Coat of arms of Poland

The coat of arms of Poland is a white, crowned eagle with a golden beak and talons, on a red background.

In Poland, the coat of arms as a whole is referred to as godło both in official documents and colloquial speech,[1] despite the fact that other coats of arms are usually called an herb (e.g. the Nałęcz herb or the coat of arms of Finland). This stems from the fact that in Polish heraldry, the word godło (plural: godła) means only a heraldic charge (in this particular case a white crowned eagle) and not an entire coat of arms, but it is also an archaic word for a national symbol of any sort.[2] In later legislation only the herb retained this designation; it is unknown why.

Coat of arms of Poland
Herb Polski
ArmigerRepublic of Poland
Adopted1295; last modified in 1990
BlazonGules, an eagle argent, armed, crowned and beaked or, langued argent

Legal basis

The coat of arms of the Republic of Poland is described in two legal documents: the Constitution of the Republic of Poland of 1997[3] and the Coat of Arms, Colors and Anthem of the Republic of Poland, and State Seals Act (Ustawa o godle, barwach i hymnie Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej oraz o pieczęciach państwowych) of 1980 with subsequent amendments[1] (henceforth referred to as "the Coat of Arms Act").

Legislation concerning the national symbols is far from perfect. The Coat of Arms Act has been amended several times and refers extensively to executive ordinances, some of which have never been issued. Moreover, the Act contains errors, omissions and inconsistencies which make the law confusing, open to various interpretations and often not followed in practice.[4]


Sobieski Crown
John III Sobieski's coat of arms crowning the Royal Chapel in Gdańsk, 1681

According to Chapter I, Article 28, paragraph 1 of the Constitution, the coat of arms of Poland is an image of a crowned white eagle in a red field.[3] The Coat of Arms Act, Article 4, further specifies that the crown, as well as the eagle's beak and talons, are golden. The eagle's wings are outstretched and its head is turned to its right.[1] In English heraldic terminology, the arms are blazoned as Gules an eagle crowned, beaked and armed Or. In contrast to classic heraldry, where the same blazon may be rendered into varying designs, the Coat of Arms Act allows only one official rendering of the national coat of arms. The official design may be found in attachment no. 1 to the Coat of Arms Act.[1]

The nearly circular charge, i.e., the image of the white eagle, is highly stylized. The heraldic bird is depicted with its wings and legs outstretched, its head turned to the right, in a pose known in heraldry as 'displayed'. The eagle's plumage, as well as its tongue and leg scales are white with gradient shading suggestive of a bas-relief. Each wing is adorned with a curved band extending from the bird's torso to the upper edge of the wing, terminating in a heraldic cinquefoil. Note that a cinquefoil is a stylized five-leafed plant, not a star. Three of its leaves are embossed like a trefoil (note similar trefoils in the medieval designs of the eagle). In heraldic terms, the eagle is "armed", that is to say, its beak and talons are rendered in gold, in contrast to the body. The crown on the eagle's head consists of a base and three fleurons extending from it. The base is adorned with three roughly rectangular gemstones. The fleurons – of which the two outer ones are only partly visible – have the shape of a fleur-de-lis. The entire crown, including the gems, as well as spaces between the fleurons, is rendered in gold.

The charge is placed in an escutcheon (shield) of the Modern French type. It is a nearly rectangular upright isosceles trapezoid, rounded at the bottom, whose upper base is slightly longer than the lower one, from the middle of which extends downwards a pointed tip. Although the shield is an integral part of the coat of arms, Polish law stipulates, in certain cases, to only use the charge without the escutcheon. The shades of the principal tinctures, white (Argent) and red (Gules), which are the national colors of Poland, are specified as coordinates in the CIE 1976 color space (see Flag of Poland – National colors for details).


According to legend, the White Eagle emblem originated when Poland's legendary founder Lech saw a white eagle's nest[5]. When he looked at the bird, a ray of sunshine from the red setting sun fell on its wings, so they appeared tipped with gold, the rest of the eagle was pure white. He was delighted and decided to settle there and placed the eagle on his emblem. He also named the place Gniezdno (currently Gniezno) from the Polish word gniazdo ("nest").

Denar rys chrobry1
Chrobry denarius with a heraldic bird, about 1000 AD
Arras 006
Tapestry with the coats of arms of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania, ca. 1555

The symbol of an eagle appeared for the first time on the coins made during the reign of Bolesław I (992-1025), initially as the coat of arms of the Piast dynasty. Beginning in the 12th century, the eagle has appeared on the shields, ensigns, coins, and seals of the Piast dukes. It appeared on the Polish coat of arms during Przemysł II reign as a reminder of the Piast tradition before the fragmentation of Poland.

The eagle's graphic form has changed throughout centuries. Its recent shape, accepted in 1927, was designed by professor Zygmunt Kaminski and was based on the eagle's form from the times of Stefan Batory's reign. It is worth mentioning that it was adapted to stamps or round shields rather than to a rectangular shape.

Kremlin Armoury 2
A silver heraldic base for King John Casimir's crown, ca. 1666

The arms of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was quartered, with Polish eagle and Lithuanian Pahonia on opposite sides. Kings used to place their own emblems in the center of the national coat of arms (i.e., House Vasa).

Despite the fact that new emblems were given to provinces established by the invaders after the partitions of Poland, the White Eagle remained there with or without crown and occasionally with face turned towards left and in some exceptions with Pahonia. But in most cases they were combined with the invader's emblem.

After the November Uprising, the tsars, titled also as Polish kings, adapted the Order of the White Eagle with blue ribbon, well accepted in Russia. Archangel, the symbol of Ukraine, joined the eagle and Pahonia during the January Uprising.

The Poles conscientiously collected coins from the pre-partitions period with the eagle on their obverse and reverse. The symbol of the eagle, often with Pahonia, appeared on numerous flags and emblems of the uprising.

King of Poland
King of Poland in tournamental attire
Polish pavilion Paris 1937
Coat of arms of Poland in Paris during exposition in 1937

The resurrection of a Polish Kingdom (Polish Regency) in the territories of the former Congress Poland (which had been fully integrated into the Russian Empire as Vistula Land in 1867) was approved by Austria-Hungary and Wilhelm II's Germany in 1916. A year later, the first Polish banknotes (Polish Marka) with Crowned Eagle on an indivisible shield were introduced. After regaining total independence and the creation of the Second Polish Republic (1918–1939) the White Eagle was implemented by the act of 1919. Official image of the coat of arms (which reminds of Stanisław Poniatowski's emblem) was used until 1927 when Zygmunt Kamiński designed a new one. According to the research of Polish heraldist Jerzy Michta published in 2017, the version designed by Kamiński was actually plagiarized from a 1924 medal by Elisa Beetz-Charpentier made in honor of Ignacy Paderewski.[6]

After World War II, the communist authorities of the Polish People's Republic removed the "reactionary" royal crown from the eagle's head. Still, Poland was one of the few countries in the Eastern Bloc with no communist symbols (red stars, ears of wheat, hammers, etc.) on either its flag or its coat of arms. The crownless design was approved by resolution in 1955. To counter that, the Polish government in Exile introduced a new emblem with a cross added atop the crown. After the fall of communism in 1989, the crown came back, but without the cross.

The eagle appears on many public administration buildings, it is present in schools and courts. Furthermore, it is placed on the obverse of Polish coins. However the issue on which conditions it should be exposed and how it should be interpreted is the topic of numerous debates in Poland. The eagle was formerly on the Poland national football team's shirts; a new shirt without the eagle was introduced in November 2011, prompting complaints from fans and president Bronisław Komorowski. Due to this overwhelming public pressure, the football shirts were redesigned with the eagle reinstated in the centre of the shirt in December 2011.[7]


Kingdom of Poland

Emblem of Civitas Schinesghe

Emblem of Civitas Schinesghe
(Bolesław era, 1000 AD)

Insigne Polonicum

Coat of arms of Poland (966-1370)

Herb pol

Coat of arms of Poland (1295–1569)

Blason Louis Ier de Hongrie

Coat of arms of Poland (1370-1384)

COA polish king Jagellon

Coat of arms of Poland (1386-1569)

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

Coat of Arms of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

Coat of arms of Poland (1569–1795)

Blason Henri Ier de Pologne

Coat of arms of Poland (1573-1574)

COA polish king Etienne Bathory

Coat of arms of Poland (1575-1586)

COA polish king Vasa

Coat of arms of Poland (1587-1668)

COA polish king Michel Wisniowiecki

Coat of arms of Poland (1669-1673)

COA polish king Jean III Sobieski

Coat of arms of Poland (1674-1696)

Blason Auguste II de Pologne (1670-1733)

Coat of arms of Poland (1697-1704, 1709-1763)

COA polish king Stanislas Leszczynski

Coat of arms of Poland (1704-1709)

COA polish king Stanislas II Poniatowsky

Coat of arms of Poland (1764-1795)

Partitioned Poland

Grand Coat of Arms of Duchy of Warsaw

Coat of arms of Duchy of Warsaw (1807–1815)

Small Coat of Arms of Congress Poland

Small Coat of arms of Congress Poland (1815-1832)

Medium Coat of Arms of Congress Poland

Medium Coat of arms of Congress Poland (1815-1832)

Great Coat of Arms of Congress Poland

Great Coat of arms of Congress Poland (1815-1832)

November Uprising

Coat of arms of the November Uprising (1830–1831)

Coat of arms of the Kraków Uprising

Coat of arms of the Kraków Uprising

Coat of arms of the January Uprising

Coat of arms of the January Uprising

Coat of arms of Poland under Russian rule

Coat of arms of Vistula Land (1867–1918)

Restored Poland

Godło Królestwa Polskiego (1916-1918)

Coat of arms of Poland (1916–1918)

Herb Rzeczypospolitej 1919-1927

Template of the white eagle in the coat of arms of Poland (1919-1927).[8]

Coat of arms of Poland2 1919-1927

Coat of arms of Poland (1919–1927)

Godło II Rzeczypospolitej

Coat of arms of Poland (1927–1939) and of the Polish Government in Exile until 1956 [9]

Herb Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej (1956 - 1990)

Coat of arms of the Polish Government in Exile (1956–1990) [10]

Coat of arms of Poland (1955-1980)

Coat of arms of the Polish People's Republic (1955–1990)

Third Polish Republic

Herb Polski

Coat of arms of the Republic of Poland (since 1990)

Godło Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej - wzór ustawowy

Coat of arms of the Republic of Poland according to the Law Dz.U. z 2005 r. Nr 235, poz. 2000

Flag of the President of Poland

The standard of the President

Polska ePaszport

The eagle used by governmental institutions and on Polish passports

Emblem of the Senate of Poland

The logo of the Senate

Military Eagle

See also


  1. ^ a b c d (in Polish) Ustawa o godle, barwach i hymnie Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej oraz o pieczęciach państwowych Archived 2008-02-25 at the Wayback Machine [Coat of Arms, Colors and Anthem of the Republic of Poland, and State Seals Act], Dz.U. 1980 nr 7 poz. 18
  2. ^ (in Polish) Ustawa z dnia 1 sierpnia 1919 r. o godłach i barwach Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej[Symbols and Colors of the Republic of Poland Act, 1st of August 1919] Dz.U. 1919 nr 69 poz. 416
  3. ^ a b (in Polish) Konstytucja Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej [Constitution of the Republic of Poland], Dz.U. 1997 nr 78 poz. 483 Archived October 7, 2009, at WebCite
  4. ^ Informacja o wynikach kontroli używania symboli państwowych przez organy administracji publicznej (PDF) (in Polish), Warsaw: Supreme Chamber of Control (NIK), 2005, archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-02-27
  5. ^
  6. ^ Wiktor Ferfecki: Godło Polski jest plagiatem?. Rzeczpospolita, 2018-10-29.
  7. ^ Nakrani, Sachin (14 November 2011). "Poland and Ukraine lose momentum with issues over shirts and injuries". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
  8. ^ "Ustawa z dnia 1 sierpnia 1919 r. o godłach i barwach Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej. Dz.U. 1919 nr 69 poz. 416"..
  9. ^ "Rozporządzenie Prezydenta Rzeczypospolitej z dnia 13 grudnia 1927 r. o godłach i barwach państwowych oraz o oznakach, chorągwiach i pieczęciach. Dz.U. 1927 nr 115 poz.980".
  10. ^ "Dekret Prezydenta Rzeczypospolitej z dnia 11 listopada 1956 r. o zmianie Rozporządzenia Prezydenta Rzeczypospolitej z dnia 13 grudnia 1927 r. o godłach, barwach państwowych oraz o oznakach, chorągwiach i pieczęciach przez dodanie Krzyża w Koronie. Dz.U Władz RP na Uchodźstwie 1956 nr 3 poz. 3".

External links

Amicus Poloniae

Amicus Poloniae (Latin: "Friend of Poland") is a distinction, established in 1996 by the Polish ambassador to the United States and conferred annually to the citizens of the United States for merits in the field of Polish-American relations, especially in the popularization of achievements of Polish culture, sciences and the promotion of Poland in the United States.

Together with the distinction the laureate receives a plaque made from cherry wood and adorned with a brass White Eagle – the Coat of arms of Poland - and an engraved plate with the name of the laureate.

Coat of arms of the Masovian Voivodeship

The coat of arms of Masovian Voivodeship is a white eagle with a golden beak and talons, on a red background. The author of the project is Andrzej Heidrich. Adopted in 2002.

It is similar to the coat of arms of Poland, coat of arms used by Mazovian dukes from the Piast dynasty, and the one proposed for Warsaw Voivodeship (drawings were prepared by Zygmunt Lorec but never adopted).

Coat of arms of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

The Coat of Arms of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was the symbol of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, representing the union of the Crown of the Polish Kingdom and Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

Flag of Warsaw

The flag of Warsaw is formed by two horizontal bands of equal width — yellow on the top and red on the bottom. It was adopted originally in 1938. The flag can often be confused for the flag of Prague

Green Gate

The Green Gate (Polish: Brama Zielona, German: former Koggentor, now Grünes Tor) in Gdańsk, Poland, is one of the city's most notable tourist attractions. It is situated between Long Market (Długi Targ) and the River Motława.

List of Polish flags

A variety of Polish flags are defined in current Polish national law, either through an act of parliament or a ministerial ordinance. Apart from the national flag, these are mostly military flags, used by one or all branches of the Polish Armed Forces, especially the Polish Navy. Other flags are flown by vessels of non-military uniformed services.

Most Polish flags feature white and red, the national colors of Poland. The national colors, officially adopted in 1831, are of heraldic origin and derive from the tinctures of the coats of arms of Poland and Lithuania. Additionally, some flags incorporate the white eagle of the Polish coat of arms, while other flags used by the Armed Forces incorporate military eagles, which are variants.

Both variants of the national flag of Poland were officially adopted in 1919, shortly after Poland re-emerged as an independent state in the aftermath of World War I in 1918. Many Polish flags were adopted within the following three years.

The designs of most of these flags have been modified only to adjust to the changes in the official rendering of the national coat of arms. Major modifications included a change in the stylization of the eagle from Neoclassicist to Baroque in 1927 and the removal of the crown from the eagle's head during the Communist rule from 1944 to 1990. Legal specification for the shades of the national colors has also changed with time. The shade of red was first legally specified as vermilion by a presidential decree of 13 December 1928.

This verbal prescription was replaced with coordinates in the CIE 1976 color space by the Coat of Arms Act of 31 January 1980.

List of diplomatic missions of Poland

This is a list of diplomatic missions of Poland, excluding honorary consulates. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs opened Polish missions in 2008 in Kabul, Podgorica, Manchester and Ramallah. In 2017, the embassy in Panama City was opened, and in 2018, the embassy in Manila was reopened.

Medal of Victory and Freedom 1945

Medal of Victory and Freedom 1945 (Polish: Medal Zwycięstwa i Wolności 1945) was a Polish military decoration awarded to persons who fought during World War II against Nazi Germany.

National symbols of Poland

National symbols of Poland are the symbols that are used in Poland to represent what is unique about the nation, reflecting different aspects of its cultural life and history. They intend to unite people by creating visual, verbal, or iconic representations of the national people, values, goals, or history. These symbols are often rallied around as part of celebrations of patriotism or nationalism and are designed to be inclusive and representative of all the people of the national community.

Order of the White Eagle (Poland)

The Order of the White Eagle (Polish: Order Orła Białego) is Poland's highest order awarded to both civilians and the military for their merits. It was officially instituted on 1 November 1705 by Augustus II the Strong and bestowed on eight of his closest diplomatic and political supporters.It is awarded to the most distinguished Poles and the highest-ranking representatives of foreign countries. The Order of the White Eagle is attached to a blue ribbon slung over the left shoulder to the right side. The star of the Order, once embroidered, is worn on the left side of the chest.

Orlik 2012

Orlik 2012 or simply Orlik is a Polish government project to build a football (soccer) and join volleyball–basketball fields in each gmina municipality in Poland before 2012 (time of UEFA Euro 2012 cohosted by Poland). As of 2010 there were 2,479 gminas throughout the country. Orlik is usually built within elementary (grade 1-6) or junior high school (grade 7-9) arena. The name (small eagle) refers to the coat of arms of Poland, while the Polish national teams are called the eagles.

Outline of Poland

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Poland:

The Republic of Poland is a sovereign country located in Central Europe. Poland is bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north. The total area of Poland is 312,679 km² (120,728 sq mi), making it the 69th largest country in the world and 9th in Europe. Poland has a population of over 38.5 million people, which makes it the 33rd most populous country in the world.The establishment of a Polish state is often identified with the adoption of Christianity by its ruler Mieszko I in 966 (see Baptism of Poland), when the state covered territory similar to that of present-day Poland. Poland became a kingdom in 1025, and in 1569 it cemented a long association with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by uniting to form the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Commonwealth collapsed in 1795, and its territory was partitioned among Prussia, Russia, and Austria. Poland regained its independence in 1918 after World War I but lost it again in World War II, occupied by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Poland lost over six million citizens in World War II, and emerged several years later as a socialist republic within the Eastern Bloc under strong Soviet influence. In 1989 communist rule was overthrown and Poland became what is constitutionally known as the "Third Polish Republic". Poland is a unitary state made up of sixteen voivodeships (Polish: województwo). Poland is also a member of the European Union, NATO and OECD.

Palestine–Poland relations

Official relations between Poland and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) date back to the 1970s, when a PLO representative office was opened in 1976.Diplomatic relations between Poland and the PLO began in 1982, when the representative office was appointed as the official diplomatic mission to Poland and the head of the mission was appointed ambassador.

Poland recognized the Palestinian Declaration of Independence issued by the Palestinian National Council in Algiers in 1988 and raised the degree of Palestinian representation to the level of an embassy with all privileges and rights enjoyed by other missions accredited to Poland. Poland accepted that the Ambassador of the State of Palestine be the extraordinary ambassador to Poland since 2000.

The Polish position is consistent in its support for the struggle of the Palestinian people. It should be noted that Poland is one of the European countries that support the resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict peacefully based on the two-state solution. There is parliamentary cooperation between Palestine and Poland and the exchange of parliamentary delegations. There is also close cooperation in various fields such as tourism, education, sports and military security. Poland provides annual support through aid for development projects in Palestine.

Poland participated in the training of a number of Palestinian diplomats, policemen and border guards. The Polish border guards trained 72 Palestinian policemen in 2016.

Poland's abstention in favor of a General Assembly resolution rejecting any measures to change the situation in Jerusalem stems from the Polish view that voting in favor of the resolution will not bring the solution between the two sides closer.

Poland women's national ice hockey team

The Polish women's national ice hockey team represents Poland at the International Ice Hockey Federation's IIHF World Women's Championships. The women's national team is controlled by Polski Związek Hokeja na Lodzie. As of 2011, Poland has 374 female players. The Polish women's national team is ranked 34th in the world.

Poland women's national under-18 ice hockey team

The Poland women's national under–18 ice hockey team is the national under-18 ice hockey team of Poland. The team represents Poland at the International Ice Hockey Federation's World Women's U18 Division I Qualification.


Półtorak (lit. one-and-a-halfer) was a small coin equal to 1½ grosz struck in Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 17th century, during the reign of Sigismund III Vasa and John II Casimir Vasa. Initially a silver coin, with time its value deteriorated and the coin went out of use. Augustus III of Poland unsuccessfully tried to reintroduce it as a copper coin. The name stems from the Polish word "półtora" meaning one and a half.

The coin was introduced in 1614 due to the need to strike a popular coin between a grosz and a trojak (3 grosz coin). From its early days, the półtorak was a coin of relatively low value, manufactured of impure silver (grade 0.469). Intended as a coin to be used close to the borders of the Kingdom of Poland, the coin's silver content was kept low to prevent valued metals from leaving the country. Initially produced at the Cracow mint, it was also produced in Bydgoszcz and between 1619 and 1620 also in Vilna.

Initially the obverse featured the Coat of Arms of Poland, but already the following year it was replaced with the Coat of arms of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth defaced with the coat of arms of the ruling House of Vasa. For most of its circulation the reverse featured a royal orb, inherited from the earlier Groschen of Brandenburg. To further facilitate international trade, both the obverse and reverse featured the number 24, signifying that the półtorak was equivalent to 1/24th of the German Thaler. It was thus one of the first coins to be issued in two different currency systems.

While ultimately withdrawn, the coin inspired the creation of Hungarian Poltura. It was also copied by mints in Sweden and Prussia. Other coins of similar design and purpose struck in Poland at the time included półgrosz (½ grosz), dwojak (2 groszes), trojak (3 groszes), czworak (4) and szóstak (6).


Szczerbiec (Polish pronunciation: [ˈʂt͡ʂɛr.bʲɛt͡s]) is the coronation sword that was used in crowning ceremonies of most Polish monarchs from 1320 to 1764. It is currently on display in the treasure vault of the Royal Wawel Castle in Kraków as the only preserved piece of the medieval Polish Crown Jewels. The sword is characterized by a hilt decorated with magical formulas, Christian symbols and floral patterns, as well as a narrow slit in the blade which holds a small shield with the coat of arms of Poland. Its name, derived from the Polish word szczerba meaning a gap, notch or chip, is sometimes rendered into English as "the Notched Sword" or "the Jagged Sword", although its blade has straight and smooth edges.

A legend links Szczerbiec with King Bolesław I the Brave who was said to have chipped the sword by hitting it against the Golden Gate, Kiev (now in Ukraine) during his intervention in the Kievan succession crisis in 1018. However, the Golden Gate was only constructed in 1037 and the sword is actually dated to the late 12th or 13th century. It was first used as a coronation sword by Władysław I the Elbow-high in 1320. Looted by Prussian troops in 1795, it changed hands several times during the 19th century until it was purchased in 1884 for the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The Soviet Union returned it to Poland in 1928. During World War II, Szczerbiec was evacuated to Canada and did not return to Kraków until 1959. In the 20th century, an image of the sword was adopted as a symbol by Polish nationalist and far-right movements.

Élisa Beetz-Charpentier

Élisa Beetz-Charpentier (born Jeanne Élisa Henriette Beetz; 1859 in Schaerbeek, Belgium – 1949 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France) was a French sculptor, medallist and painter.

Her second husband was Alexandre Charpentier and the witnesses at their wedding in 1908 were Claude Debussy and Auguste Rodin.According to the research of Polish heraldist Jerzy Michta published in 2017, the version of the coat of arms of Poland used since 1927, designed by artist Zygmunt Kamiński, was actually copied from a 1924 plaque by Elisa Beetz-Charpentier made in honor of Ignacy Paderewski.

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