by Joseph McMillan
Originally prepared for Flags of the World

Alabama Banner Photo

The state coat of arms of Alabama was adopted by the state legislature in 1939 and is blazoned in Section 1-2-2 of the Code of Alabama as: "arms: quarterly, the first azure three fleur de lis or (for France); second quarterly first and fourth gules a tower triple towered or, second and third argent a lion rampant gules (for Spain); third azure a saltire argent and gules over all a cross of the last fimbriated of the second (for Great Britain); fourth gules of a saltire azure, fimbriated argent 13 mullets of the last (for the Confederacy); at center in escutcheon chief azure paly argent and gules 13 (for United States) arms supported by two American eagles displayed. Crest: A full rigged ship proper." 

Section 1-2-1 explains the significance of the coat of arms as representing "the flags of four of the five nations which have at various times held sovereignty over a part or the whole of what is now the state of Alabama: Spain, France, Great Britain and the Confederacy. The union binding these flags shall be the shield of the United States. . . . The crest of the coat of arms shall be a ship representing the 'Badine' which brought the French colonists who established the first permanent white settlements in the state. Beneath the shield there shall be a scroll containing the sentence in Latin: Audemus jura nostra defendere, the English interpretation of which is 'We Dare Maintain Our Rights.'"