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Ecuador - Coat of Arms

Last modified: 2014-05-17 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: ecuador | condor | bird (condor) | chimborazo | guayas | caduceos | zodiac |
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[Coat-of-Arms of Ecuador]
image by Eugene Ipavec, 7 September 2006

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[This time I just have recorded the contribution to having been eaten the great amount of backlogs - then I will summarize the conflicting contributions reported here, a clean-up will be done later. - The Editor]

The Ecuador coat of arms was adopted by the National Congress in 1900. Here is an explanation of its symbolism:
Four national furled flags act as supporters. Between them are palm and laurel branches symbolizing victory. A condor perched at the top serves as a crest and offers the country shelter and protection under its outstretched wings and stands ready to strike out against any enemy. At the base is a lictoral fasces representing dignity.
The coat of arms proper is an oval disc (said to be "heart-shaped") consisting principally of an allegorical landscape. In the background is the majestic Chimborazo mountain rising against a blue sky. This is the highest peak in the Andes and its snows give birth to the Guayas River. The imagery symbolizes the brotherhood of the Sierra and the Coast. In the foreground, the steamboat "Guayas" is seen crossing the wide river. This boat, which began service on October 9, 1841, was constructed by Vicente Rocafuerte and was the first of its kind in Ecuador and South America. The mast is actually a caduceus (a rod with two wings at the top and two snakes encircling it) and symbolizes "accord and trade". On a band across the sky are the zodiacal signs for Aries, Taurus, Gemini, and Cancer corresponding to March, April, May, and June -- months which are historically significant to Ecuadorians. Centered among these is the sun, an ancient Inca symbol.
T.F Mills, 11 December 1997

The bird on the top of the arms is an Andean Condor. This native South American bird is also on the arms of Bolivia, Chile and Colombia.
Paige Herring, 5 March 1998

At <> there is a governmental text as follows:

In1900 the Congress established the Coat of Arms and the flag as physical symbols of the Fatherland. It is an oval within which there is one of the most extraordinary landscapes of the Equatorian land [sic]. A blue sky shows up the Andean giant Chimborazo; from its silver snows falls a river whose waters widen in a flooding manner until they run amidst luxuriantly vegetated margins.
It is the Guayas river, symbol of national unity of mountains and coastland, Equatorian regions. Melted contrasts for our greatness. In the wide part of the river there is a ship which reminds of the first one built in the Guayaquil docks in 1840, believed to be the first ship built in South America. It carries a Caduceus (symbol of the god Mercury and of trade). The silver Zodiac band bears in the middle a gold sun. The signs of the months of March, April, May and June, ie. Aries, Taurus, Gemini and Cancer are engraved on them, translating the historical calendar thus: 6th March 1845, fall of Flores' government; 21st April 1822, the Tapi Battle, which announced the final victory of Sucre at the unmatched Pichincha Battle 24th May 1822, fall of the enslaving regime and our political freedom; 5th June 1895, entry of Liberalism and a new political context. The whole rests on a fasces, universal symbol of republican dignity. The oval is surrounded by four national flags, two each side; in between them appear olive and a laurel branches speaking of the peace and welfare, glory and triumph. Over the oval on the top, a condor -local bird of the Equatorian Andes- opens its wings and with its majesty and energy symbolizes the Fatherland in its effort of self improvement and progress.
Historical synthesis of the Coat of Arms: The Coat of Arms underwent six changes. The current graphical version, approved by the Ministerio de Instruccion Publica (Popular Education Office) in 1916 is a marvelous work of art due to the brushes of Pedro P. Traversari, which surpassed the many antiaesthetical graphical versions of the verbal descriptions contained in the 1845 and 1900 decrees.
These are the changes:
1) From 1821 the Free Province of Guayaquil used a white five-pointed star on blue field, surrounded by two laurel branches and the scroll "POR GUAYAQUIL INDEPENDIENTE".
2) While Ecuador was part of Greater Colombia, its arms were those in the 6th October 1821 Law decreed by the Cucuta Congress, ie. the cornucopies or 'horns of plenty', bound with a tricolour tape, and with the words 'Republica de Colombia' around it.
3) The 27th September 1830, the Constituent Congress meeting at Riobamba designed the arms of Ecuador thus: "the arms of Colombia will be used, a light blue field with a sun in the equinox over the phases and a scroll 'El Ecuador en Colombia'".
4) About 1836 and at least in 1846 a round Coat of Arms with two mountains and two doves carrying olive branches was used. On the sky, the sun amongst the signs of Leo, Scorpio, Balance and Virgo and seven stars over them. Beneath the mountains, a circular scroll 'Republica del Ecuador' surrounded by olive and laurel branches.
5) A decree was passed during the third mandate of General Flores, stating that "the [coat of] arms of the Republic will have a rectangular chief and a elliptical base. Its field will be divided into three quarters: the uppermost blue with the sun setting over a section of the Zodiac; the middle one divided into two, right [sinister?] a gold field with an open book with the Roman numerals I through IV indicating chapters of the Constitution, left [dexter?] a green field with a horse; the lowermost again divided into two, right a blue field with a river and a ship on it, left a silver field with a volcano. A condor with displayed wings on the top and flags and trophies at the sides.
6) The 1900 congress established the Coat of Arms as is known today, with the tricolour restored by Garcia Moreno in 1860, after the Jambeli victory where the Peruvian invaders sent by Castilla were expelled.
Santiago Dotor
, 21 October 1998

Concering Santiago Dotor's post: "arms of Ecuador thus: "the arms of Colombia will be used, a light blue field with a sun in the equinox over the phases and a scroll 'El Ecuador en Colombia":
The "phases" is a wrong translation which should be "fasces", as the arms of Colombia showed the fasces with a bow and three arrows between two cornucopiae.The text he gives explains that there were two cornucopiae bound together and the letters... But he does not tell, that there must be a fasces and a bow in between those cornucopiae. To prove here is that Coat of Arms. The said text was in original FASCES, but we have a handwritten copy of that text, coming from Ecuador, dating 1910 (!) where the writer copied FASES. Since then the text has always been repeated, and not the original text, which might have been lost, but is written in a later brochure about coat of arms and flags of Ecuador.

Also Concering "...with two mountains and two doves carrying olive branches": We have two pictures of that coat of arms. One is circular, without the doves, the second is of normal shield shape but the doves are cornucopiae above the shield, and there are three mountains and only six stars. Who had the wrong intention? Were there cornucopiae or were there doves? Both look the nearly same when sketched roughly... I think the cornucopiae are right, as they have always been in Colombian arms of that era. In use 1832 - 1843.

Concering " ...during General Flores...": These coat of arms were introduced in the constitution of 1843. In 1845 the coat of arms of today was introduced (with w-b-w flags and different signs in the Zodiac), it was changed in 1860 to the present design, some minor changes in 1900. In our files we have seven Ecuadorian arms! 1820, 1822, 1830, 1832, 1843, 1845, 1860 (1900).
Ralf Stelter, 23 May 1999 and 17 September 1999

I disagree, the original text (in an Ecuatorian website) did say "fases" (ie. phases) and not "fasces". On the other hand, the sun really is depicted in the coat of arms over the signs of four phases of the zodiac (Aries, Taurus, Gemini and Cancer) as is explained in the first paragraph of the translated passage. The fasces is below the whole escutcheon, not under the sun within the escutcheon. The text I translated said "fases" (=phases), and the coat-of-arms depicted somewhere in the same website did have Zodiac phases, with the fasces below the whole escutcheon and not within it. I have no knowledge on Ecuatorian vexillological or armorial history so I cannot authenticate or refute either the text or the image.-
Saniago dotor, 25 May 1999 and 27 September 1999

This coat of arms seems to be the official one of the Republic of Great Colombia. First apparition is dated 6 October 1821 in Cundinamarca and is in use until 9 May 1834 (same time several variants of the arms exist). These arms were added to the national flag (intead old one).Main source from this infos is Prof. Restrepo Uribe.
Jaume Ollé, 27 September 1999

The adoption date of Ecuador coat of arms as Dec 5th 1845 is a date for the 2nd version coat of arms. The current (5th) version of coat of arms was adopted on Dec 5th 1900.
Nozomi Kariyasu, 13 January 2001

Description of the national coat of arms

The coat of arms of Ecuador is made of an oval whose inner upper part includes the sun; on the elliptic [ribbon] are placed the Ram, Taurus, Gemini and Cancer signs of the zodiac, matching the months of March, April, May and June, during which significant historical events occurred.
In the lower dexter part is the representation of the Chimborazo (the highest snow volcano in the country), from which flows a river (Guayas), on the non meandrous part of which sails a steamboat, recalling the steamboat built in the Guyaquil shipyard (1840), the first steamboat in South America. The steamboat's mast is made of a  caduceus, the symbol of nvigation and trade, as the sources of Ecuador's wealth. The shield is supported by a fasces of consul's axes, the universal expression of the Republican dignity, and flanked by national flags and breanches of palm and laurel proclaiming peace. The oval is crowned by a condor with spread wings.
Source: User's guide of the national symbols, November 2009 [e9c09].
Ivan Sache
, 19 September 2010