State Arms of Mexico
The text of the Law on
the Arms and the Flag of Mexico is available in Spanish, with this illustration
of the arms. The law provides that:
From Klaus Ole Kristiansen:
Unlike the Maya, the Mexica (as they called themselves, the word Aztec were invented much later to denote the real Mexica, as opposed to those who happen to live within the modern country of Mexico) did not have a complete system of writing. What they did have was a system of glyphs. There were name glyphs, and there were glyphs for many actions and things. There was e.g. one accepted way of drawing a temple. A burning temple meant defeat. The name glyph of Tlatelolco next to a burning temple would mean "Tlatelolco is conquered", or "the defeat of Tlatalolco" and similar meanings.
The name glyph of Tenochtitlan was a cactus issuant from a stone. (Tenochtitlan was the capital of the Mexica. Mexico City includes the sites of the ancient cities of Tenochtitlan, Tlatelolco, and Texcoco). The arms of Mexico is based on the Tenochtitlan name glyph, though it doesn't look quite the same. The "stone" glyph, which looks rather like the central part of a heraldic thunderbolt, is surmounted by an eagle holding in one claw a serpent.
The glyph refers to the legend that the site of the city was chosen when and eagle landed on a cactus. Tenochtitlan means something like cactus fruit place.
The glyph appears in pre-Columbian documents, and also becomes common in the 18th century. It was adopted as National arms from the very beginning, on April 9, 1823.
Arms of the City of Mexico
On July 4, 1523, Carlos V of Spain granted arms to the City of Mexico.
It can be blazoned as follows: Azure a castle between three bridges
or, two from each flank and one from the base, converging toward the
castle but not touching it; on each the two bridges from the flank a
lion rampant of the last supporting the castle; on a bordure or twelve
leaves of the nopal cactus vert.
The Spanish text of the royal Cedula follows:
Over the course of time these arms were modified: an eagle was added on top of the castle, the lions disappeared, the eagle began to hold a serpent, the cactus leaves migrated from the bordure to the castle. In other words, the coat of arms transmogrified into the pre-Columbian glyph.
Arms of the Empire of Mexico
See Casa Imperial, a site devoted to the Mexican monarchy.
The (2nd) Empire of Mexico lived only briefly: a "Regencia del Imperio" was proclaimed in 1863 with the arrival of French troops, and Maximilian of Austria accepted the Imperial crown of Mexico in 1864. The empire ended in 1867, with the execution of Maximilian. Its arms were quite similar to the preceding and following regimes:
Azure, from a sea argent a rock issuant proper thereon a cactus (Nopal) proper, on the cactus an eagle or holding in its beak and claws a serpent vert. The oval shield is rimmed with a bordure or with laurel branches, it is surrounded by the collar of the order of St.Maria of Guadalupe (until 1865) or the order of the Mexican Eagle (after 1865), the scepter and sword are placed per saltire behind the shield. The shield is crowned with an imperial crown of eagles (similar to the French imperial crown: the eagles' wings curve back to form the arches of the crown and are all joined at the top to support a fleur-de-lys). The supporters are two Austrian griffons (per fess sable and or), and the motto is "Equidad en la justicia".
The Regencia adopted similar arms (the crown above the shield
is a traditional one with strawberry leaves and an orb, the eagle is crowned)
on November 20, 1863. Maximilian adopted his arms by a decree of July 18,
1864 whose text does not describe the arms (a depiction was attached).
Another decree of November 10, 1865 describes the arms as follows:
Reference: Siebmacher. Manuel Carrera Stampa, El Escudo Nacional, Mexico, 1960.
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