the silver Zodiac band above Chimborazo, which also bears the Sun. These are symbolic of important dates in the Ecuadorian historical calendar: the 6th March 1845, which saw the fall of the Flores' government; 21st April 1822, in which the Battle of Tapi took place, announcing the final victory of Sucre at the unprecedented Battle of Pichincha on 24th May 1822 and signifying the downfall of the enslaving regime and the first taste of political freedom, and finally June 5th 1895, which marked the beginning of Liberalism and therefore entry into a new political era. The oval part of the Coat of Arms rests on a fasces, which is the universal symbol of republican dignity. It is also surrounded by four national flags, two each side; in between which appear olive and a laurel branches, signifying peace and welfare, glory and triumph. At the top of the Coat of Arms, a condor - a species of bird which inhabits the Ecuadorian Andes- opens its wings with majesty and energy symbolising the Fatherland in its effort to improve, advance and progress.

The Coat of Arms has undergone six changes throughout its history. The current graphical version, approved by the Ministerio de Instruccion Publica [ Popular Education Office ] in 1916 is a marvellous work of art thanks to the talent of Pedro P. Traversari. This final version triumphed over the many other designs from the verbal descriptions of the Coat of Arms contained in the 1845 and 1900 decrees.

The changes are as follows:
{ 1 } From 1821 the Free Province of Guayaquil used a white five-pointed star on a blue field, surrounded by two laurel branches and the words "POR GUAYAQUIL INDEPENDIENTE".

{ 2 } Whilst Ecuador was part of Gran Colombia, its Coat of Arms was as stipulated in the Law of 6th October 1821, decreed by the Congress of Cucuta. It comprised of cornucopies or 'horns of plenty', bound with tricolour ribbon surrounded by the words 'Republica de Colombia'.

{ 3 } In the Constituent Congress meeting in Riobamba on 27th September 1830 the design for the Coat of Arms was agreed as follows: "the Coat of Arms of Colombia will be used, a light blue field with a sun in equinox over the phases and the phrase 'El Ecuador en Colombia'".

{ 4 } Between 1836 and 1846 a circular Coat of Arms with two mountains and two doves carrying olive branches was used. In the sky, the sun is amongst the signs of Leo, Scorpio, Libra and Virgo underneath seven stars. Beneath the mountains, a circular scroll with the words 'Republica del Ecuador' is surrounded by olive and laurel branches.

{ 5 } A decree was passed during the third mandate of General Flores, stating that "the [coat of] arms of the Republic will have a rectangular chief and a elliptical base. Its field will be divided into three quarters: the uppermost blue with the sun setting over a section of the Zodiac; the middle one divided into two, right [ sinister ] a gold field with an open book with the Roman numerals I to IV indicating the chapters of the Constitution, left [ dexter ] a green field with a horse; the lowermost divided into two, right a blue field with a river and a ship, left a silver field with a volcano. At the top there is a condor with open wings and flags and trophies on either side.

{ 6 } The 1900 congress established the Coat of Arms as it is today. The tricolour was restored by Garcia Moreno in 1860 after the Jambeli victory in which the Peruvian invaders sent by Castilla were expelled from the country.

Last Updated 24th July 2006 (DLW)

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