Archive for November 2008

Vergara Coat of Arms

Since we started with heraldry, I figured we continued with it 🙂

In this entry, I’ll talk a little about my maternal arms, those of my Vergara line of Chile. The blazon is:

Or an oak tree Vert fructed Or a wolf passant chained to its bark Sable, a bordure Gules charged with eight saltorels Or

The information I have has come from my friend and learned herald Maj. José Juan Carrión Rangel when I reached out to him asking about my maternal arms.

Let’s start with the bordure. Unfortunately, the sources I’ve found give contradicting reasons as to why this additament was added to the arms. Many say that it was an additament added by those who participated in the battle of Navas de Tolosa in 1212. Others say that it was for another battle on November 30 (St. Andrew’s feast) in 1227 for the capture of the city of Baeza by troops under king Fernando III of Castille (more accurate).

Though I’m not sure of the exact reason the bordure was added, because of a battle or because someone added steel bars to strengthen his wooden shield, it is another piece of information that may eventually be ascertained through genealogical research.

On to the tree, specifally the *oak* tree. In the towns of the old Basque Country, the central plaza had an old oak tree in front of which the townsfolk would meet. This was a tradition that dates back to the pre-Christianization of the peninsula. The oak tree came to symbolize the town’s authority and the power wielded by the local leaders. This is the reason why oak trees feature so prominantly in the arms of Basque families.

Finally, we have the wolf chained. The wolf is one of the most common animals used as a charge in Spanish heraldry and especially in Basque heraldry. The symbolism of the chained wolf can be that the armiger in question had managed to subdue the main threat to the village. Wolves used to be a huge problem to the farmers and severely affected a town’s livelyhood. Another meaning to this symbolism can be a victory over the Roman Empire, the wolf or “lupus” representing Rome.

Below is a sampling of Basque arms using the same symbolism as those of my maternal arms.