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Coat of Arms of Poland

Herb Polski

Last modified: 2018-12-15 by rob raeside
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Coat of Arms of Poland

The Polish Eagle bears the Crown since the 10th century. There is an image reported on coins minted by Boleslaw the Brave, the first Polish king. The Crown symbolizes independence from any authority. In the middle ages there were two main in Europe political powers: the Papacy and the German Empire, the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation). German (Teutonic) tribes always fought with the Western Slavic tribes, finally they won war with the Velete Confederation and established German rule in Brandenburg. Brandenburg, Rügen and Vorpommern were ethnic Slavic lands till late 11th century. Old Slavic name for Berlin is Brenna (Velete capital) and for Magdeburg is Dziewin. Boleslaw the Brave met German Emperor Otto III in Gniezno (first Polish capital) in the year 1000. They signed a Peace Treaty, which was broken by the next German Emperor Henry. Polish Bill on the Coat of Arms is probably the world's oldest bill on the Coat of Arms still in use. The bill was given by King Przemysl in 1294. Since the 10th century the crowned eagle was used only by sovereign rulers and governments of Poland.
Krzysztof Kurzeja, 15 Jun 2000

Poland was left without a separate ruler (even a foreign one) during the last period of Russian domination, when even the grandduchy status was abolished; before that the Russian czar accumulated the title of Grandduke of Poland, entiled to the referred arms. However, the Russian imperial Coat of Arms did show the polish ineschuteon (placed on the top of the dexter wing of the eagle), which may substantiate this claim: Though Poland was not administratively autonomous from other parts of the russian empire, the czar did retain the title and the arms in use.
Antonio Martins, 16 Jun 2000

With respect to the crown over the head of the eagle on the Polish flag and arms even when Poland was a republic, as it is now and as it was during the interwar period, this can perhaps be explained by the fact that Poland before the 18th Century partitions was in effect an elective monarchy. The Polish Monarchy was known as the 'Rzeczpolitna Polska', or 'Polish Republic', the official name of the country since 1919 with the exception of the Communist period.
Of course, the franchise for electing a king was strictly limited, and the elections were marked by great bribery and corruption; see any accounts of the election of various Saxon kings to the Polish throne during the 18th Century, or for that matter the election of Stanislav Leszczynski during the middle of that century.
Ron Lahav, 14 Mar 2004

I do not remember from my school years any teacher explaining the red colour on our flag as a symbol of communism. Even the official school coursebooks explained it as a symbol for blood shed for freedom in our stormy history. Whereas the white stripe certainly stands for peace.
It is true we never had any red stars on our COA during the communist rule. And the whole dispute over the star like signs on the eagle's wings was really nonsense to me. Some time ago I visited the museum in my town and one of the exhibits was a COA which had survived the World War II and to my astonishment it showed regular white stars on the wings! I wonder what all those rightwing politicians, including Mr Korwin-Mikke, would say to that.
Piotr Kowalski, 13 Dec 2004

From our internal vexillological studies the Polish flag colours have no link with communism; these colours (red & white) were always used by the old monarchy of Poland (Poland had a great role in Medieval Age in Europe and the Polish Empire was one of the most important in Europe in a medium period). The oldest Polish monarchy symbol that sometime could be still used on flags is in fact a WHITE "crowned" eagle with Yellow tongue on a RED shield: we can find this symbol from the 13th century. This is why in 1919 one year after independence, Polish Parliament adopted a simple red and white bi-colour flag for its country.
Paolo Luigi, 14 Dec 2004

I`ve found your site about the Polish eagle. There is one more hypothesis about the origin of Polish Coat of Arms. In the year 1000, in Gniezno, there was a meeting of Polish duke Boleslaw Chrobry [the Strong] with German Emperor Otton III. Boleslaw was given the title of Roman Patricius, and [accordingly] he was given roman, white eagles as his symbol. It is probable that current Polish eagle is a reminiscence of Boleslaw`s patricism.
Tadeusz Stasiak, 30 Dec 2004