Created: May 2015
Costa Rica’s Coat of Arms (also called the National Shield) depicts its geography, the oceans, prosperity, the provinces and coffee.
Costa Rica Coat of Arms
(1998 to Present)
The Coat of Arms has three volcanoes depicting the three mountain ranges of the Country and a valley in the midst. Two merchant sailing ships, one sailing in the foreground and the other in the background (the Pacific and the Caribbean) are centered in the seas on the Shield. The rising sun typifies the country’s search for prosperity. Seven stars in the sky represent the seven Provinces, Alajuela, Cartago, Guanacaste, Heredia, Limon, Puntarenas, and San Jose. A white banner sits beneath two branches of myrtle. The banner bears the inscription “Republica de Costa Rica” and is on the uppermost part of the Shield. A blue scroll-ribbon floats above the Shield with the words ‘America Central’, to honor the United Provinces of Central America. Small golden circles on either side represent the ‘Golden Beans’, or coffee the ‘cash-crop’ of Costa Rica.
First displayed on 29th September, 1848, the Shield has been officially altered three times. First in 1906, when all war elements, cannons and rifles, were removed. Then in 1964 two more stars were added when Limon and Puntarenas provinces were incorporated; and finally, in 1998, puffs of smoke were added in the sky above the volcanoes.
Arguably, the sun in the Coat of Arms is said to be the ‘rising sun’, and speaks to the dawning of a new Nation. On the other hand, looking at the image, the sun is located just above the horizon on the left side, the West Side of the Coat of Arms, in which case it would be setting and not rising. Perhaps as a token of this Nation which retired its military and arms a long time ago, and settled for a peaceful life.
So while sitting back in the hot springs overlooking the majestic volcano, Rincon de la Vieja, something to contemplate will be Costa Rica’s national Coat of Arms and its well considered significance. Much thought goes into these endevours to capture the national spirit of a nation.