Monday, April 20, 2009

Six “Arms” Over Texas

There’s been a long-standing thing about the "six flags over Texas", the six different flags that have flown over the territory now encompassed by the state boundaries. (Apparently the native Americans who lived here for several thousand years before the Spanish arrived didn’t use flags.) Indeed, it is exactly that concept that gave rise to the amusement park chain "Six Flags".

Well, that’s all well and good, I supposed, but I’m an academic herald and not, except in an oblique way, a vexillologist (to save some of you from having to look it up, a vexillologist is someone whose field of study is flags). So it was of interest to me when on a recent visit to the state capitol, that there on a building abutting the capitol grounds were very nice renditions of the six coats of arms which have, well, not "flown", exactly, but – hmm, what is it that arms do? – over the territory that is now the State of Texas.

In the photograph above (I've posted a larger version so you can see the detail better on our website, at, we have (from left to right) the arms of: the Kingdom of Spain (Quarterly Castile and Leon), the Kingdom of France (d’Azur a trois fleurs-de-lis d’or), Mexico (the well-known eagle and snake atop the cactus), the independent Republic of Texas (which arms became those of the State of Texas upon its admission to the Union), the Confederate States of America, and the United States of America.

Isn’t that a great display of historical heraldry?


  1. Is it just me, or do those fleurs-de-lis look more argent than Or?

  2. They _do_ look a bit faded from a good, solid Or, don't they, even when compared to the Or castles of Castile right next to them. I suspect it's a comibination of using a light yellow and the amount of exposure to the direct sun that they get every day that's washed them out so much.

  3. These all seem to be more of a "Bleu celeste" than an Azure?