From childhood, we have all been taught about the Ghanaian coat of arms but the truth is that as we advance in age we tend to lose most of this information. Not because we want to, but because we have become encumbered with other stuff like meeting daily needs and growing a career. But then comes a need to know about the Ghana Coat of Arms.
I am sure that most readers of this article would have forgotten what the phrase coat of arms means. If we cannot remember that, then it is almost impossible to remember the history of the Ghana Coat of Arms. How do we refer to ourselves as patriotic Ghanaian citizens if we cannot remember these? If you cannot remember, then there is no need to worry. In this article, we have you covered as we shall discuss the meaning of the coat of arms, the history of the Ghana coat of arms, and other details.
It promises to be an interesting read so join me on this expository historical journey.
Ghana Coat of Arms: Meaning, History, & Other details
Coat of Arms: Meaning
Before we go ahead with discussing the Ghana Coat of Arms, it is imperative that we discuss the phrase “coat of arms” as an entity on its own. We have heard this term from childhood but how many of us can truly define the phrase “coat of arms?” Before I define, take a minute to try defining it without looking it up. What did you come up with? Let me help you out then.
In simple terms, a coat of arms is used by a family, organization, town, or country as a means of identity. The coat of arms is usually crested on a shield which them becomes the symbol of the community. We can trace the use of the coat of arms back to the British and French ruling houses. Synonyms of the phrase include insignia, crest, escutcheon, and heraldry.
The ancient Greek and Roman military units are regarded as the earliest users of the coat of arms before the twelfth century when most noble houses in the western world began using it. Initially, it was called heraldry and only a few countries had permission to use it. The origin of the phrase “coat of arms” comes from the fact that the heraldry was later designed on surcoats worn by combatants who participated in knightly tournaments.
Today, every sovereign country is allowed to use its own coat of arms. Other institutions and private organizations have the liberty of using their own coat of arms. Having known this let’s get to the crux of this article.
History of the Ghana Coat of Arms
Ghana used to be referred to by the name “Gold Coast” when it was still a British colony. At this time, the country used a coat of arms designed by the British. This coat of arms was quite similar to the one used by Sierra Leone and Gambia that were also British colonies at the time. It was a badge which showed an elephant with its trunk in the air. The elephant was in front of a palm tree and grass-covered undulating plains. The badge had the initials G.C. inscribed at the bottom.
When Ghana gained its independence in 1957 it was imperative that a new coat of arms was adopted. This new coat of arms was adopted on March 4, 1957. It was designed by the artist, Mr. Amon Kotei. Since then it has been used by the Ghanaian government on all letterheads and as an official seal at government-owned parastatals.
Description and meaning of each part of the Ghana Coat of Arms
Just like every coat of arms, the Ghana coat of arms has several parts and each part has a symbolic meaning. In this section of this article, we will discuss each of these parts along with their symbolic meanings. It should be a fun read so let’s go ahead.
The Ghanaian coat of arms is made up of a shield which is divided into four quarters by a St. George’s cross. The cross is rimmed in gold and each quarter of the shield has a specific symbol embedded. The symbolism of each is explained in the next few paragraphs:
- A crossed linguist staff and a ceremonial sword embedded on a blue background. This is placed at the top left-hand corner of the shield. It symbolizes local administration.
- A heraldic castle on top of a heraldic sea embedded on a light blue background. This symbol represents the Ghanaian National Government. This is placed at the top right-hand corner of the shield.
- A cocoa tree. This is located on the bottom-left corner of the shield. It is very significant as it depicts the agricultural wealth and prowess of Ghana.
- A mine shaft. This symbol is located at the bottom-right corner of the shield. It symbolizes the mineral wealth of the Ghanaian Republic.
- A gold lion. This symbol sits at the middle of the St. George’s cross and it there to show the ever-existent link between Ghana and the Commonwealth of Nations.
- A black five-pointed star. This star sits on top of a red, gold, and green wreath right at the top of the coat of arms. The star itself is rimmed in gold and it symbolizes the lone star of African Freedom.
- Two eagles, each wearing a medal carrying a black star suspended by a ribbon made of Ghana’s national colors (gold, red, and green). The Eagles, seen supporting the shield on each side, signifying strength mixed with an attentive, clear vision watching over the Ghanaian economy.
- The motto on the coat of arms is Freedom and Justice.
That’s about it for the Ghana Coat of Arms. I hope this article has been helpful and enlightening for you? Thank you for reading.
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