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What the symbols on Jamaica's Coat of Arms represent

Published:Friday | August 5, 2016 | 12:59 PM

All the figures on the Coat of Arms represents Jamaica in different aspects.

The national motto, ‘Out of Many One People’, is represented on the Coat of Arms. E pluribus unum, the motto of the United States – Latin for 'Out of many, one' – refers to the Union formed by the separate states. E pluribus unum was adopted as a national motto in 1776 and is now found on the Great Seal of the United States and on United States currency.

The Jamaican Coat of Arms shows a male and female member of the Taino tribe, the first inhabitants of Jamaica, standing on either side of a shield which bears a red cross with five golden pineapples, the indigenous fruit.

The crest shows a Jamaican crocodile – the indigenous reptile of the country – mounted on the Royal Helmet of the British Monarchy and mantling, the use of which is a unique distinction accorded to Jamaica by the British.

The American crocodile is Jamaica's largest reptile and is not endemic to the island because it is also found in the coastal wetlands of Cuba, Hispaniola, the Cayman Islands and Florida.

The Jamaican Natural Resources Conservation Authority has been quoted as saying that the country does not possess any alligators at all – but it is home to one species of crocodile, the American crocodile.

The Coat of Arms, considered a legacy from the British with slight modifications, was granted to Jamaica in 1661 under Royal Warrant. The original was designed by William Sancroft, then Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Coat of Arms may have been dispensed with, but the government and opposition reached an agreement that it constituted a badge of great historical significance to the nation and should be retained.