Monday, March 21, 2022

Heraldry in the News!

Late last week I ran across an article about some heraldry with a more or less local flavor.

I say "more or less" local, as Texas is a large state, and Dallas, where I live, and San Antonio, where the article is about, are 274 miles (441 km) apart, or as we generally think about it here, a four-and-a-quarter hour drive.

Still, even that many miles away is still well inside the boundaries of the State of Texas, and so more or less "local".

Anyway, there was an article published on March 16, 2022 in the San Antonio Express-News noting the fact that the city of San Antonio, and the county in which it is located, Bexar (pronounced "bare", like "bear") County, each have a Spanish coat of arms.

No, really!

The arms were designed in 1971 by Thomas A. Wilson, a member of the Texas Hispanic American History Foundation, who then had them officially catalogued and filed in the heraldic archives of Spain. Wilson and Fernando Muñoz Altea of Madrid, the Spanish Chronicler King of Arms, presented them in San Antonio on December 18, 1971.

(I've known about the existence, though not all of the history, of the Bexar County arms for some time now; I even use it as an example of "local" coats of arms in some of my presentations about heraldry to genealogy groups and lineage societies here in Texas. And I've seen the San Antonio coat of arms before, but had no idea of its origins or history.)

Anyway, there's a lot more in the article including a bit of the history of the area, the history and elements of these two coats of arms, their uses today both here and overseas, and the fact that the official copy of San Antonio's coat of arms has been missing for 50 years.


  1. As a Spaniard and an inhabitant of Extremadura, the proposed coat of arms of the city is very familiar to me for two reasons: the first quarter corresponds to the noble Zúñiga family, part of whose domains were between the current provinces of Cáceres and Salamanca in Spain. On the other hand, "Bexar" (no matter how you pronounce it in English) in Spanish is the same as "Béjar" (Texas=Tejas in Spanish). The "X" gave way to the "J". And Béjar is a famous town in the north of the province of Cáceres, near the border with Salamanca, and is the seat of the Duchy of Béjar, belonging to this Zúñiga family.

  2. This link is for the shield/coat of arms of Zúñiga family:

    Further information here:

  3. Sorry for the misinformation about Extremadura. It's an autonomous region in the west of Spain on the border with Portugal. Extremadura has two provinces: Cáceres and Badajoz.