Portal:Heraldry

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Welcome to the Heraldry and Vexillology Portal!

A herald wearing a tabard
Flags of the Nordic 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.

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.

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The 22 cantonal coats of arms in the stained glass dome of the Federal Palace of Switzerland (ca. 1900)

There are 26 modern cantons of Switzerland, each of which has an official flag and coat of arms.The history of development of these designs spans the 13th to 20th centuries. With the exception of Lucerne, Schwyz and Ticino, the cantonal coats of arms are simply arrangements of the cantonal flags in a shield shape. This fashion originates in the 15th century. (more...)

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The Canadian Heraldic Authority (French: Autorité héraldique du Canada) is part of the Canadian honours system under the Governor General of Canada. The Authority is responsible for the creation and granting of new coats of arms (armorial bearings), flags and badges for Canadian citizens, permanent residents and corporate bodies. The Authority also registers existing armorial bearings granted by other recognized heraldic authorities, approves military badges, flags and other insignia of the Canadian Forces, and provides information on heraldic practices.

The CHA is the Canadian counterpart of the College of Arms in London and the Court of the Lord Lyon in Scotland and is well-known for its innovative designs, many incorporating First Nations symbolism. (more...)

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The MOL Pride, owned and operated by a Japanese company, flying the flag of Liberia as a flag of convenience

The term flag of convenience describes the business practice of registering a merchant ship in a sovereign state different from that of the ship's owners. The term refers to the civil ensign the ship flies to indicate its country of registration or flag state. A ship operates under the laws of its flag state, and these laws are used if the ship is involved in an admiralty case. The modern practice of flagging ships in foreign countries began in the 1920s in the United States, when shipowners frustrated by increased regulations and rising labor costs began to register their ships to Panama. As of 2009, more than half of the world’s merchant ships are registered under flags of convenience. (more...)

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Coat of arms of Lardal

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