The Catalan and Spanish coats of arms

The Catalan coat of arms is the heraldic symbol of Catalan territory whose origin is in the hereditary arms of the monarchs of the crown of Aragon and those of the Counts of Barcelona. The coat of arms however is not official. In this Catalunya is perhaps one of the only modern states that does not have an official coat of arms. It is certainly the only autonomous region in Spain that does not have one.

The former royal arms of Catalunya

The Catalan generalitat is often represented by two different coats of arms, one of them royal and the other that of St George, the Catalan patron saint. Seeing that this representation coincides with that of the capital of Catalunya, Barcelona, during the XVI and XVII centuries territorial symbols appear which came to mean that this symbol came to represent Catalunya altogether.

The arms of the Generalitat of Catalunya, the Catalan government

During the Spanish war of succession the generalitat adopted the symbol of the royal crown as its own. However after the loss of its authority and institutions the use of this symbol was lost.

The Renaissance revived the symbols of Catalunya and the royal arms were adjudicated to the territory and remained the symbol of Catalanya's independent government.

The Spanish coat of arms is the result of a series of modifications on the first coat of arms according to if Spain added or lost diverse territories from the Spanish crown. The first coat of arms that was considered to be official for the country was that chosen by the Catholic kings of Spain (1469-1516).

After a few years the Austrian royal house (1516-1700) modified it by adding new coats of arms to it. With the Borbon dynasty (1700-1759) the arms maintained their earlier elements but changed their distribution. During years after this period the arms were under constant change, it wasn't until 1874 with the restoration of the Borbons that the version of the arms with the roman columns was finally recovered.

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