Cantonal Flags and Coats of Arms (Switzerland)

Cantonal Flags And Coats Of Arms (Switzerland)

There are 26 modern cantons of Switzerland, each of which has an official flag and coat of arms. The history of development of these designs spans the 13th to 20th centuries. Historically, the number of cantons was

  • eight during 1352–1481, see Eight Cantons
  • thirteen during 1513–1798, see Thirteen Cantons
  • twenty cantons of the Helvetic Republic in 1798–1803, without official flags or coats of arms
  • twenty-two during 1848–1978, including three cantons divided into two half-cantons each
  • twenty-three during 1979–1999, due to the secession of the canton of Jura from Bern.

Nidwalden and Obwalden are traditional subdivisions of Unterwalden. Basel-Stadt, Basel-Landschaft as well as Appenzell Inner- and Ausserrhoden are half cantons, resulting from the division of Basel and Appenzell, respectively. With the Swiss Federal Constitution of 1999, "half-canton" has ceased to be an official designation, so that the official number of cantons is now 26, the former half-cantons being now referred to as "cantons with half a cantonal vote" officially, even though they are still commonly referred to as half-cantons.

With the exception of Lucerne, Schwyz and Ticino, the cantonal coats of arms are simply arrangements of the cantonal flags in a shield shape. This fashion originates in the 15th century and became commonplace in symbolic depictions of the confederacy during the Early Modern period. In case of Lucerne and Ticino, whose flags consist of fields of different colours divided per fess (horizontally), the coats of arms are of the same colours divided per pale (vertically). Coat of arms of Schwyz has the cross moved from the (hoist) canton to sinister canton with respect to the flag.

Of the 22 cantonal coats of arms as they stood with the creation of Switzerland as a federal state in 1848, six are simple bicolor designs. Vaud also has a bicolor, but (against heraldic tradition) an added inscription. The remaining 15 flags include heraldic designs, as follows:

  • The Swiss cross in two flags, for Schwyz on solid red, and for Neuchâtel in the corner of the "revolutionary" tricolor)
  • seven flags with heraldic animals:
    • the bear for Berne and for Appenzell
    • the bull for Uri
    • the ram for Schaffhausen
    • the ibex for Grisons (at the time only one of three coats of arms shown side by side for the Three Leagues)
    • the eagle for Geneva
    • two lions for Thurgau
  • the bishop's crozier or Baslerstab for Basel
  • the image of a pilgrim (Saint Fridolin) for Glarus
  • a key for Unterwalden and for Geneva
  • the fasces for St. Gallen
  • stars for Valais and Aargau, the latter with additional wavy lines representing rivers

Read more about Cantonal Flags And Coats Of Arms (Switzerland):  History, List

Other articles related to "flag, arms, coat":

Cantonal Flags And Coats Of Arms (Switzerland) - List
... Canton FlagCoat of armsDescription History Zürich Diagonally divided from the upper hoist to the lower fly into equal blue and white parts, with the blue all in ... The coatof armsis supported by two lions ... The flagof Zürich is derived from a blue-and-white design attested since the 1220s, the diagnoal division of the flagis first attested 1389 ...

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