Coat of Arms
In considering what might be the appropriate Coat of Arms for an Independent Jamaica, both Government and Opposition reached agreement in principle that the existing Arms, granted to Jamaica in 1661 under Royal Warrant and partially revised in 1957, constituted “a badge of great historical significance to the nation and should be retained”.
The original Arms were designed by William Sandcroft, who became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1677, and the use of the Royal Helmet and Mantlings together is unique to Jamaica. However, the design has also been mistakenly attributed to William Juxon, as he was the serving Archbishop of Canterbury when the arms were designed in 1661.
Copy of drawing by Mr. Lionel Les under instructions before the certified copy was received from the College of Arms
The original Latin motto, “Indus Uterque Serviet Uni”, meaning both Indies will serve one, has been changed to the English: “Out of Many, One People” at the base of the shield. The arms show a male and a female Taino (Arawak) standing on either side of the shield, each wearing a feather skirt with red waistband.
The female holds a basket of fruit and the male a bow, The single feather in the female figure’s headdress is red, and the ermine headband is winter white. The three tall feathers on the male figure are red, the headband and the shorter feathers alternately red and white, commencing with the red and ending with a white feather on the right.
“Illustrates the arms as they appear in the official records when they were granted, confirmed and assigned by the Queen April 8, 1957”
The shield features a red cross on a white background (similar to the English flag) with five pineapples adding a tropical flavor. The shield is crowned with a Royal Helmet and the Mantlings of the British Monarchy. On top of the helmet sits a crocodile (an indigenous reptile of Jamaica).
The Jamaica Arms has seen quite a number of changes, but only three are officially recorded, in 1692, 1957 and 1962 respectively.
The Coat of Arms of Jamaica should not be used without official permission first being obtained from the Prime Minister’s Office, and currently appears on Jamaican banknotes, coins and official documents.
The Arms, Crest and Supporters for Jamaica, by warrant dated February 3, 1661 as recorded in Sir Edward Walker’s Grants in the College of Arms, London