The Coat of Arms

After the Panamanian flag was adopted, the Interim Governing Board announced a competition for national artists to present designs for what would be the new nation's coat of arms. Among hundreds of models, the coat of arms designed by Nicolás Villalaz and painted by his brother Sebastián Villalaz was chosen. It was approved in 1904 and has been used officially ever since.

Description of the Coat of Arms:

  • It rests on a green field, a symbol of the vegetation. It has an ogival shape and is divided into three parts.
  • The center shows the Isthmus with its seas and sky, highlighting the moon rising above the waves as the sun begins to hide behind the mountain, which marks the solemn hour of our separation from Colombia.
  • The top portion is divided into two quarters: on the right-hand side, with a silver background, hang a sword and a rifle that symbolize a permanent abandonment of civil wars, the cause of our ruin; on the left-hand side, with a red background, a gleaming shovel and hoe lie crossed over each other, to symbolize work.
  • The bottom tip of the shield is also divided into two halves: the right-hand side, with a blue background, displays a cornucopia, emblem of wealth; the left-hand side, with a silver background, shows a winged wheel, symbol of progress.
  • A harpy eagle, emblem of sovereignty, extends its wings behind and over the coat of arms. Its head is turned to the left, and it grasps in its beak a silver ribbon, which hangs down to either side.
  • The ribbon is inscribed with the motto "Pro Mundi Beneficio," meaning "For the benefit of the world".
  • Nine golden stars arch above the eagle, representing the provinces in which the Republic is divided.
  • As decorative accessories, two national flags are draped on either side of the coat of arms and gathered at the bottom.

Meaning of the Coat of Arms:

  • It represents our glory, our heritage, and our heraldry.
  • The motto is very significant, as it not only describes the fact that Panama is opened wide to the service of the global community, but also characterizes our culture that is welcoming to all, especially to foreigners who live here as if it were their homeland, and to travelers just passing through.
  • The design symbolizes our independence from Colombia, work, and peace. The cornucopia, or horn of plenty, represents abundance, not only of fish, butterflies, and trees, but of worthy men and women with noble sentiments.