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Croatian coat of arms

The Croatian coat of arms consists of six smaller coat of arms, where five of them crown the main coat, the so-called šahovnica (checkerboard or chequy).

The šahovnica consists of 13 red and 12 silver (white) fields. The red/white checkerboard has been a symbol of Croatian kings since at least the 10th century, ranging in size from 3×3 to 8×8, but most commonly 5×5, like the current coat.

The oldest source showing this coat is a genealogy of the Habsburger, dated from 1512 to 1518. Maybe it is of an even older origin. 1525 it was used on a votive medal.

The crowning coats are added in 1991, and represent the historical regions, from which Croatia originated. They are, from left to right:

Unlike the majority of countries, symbols of Croatian identity are more frequently derived from it's coat than from Croatian flag.

The issue of the coat-of-arms became a political dispute during the 1990's:

Some right-winger Croats claimed that the colour of the top left square is a mark of whether Croatia is independent or ruled by foreigners, white or red respectively. However, this is a red herring because only the short-lived Nazi puppet state "Independent State of Croatia" had the upper left square white with such an intent. Croatia's currently independent and the first square is red.

Some groups representing Holocaust survivors of the Ustaša WWII regime claimed the symbol had racist connotations. Some British groups were particularly vociferous during the 1996 European Soccer (UEFA) Championship in England. This is another red herring since the same symbols represented Croatia much before the Second World War.

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