The National Shield of Honduras
Until the moment of its independence, like all Spanish colonies, the coat of arms of the kings of Spain was used in Honduras (there was no Spanish national coat of arms until 1868).
The Shield of Honduras was created by the Legislative Decree of October 3, 1825, being Dionisio de Herrera Head of State, it is composed of symbols alluding to its territory, history and the variety of natural resources that the country possesses.
The development of the national emblem is a work of Mr. Ladislao Valladares.
It was modified by Legislative Decree No. 7, of February 16, 1866 (which created the current Flag of Honduras), published in the Legislative Bulletin (of Comayagua) No. 4 of March 6 of the same year, being President of the Republic don José María Medina .
See also Civic Questionnaire on the National Shield of Honduras
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The subjection of Honduras to the Spanish Crown began on May 3, 1524, when Captain Cristóbal de Olid, sent by the conquistador Hernán Cortés, landed in the bay of Triunfo de la Cruz.
From that day, Honduras became a province of the United Kingdom of Guatemala, remaining a Spanish colony until September 15, 1821.
At that time, the province that was recognized by the Crown was granted its coat of arms. The same was done with the cities and towns, when due to their importance they merited it. The shields were made by the kings of arms, characters in charge of these proceedings.
During the Conquest, and the colonial period, various coats of arms were used in Honduras; the one that corresponded to the province in particular, and the one of several important populations founded by the Spaniards.
The coat of arms of the province of Honduras was granted by Emperor Carlos I in 1544, which was modified in 1684 by King Felipe IV.
The cities of Comayagua, Trujillo, and Gracias had shields; in addition to the towns of San Miguel de Heredia de Tegucigalpa, Jerez de la Frontera de Choluteca, San Jorge de Olancho, San Pedro Sula, San Juan de Puerto Caballos, and Tencoa.
Evolution of the National Shield
1.- Shield of the Federation
The five provinces of Central America maintained a shield decreed by the National Assembly in Guatemala City in 1823, which contained an equilateral triangle and at its base appeared a mountain range of five volcanoes. (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica)
Honduras, as part of the United Provinces of Central America, adopted the flag and coat of arms approved by the National Constituent Assembly of Central America, according to Decree No. 29 of the August 21, 1823. The Flag of the United Provinces of Central America consisted of three horizontal stripes: the upper and lower blue and the center white. This is the aforementioned decree:
CREATING DECREE OF THE COAT OF ARMS AND THE FLAG OF THE UNITED PROVINCES OF CENTRAL AMERICA
DECREE No. 29
The National Constituent Assembly of the United Provinces of Central America has seen fit to decree and decrees:
Article 1 The Coat of Arms of the United Provinces of Central America will be an equilateral triangle; at its base will appear a mountain range of five volcanoes, on a terrain that appears to be bathed by both seas; in the upper part, a rainbow that covers them and under the arch, the cap of freedom scattering lights. Around the triangle and in a circular figure it will be written in gold letters: “UNITED PROVINCES OF THE CENTRAL AMERICA”.
Article 2 This shield will be placed in all public posts and offices, replacing those that have been used by provisions of previous governments.
Article 3 The great seal of the nation, that of the Secretariat of this Assembly, that of government agents, and courts of justice, will all bear the same coat of arms.
Article 4 The national flag for the ports and for all kinds of ships belonging to this new state will consist of three horizontal bands, the upper and lower blue, and the center white, on which the shield designated in article 1 will be drawn. In the pennants the bands will be placed perpendicularly in the order expressed. The same pavilion will be used by the envoys of this government to foreign nations. In the merchant ships the flags and pennants will not carry a shield, and in the center band it will be written with silver letters: GOD, UNION, FREEDOM.
Article 5º The flags and banners of the military bodies thus alive, as well as of the provincial militia while it subsists, will be arranged according to the provisions of the previous article: Their bands will always be horizontal, with the words: GOD, UNION, FREEDOM, at the top. and in the lower one the class and number of each body. In the infantry both inscriptions will be with gold letters, and in the cavalry with silver letters.
Article 6 The bodies of civic force will have their flags and banners in accordance with the provisions of article seventy of the law of eighteen of the current.
Article 7º When communicating this decree to the government, designs of the national coat of arms and flag will be accompanied for the easiest understanding of what is prevented:
Communicate to the Supreme Executive Power for compliance, and have it printed, published and circulated. Given in Guatemala on August 21, 1823 – José Barrundia: Deputy President – Mariano Gálvez: Deputy Secretary – Mariano de Córdoba: Deputy Secretary – To the Supreme Executive Branch.
Therefore we command that all its parts be kept, fulfilled and executed. The Secretary of the office will understand it, and will print, publish and circulate it. National Palace of Guatemala October 3, 1823 – Antonio Rivera: President – Pedro Molina – Juan Vicente Villacorta. To the citizen Manuel Julián Ibarra.
And by order of the Supreme Executive Power I insert it to V. for your intelligence and consequent purposes: God, Union, Liberty, National Palace of Guatemala October 3, 1823. M. Julián Ibarra.
2.- 1851-1853 Flag and coat of arms of the National Representation of Central America.
With the death of Francisco Morazán in Costa Rica, the states of El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras approved their own coat of arms in 1851, which consisted of three volcanoes on land that was bathed by both seas.
On November 8, 1849, the States of Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras agreed in the city of León (Nicaragua) on a Confederation Pact, which should be arranged through a Diet. The National Representation of Central America was solemnly installed on January 9, 1851, in Chinandega, head of the department of the same name.
It was made up of Mr. Pablo Buitrago Benavente and Hermenegildo Zepeda Fernández for Nicaragua, José Guerrero for Honduras, Francisco Barrundia and José Silva for El Salvador. Its board of directors was immediately organized, with Hermenegildo Zepeda Fernández being appointed President, José Silva as First Secretary and Mr. Pablo Buitrago Benavente as Second Secretary.
On April 22, 1851, the National Representation of Central America decreed the blue and white flag and the coat of arms of the Confederation of Central America mandatory; the latter would be an equilateral triangle; at its base would appear a mountain range of three volcanoes placed in a land bathed by both seas; in the vertex the rainbow that covers them and under it the cap of Liberty diffusing lights, and with three stars in the upper part. Around the triangle and in a circular figure it will be written in gold letters, “FEDERATION OF CENTRAL AMERICA”. Later the country returned to use the previous flag.
3. First coat of arms of the Nation
In the administration of General José María Medina, on February 16, 1866, a new shield was decreed with the legend «REPÚBLICA DE HONDURAS, LIBRE, SOVEREIGN E INDEPENDIENTE. SEPTEMBER 15, 1821».
4.- 1896-1898 Flag and coat of arms of the Greater Republic of Central America
Even having a federal constitution, each province was free to approve its own constitution, in that of Honduras the shield was decreed, its distinctive being: an equilateral triangle and a volcano between two castles.
Upon assuming the presidency of the Republic of Nicaragua, General José Santos Zelaya López on September 16, 1893, promised to work for the reappearance of the Central American Homeland, since Nicaragua was a disintegrated portion of the Republic of Central America. General Zelaya López took advantage of his friendship with the presidents of Honduras and El Salvador, Dr. Policarpo Bonilla and General Rafael Antonio Gutiérrez, to promote the union of the three republics, because the presidents of Costa Rica and Guatemala showed no interest in said union.
On June 20, 1895, the plenipotentiaries of Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Honduras, doctors Mr. Manuel Coronel Matus, Mr. Jacinto Castellanos, and Mr. Constantino Fiallos, signed in the port of Amapala (Honduras) the Treaty of Union known as the «Covenant of Amapala»; the one that erects the Republics of Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras in a single political entity for the exercise of its sovereignty under the name of the Greater Republic of Central America. This denomination will persist until the Republics of Guatemala and Costa Rica voluntarily accept this agreement, in which case it will be called the Republic of Central America.
In article number eleven of said agreement, the flag and coat of arms of the old federation are adopted, only changing the currency or legend. On August 3, 1895, the Treaty of Amapala was ratified by the President of the Republic, thus officially including Nicaragua within the Greater Republic of Central America. After the ratification of the treaty by the three governments mentioned above, the Diet of the Greater Republic of Central America was installed in San Salvador (the Salvadoran capital).
The Constituent Congress meeting in the city of Managua (the capital of Nicaragua) on August 27, 1898, approved the Constitution of the United States of Central America. Shortly after the union came to an end due to the coup d’état of General Tomás Regalado (1898-1903), who deposed the President of El Salvador, General Rafael Antonio Gutiérrez, on November 13, 1898, and immediately declared the separation of this country; breaking the pact signed in Amapala and ending the ideal of Central American unity of General José Santos Zelaya López, for which Honduras returned to using its previous national flag and coat of arms.
National Coat of Arms of Honduras
Creation of the National Shield
The National Shield was created on October 3, 1825 by this Legislative Decree of the National Constituent Assembly of the State of Honduras, being Head of State Don Dionisio de Herrera:
THE STATE COAT OF ARMS is an equilateral triangle, at its base a volcano will appear between two castles, on which the rainbow that covers the Phrygian cap of freedom will rise, spreading light. This triangle will be placed on a land that appears bathed by both seas (Pacific and Atlantic).
Around the triangle will be written in gold letters: STATE OF HONDURAS OF THE FEDERATION OF THE CENTRE . The upper part of the shield will be covered by the horns of plenty, joined by a bow, and will rest on a mountain range, in which the mines, a bar, a hole, a wedge, a sledgehammer and a hammer will appear.
In 1862 , during the provisional government of Mr. Don Victoriano Castellanos Cortés , in the city of Santa Rosa de Copán, meeting with the National Constituent Assembly, they issued Decree No. 3 in which they gave the title of republic to Honduras, ceasing to be called a state.
DECREE No. 3. THE CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES. CONSIDERING: That it is in its power and it is its duty to institute the name that the nation should bear, proceeding in accordance with the political rank that belongs to it, attending to the principles developed in the fundamental charter, it has seen fit to decree:
ARTICLE 1: The denomination that from now on will bear the group of towns that make up the State, including its adjacent islands, is that of the Republic of Honduras.
ARTICLE 2: The government will order this title to be sculpted in the major and minor seals that must be used in the shield of the pavilion and the flag of the militias, in ovals ordered to be fixed on the frontispiece of the offices and also on the coins.
ARTICLE 3: This law will be promulgated in all the towns of the Republic with the dedicated solemnity. Go to the Senate. Given in the hall of the Chamber of Deputies of the city of Santa Rosa, on May 7, 1862.
(Signature) Rolf. C. Diaz. Deputy President, (signature) José Meza. Deputy Secretary and (signature) C. Goméz. Deputy Secretary.
On January 10, 1935 it was detailed that an equilateral triangle should be used. At its base a volcano between two castles. Around him, an oval and in gold letters «Republic of Honduras, free, sovereign and independent.»
The current Flag of Honduras was created by Legislative Decree No. 7, of February 16, 1866, published in the Legislative Bulletin (of Comayagua) No. 4 of March 6 of the same year, being President of the Republic Mr. José María Medina.
See Decree of Creation of the National Flag
The National Coat of Arms was also modified, instead of the Phrygian cap that appeared until then, it would be replaced by a setting sun. This is his text:
Decree of modification of the National Shield
Decree No. 7
The President of the Republic of Honduras,
to its inhabitants.
Know: that the Sovereign Congress has decreed the following:
The Congress of the Republic, using the powers granted by paragraph 17 of Article 24 of the Constitution, to designate the flag and coat of arms of the Republic.
ARTICLE 4.- The National Coat of Arms will be the one currently used; with only the difference of wearing a setting sun, instead of the Phrygian cap that it today contains.
Description of the National Shield
The sovereign National Congress in Decree No. 216 and in Article 142, considers the shield as a national symbol for all uses in a clear and general way.
- The equilateral triangle. It means the perfect equality of all Hondurans before the law; We all enjoy the same rights and that we all have the same obligations.
- The volcano. Located between two castles, it is the constant reminder that he belonged to the group of five volcanoes that figured at the base of the equilateral triangle of the federal coat of arms.
- The two castles. Placed on both sides of the volcano, they recall the impregnable walls where our ancestors defended the sovereignty of the Nation, testing the indomitable courage of the native race and teach the firmness and heroism with which we are obliged to fight for our rights. .
- The Rainbow. With its ends on the two castles it is symbolizing peace, the union of the Honduran family, the elevation of ideals.
- The Rising Sun. It spreads light and illuminates the horizon, highlighting the beauty of the country. It symbolizes freedom, love of country, virtues for which Lempira fell under the treacherous lead of the conquerors, to pass into the infinite spaces of immortality, leaving as an imperishable memory the upright summit of Coyocutena.
- The two seas. The Atlantic and the Pacific that can be seen stretched out on the sides of the castle, whispering kisses to the Honduran lands and invite the sons of the country to the closest and fraternal communion with the nations of the world.
- the oval It symbolizes the receptacle where the memory of the date of political emancipation must be kept, with this legend: «REPUBLIC OF HONDURAS, FREE, SOVEREIGN AND INDEPENDENT. SEPTEMBER 15, 1821».
- Quiver full of arrows. It symbolizes the warrior life of our Indians, keeping alive among us the unfading memory of Lempira.
- Horns of plenty. They are united by a strong bond and hang from the quiver, symbolizing the vegetal wealth of Honduras.
- Mountain range. It constitutes the base on which the oval rests, meaning that our territory is mountainous, with a great variety of climate.
- Mines and tools. The mines are an indication that our land preserves wonderful riches in its entrails, which, when duly exploited with the help of science and modern technology, achieve long-term sustainable socioeconomic development. The tools are the constant claim that the country makes to its children, inviting them to work to form the national conscience on the anvil of honor.
- The blue sky. With faint white clouds, they serve as the background for the triangle and are an emblem of the purity of the ideals that we Hondurans nurture.