Coat of arms of Estonia
Coat of arms of the Republic of Estonia
Coat of arms of Estonia.svg
Versions
Small coat of arms of Estonia.svg
The lesser coat of arms
Details
Adopted June 19, 1925.
April 6, 1993
Escutcheon Or, three lions passant guardant azure
Other elements A garland of oak leaves surrounds the greater arms.
Greater coat of arms of capital city Tallinn
Seal of Tallinn, 1340.
Alternative coat of arms of Estonia, 1922. Author Günther Reindorff.

The coat of arms of Estonia is a golden shield which includes three slim blue passant gardant lions in the middle, with oak branches along the side of the shield. The three lions derive from the arms of Danish king Valdemar II who had conquered northern Estonia in 1219. The lions became part of the greater coat of arms of Tallinn, the center of Danish government in Estonia, and the knightages (ger. ritterschaften) of Harria and Viru. In 1346, Denmark sold its Estonian dominion to the Teutonic Order after its power had been severely weakened during the St. George's Night Uprising of 1343-1346. The three lions, however, remained the central element of the greater coat of arms of Tallinn. In later centuries, the motif of the three lions transferred to the coat of arms of the Duchy of Estonia, the Ritterschaft of Estland, and to the coat of arms of the Governorate of Estonia.

The Riigikogu (the state assembly) of the independent Republic of Estonia officially adopted the coat of arms on June 19, 1925.

The coat of arms was officially banned following the occupation of Estonia by the Soviet Union in 1940, and replaced with the Soviet-inspired coat of arms of the Estonian SSR. Soviet officials persecuted and jailed anyone using the coat of arms or the national colors of Estonia. The readoption of the national symbols marked the completion of the struggle for independence which was finally achieved on August 7, 1990, and regulated by the Law on State Coat of Arms of April 6, 1993.

References


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