How it all started ...
In 1957, the Commissioner Major Alan H. Donald put forward a proposal for a Coat of Arms for the Cayman Islands. This resolution for the Cayman Islands National ‘Arms’ was passed on 3 April 1957 by the local Legislative Assembly of Justices and Vestry.
On 11 April 1957, Government notice 33/57 was issued requesting all interested Caymanians who had ideas on the subject of the preparation of a Coat of Arms for the Cayman Islands to submit ideas with illustrations.
The Commissioner sought the help of The Reverend Arthur W Saunders to assist with the creation of our Coat of Arms. Reverend Saunders was an Englishman stationed in Jamaica with the Methodist Church in St Lucea. He was also a member of the Heraldry Society and was associated with the Coat of Arms for the proposed West Indies Federation. James Ford, formerly of the Yacht Club/Ports of Call now The Wharf, submitted a design which assisted in the formation of the present Coat of Arms for the Cayman Islands.
On 5 February 1958, the Commissioner formally moved a motion to accept exhibit A as the desired design of the Cayman Islands Coat of Arms. The motion was seconded by Vestryman Alfred Lawrence Thompson was serving as a representative of Prospect.
The Royal Warrant signed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 14 May 1958 assigned these ‘Armorial Ensigns’.
The main elements of the Cayman Islands official Coat of Arms are a shield, a crested helm and the motto. A golden lion, representing Great Britain, is found at the top of the shield, on a red background. Three green stars, set in the shield, symbolise these Islands. The stars rest on blue and white waves, which represent the Caribbean Sea. Above the shield is a green turtle (heralding Cayman’s seafaring history). It sits on a blue and white wreath which has come to symbolise the seafaring and thatch-rope industries.
Behind the turtle is a pineapple, which is indicative of the traditional ties to Jamaica. The Cayman Islands’ motto, He Hath Founded It Upon the Seas, is written on a scroll below the shield. This verse, Psalms 24:2, acknowledges Cayman’s Christian heritage, which is also constitutionally recognised.
The Cayman Islands flag features the British Union Jack in its upper left-hand corner, and the Cayman Islands Coat of Arms, encircled in a white disc, at the right-centre of the blue field. The maritime ensign is similar, but features a red field. Cayman-registered vessels should fly the red Cayman ensign internationally. Foreign vessels in Cayman waters should also fly this flag as a courtesy.
Watch the video below to learn more.
Learn more and watch the Coat of Arms come to life
The Cayman Islands Government Office in the UK has produced a short video to tell the story of the Cayman Islands Coat of Arms. This is in celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the grant of the Coat of Arms by Her Majesty the Queen on 14 May 1958. Learn about the story of the Cayman Islands and why this Coat of Arms is so prominent, particularly regarding the importance of Cayman's relationship with the UK.