Have you seen the coat of arms of Mérida? Today we celebrate its 403rd anniversary!

Photo: (La jornada maya)

Mérida, Yucatán, (August 18, 2021).- Eight years after receiving the title of Very Noble and Very Loyal City of Mérida, the now Yucatecan capital received the coat of arms, which exhibits a rampant lion on a green field and a castle on a blue field, images sealed by a marquis crown.

403 years ago, on August 18th, 1613, the King of Spain Felipe III granted the emblem to Mérida, which before the conquest of Francisco de Montejo y León, was the Maya city of ‘Ichcaanzihó’, also known as ‘T’Hó’.

Mérida was founded in January 1542 by De Montejo y León and it was until April 30, 1605, that it received the title of Very Noble and Very Loyal from the Spanish Crown.

Years later, the king agreed to grant the Royal Privilege of Arms to Mérida Yucatán de las Indias, as part of an award for loyalty and good services.

“I have considered it good and I hereby thank the City of Mérida, in the Province of Yucatan, that now, and henceforth there is and has by its known arms a shield with a rampant lion in a green field and a castle towering in a blue field ”, the document announced, according to information from the National Institute for Federalism and Municipal Development.

(Photo: INAH)

The shield is divided vertically from top to bottom into two equal sides, on the left, there is a blue field where there is a golden castle and on the right, there is a greenfield that protects a rampant lion, also made of gold. The emblem is topped with an open royal crown.

The castle has three turrets and the lion is in a fierce attack position, upright on its hind legs with the front legs raised and showing its claws.

In addition, the lion shows its open snout from which its curved tongue protrudes.

In the symbolism that studies the shields, the castle denotes greatness, power, and resistance against the enemy while the lion signifies courage, strength, and majesty.

Gold is royalty, blue is loyalty, justice, and serenity, and green is hope.

Before this shield was granted, a previous request proposed a different design: in 1543 an emblem with four towers, a red banner and four lions with their heads turned out was requested, but it was not granted.

The legend on the wavy ribbon at the bottom of the shield was a later modification dating from the 20th century, as were the crossed olive and laurel branches.

(Photo: Mérida City Council)

There are various reproductions of the coat of arms of Mérida: the original drawing, dated 1618, the black and white print that appears in the Ecclesiastical Theater, the work of the chronicler Gil González Dávila, in an archive from 1649; the emblem carved in stone in the Municipal Palace and another that is in the Centennial Park that was created in 1720.

The shield is also seen on two commemorative medals from the years 1724 and 1788. 

Source: La jornada maya

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