European settlement in Nova Scotia was established in 1605. The French, led
by Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Monts established the first capital for the colony
Acadia at Port Royal.
The arms of de
Pierre Dugua Sieur de Monts
Arms: Gules, a barrulet Or between a crescent in
chief and a mullet reversed in base Argent
Motto: Dabit Deus his quoque finem (God
shall also give an end to these toils) from the Aeneid, book I.1.199.
than a few trading posts around the province, for the next seventy-five
years, Port Royal was virtually the only European settlement in Acadia. Port
Royal remained the capital of Acadia and later Nova Scotia for almost 150
years, prior to the founding of Halifax in 1749.
Port Royal, 1609
From Lescarbot’s Map
upper left corner the arms of King Henry IV of France and in the upper right
corner the arms of Jean de Biencourt de Poutrincourt, lieutenant-governor of Acadia.
In about 1620
Charles I of England and Scotland sent a group of Scotsmen to found a colony
in Acadia with the name of New Scotland or Nova Scotia. From 1629-‘32, Nova
Scotia briefly became a Scottish colony. Sir William Alexander of Menstrie Castle, Scotland
claimed mainland Nova Scotia and settled at Port Royal, while Ochiltree
claimed Île Royale (present-day Cape
and settled at Baleine, Nova Scotia.
Arms of Willam
Alexander 1st earl of Stirling Viscount Canada (1597-1640)
Copy of original in the
records of Lyons Court, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Arms: Quarterly: 1&4: Per pale Argent and Sable
a chevron and a crescent in base counterchanged (Alexander); 2&3: Or, a
lymphad Sable between three crosses crosslet bottony fitchée Gules 2&1.
(Stirling). In Nombril point Argent, a cross saltire Azure charged with and
escutcheon of Scotland.
Crown: Coronet of an earl
Crest: On a helmet to the dexter lambrequined Gules
and Argent, a beaver rampant proper.
Supporters: Dexter an
Indian armed with an arrow and
sinister a mermaid both proper.
Motto: PER MARE PER TERRAM (By Sea, By Land)
The escutcheon is according all the patens of Nova
Scotian baronets issued by King Charles I, prior to the year 1629, that “the
baronets and their heirs male should as an addition of honour to their
armorial ensigns, bear, either on a canton, or inescuctecheon, at their
options, the ensign of Novan Scotia, being “argent,
a cross of St Andrew azure, charged with and inescocheon of the royal arms of
were three battles between the Scottish and the French: the Raid on St. John
(1632), the Siege of Baleine (1629) as well as Siege of Cap de Sable (present-day
Port La Tour, Nova Scotia) (1630). Nova Scotia was returned to France through
a treaty. The French then established Fort Ste. Marie de Grace as the capital
on the LaHave River before re-establishing Port Royal.
French quickly defeated the Scottish at Baleine and established settlements
on Île Royale at present-day Englishtown (1629) and St. Peter's (1630). These
two settlements remained the only settlements on the island until they were
abandoned by Nicolas Denys in 1659. Île Royale then remained without European
occupants for more than fifty years until the communities were re-established
when Louisbourg was established in 1713.
Conquest of Acadia, the English made six attempts to conquer it by defeating the
capital. They finally defeated the French in the Siege of Port Royal in 1710.
In that year Port Royal was renamed Annapolis Royal in honour of Queen Anne
of Great Britain. It was not until the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, however,
that the French finally conceded Acadia to the British Crown. Over the
following fifty years, the French and their allies made six unsuccessful
military attempts to regain the capital.
Royal Arms for each of the ten Provinces, those for Nova Scotia are the
oldest in origin. With the sole exception of the unquartered arms of
Scotland, used upon certain occasions, those of Nova Scotia, in their present
form, are the most ancient arms of public authority in any of Her Majesty’s
realms or territories. They were granted c. 1625 by Charles I of Scotland and
England in connection with the plan of the statesman and poet, Sir William
Alexander, Earl of Stirling and Viscount Canada, for the colonization of Nova
Scotia.  The
blazon is as follows:
Arms: Argent, a cross of Saint Andrew
Azure charged with an escutcheon of the Royal Arms of Scotland.
Crest: On a wreath of the colours, a
branch of laurel and a thistle issuing from two hands conjoined, the one
being armed and the other naked all Proper.
Supporters: Dexter, A Unicorn Argent armed,
crined and unguled Or, and crowned with the Imperial Crown proper, and gorged
with a coronet composed of crosses patee and fleurs-de-lis, a chain affixed
thereto passing through the forelegs and reflexed over the back, Gold;
Sinister, A savage holding in the exterior hand an arrow.
Over the crest MUNIT HAEC ET
ALTERA VINCIT. (Some
Fortify, Others Triumph).
Æ See illustration in the head of
arms of Nova Scotia have not, however, always enjoyed the undisputed place of
honour and distinction which they do today.
Nova Scotia had been ceded by France in 1713, the royal arms of France must
have been abandoned. The arms of the
time of William Alexander apparently were not restored or were even lost or
forgotten. Instead the royal achievement of Great Britain was displayed in
the colony. This came on the reverse of the Great Seals Deputed (1730-1879) and
also on proclamations and government publications.
of King George II
On a publication of the
Council Chamber, Halifax, 3rd January
Province House in Halifax, constructed 1811-’19 the royal achievement of King George III is
on the tympanon of the facade. In this building the Nova Scotia Legislature
has met every year since its opening.
Facade of the
Provice House of Halifax
In 1868 a
curious situation arose. In that year a Royal Warrant of Queen Victoria
assigned arms for use in each of the four provinces which in 1867 had united
to form the Dominion of Canada. For Ontario, New Brunswick and Quebec, this
action was most appropriate.[...] For Nova Scotians this Warrant meant the
displacing of Ensigns of Public Authority of some 243 years standing, by a
completely new coat of arms: Or, on a fess wavy Azure between three thistles
Proper, a salmon naiant Argent.
seems to be the only explanation as to how this could have come about,
particularly in view of the very considerable knowledge of, and real sympathy
for, matters Scottish on the part of Victoria. At length, the whole question
was rectified by a further Royal Warrant of George V, date 19th January,
1929, which annulled that of 1868 as far as Nova Scotia was concerned, and
restored the seventeent century armorial bearings as the Ensigns of Public
Authority of himself and his successors in and for that province. 
The House of Assembly Crest
Speaker of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly and branches of the Speaker’s administration,
such as Select Comittees and the legislative Library, are identified by the
House of Assembly Crest.
crest is derived from the Shield of arms for the province with the addition
of St. Edward’s crown placed at the top of the shield. It is this crown which
appears in many items of contemporary use throughout Great Britain and the
Commonwealth as part of the Royal insignia chosen by Her majesty, Queen
historic links between Nova Scotia and
Great Britain are remembered in the use of the House of Assembly Crest on
stationary, House of Assembly publications and Select Committee reports. 
seals of Nova Scotia date from the beginning of the 17th century and should
have been made for Sir William Alexander as a Lieutenant of Justice and
Admiralty of New Scotland as well as for the Admiraty of New Scotland itself.
The last seal, dated 18.March 1628, is
interesting because there was a ship on it displaying the arms and the
supporters of Nova Scotia. No dies or impressions of these seals have
seals were made in the time of George II, George III, William IV and
Victoria. These had an european merchant trading with an indian on the
obverse and the royal British achievement on the reverse. These pictures were
combined on the seals of William IV and Victoria. When a coat of arms for
Nova Scotia was adopted in 1868 the royal achievement disappeared from the
seal and was replaced by the arms of Great Britain and Ireland and of Nova
present Seal of Nova Scotia, in use from 1930 has as its design the complete
achievement of the Province - without the motto - and the legend: PROVINCE OF NOVA
of Arms of Nova Scotia 12.10.1929
Signed on behalf of His Majesty the King
George the Fifth by the Grace of God of Great Britain
Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas King Defender of the faith,
Emperor of India To Our Right Trusty and Well-Beloved Cousin and Counselor
Edmund Bernard, Viscount Fitz Alan of Derwent, Knight of Our Most Noble Order
of the Garter, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, Companion of
the Distinguished Service Order, Deputy of Our Right Trusty and Right
Entirely beloved Cousin Bernhard Marmaduke, Duke of Norfolk Earl Marshall and
Our Hereditary Marshall of England Greeting: Whereas by Warrant under the
Royal Signet and Sign Manual of het late Majesty Queen Victoria bearing date
the twenty-sixth day of May One thousand eight hundred and sixty-eight
certain Armorial Ensigns were granted and assigned to The Province of Nova
Scotia and to the other Provinces of the Dominion of Canada. And whereas it
appears that prior to the issue of the said Royal Warrant Armorial Bearings
had been recorded in or about the year One thousand six hundred and
twenty-five in the Office of Our Lyon King of Arms in Scotland. Know Ye
therefore that We of Our Princely Grace and Special Favour do hereby cancel
and annul the said Royal Warrant dated the twenty-sixth day of May One
thousand eight hundred and sixty-eight in so far as it relates to the
Armorial Ensigns of the Province of Nova Scotia and in substitution therefor
have granted and confirmed and by these Presents do grant and confirm the
Armorial Bearings following for the said Province of Nova Scotia that is to
“Argent a Cross of St. Andrew Azure
charged with an escutcheon of the Royal Arms of Scotland,” with the Crest on
a wreath of the Colours “A branch of laurel and a thistle issuing from two
hands conjoined the one being armed and the other naked all proper,” And for
Supporters, On the dexter “An Unicorn
argent armed crined and unguled Or, and crowned with the Imperial Crown
proper, and gorged with a Coronet composed of crosses patee and
fleurs-de-lis, a chain affixed thereto passing through the fore legs and
reflexed over the back Gold.” And on the sinister “A Savage holding in the
exterior hand an arrow” with the Motto “Munit haec et altera vincit”— as the same
are in the painting hereunto annexed more plainly depicted, to be borne for
the said Province of Nova Scotia upon Seals Shields Banners or otherwise
according to the Laws of Arms.
Our Will and Pleasure therefore is that
you Edmund Bernard Viscount Fitz Alan of Derwent, Deputy to Our said Earl
Marshal to whom the cognizance of matters of this nature doth properly belong
do require and command that this Our Concession and Declaration be recorded
in Our College of Arms in order that Our Officers of Arms and all other
public Functionaries whom it may concern may take full notice and have
knowledge thereof. And for so doing this shall be your Warrant.
Given at Our Court at
Saint James’s this Nineteenth day of January One thousand nine hundred and
twenty-nine in the Nineteenth year of Our Reign.
By His Majesty’s Command
Recorded in the College
of Arms London pursuant to a Warrant from the Deputy to the Earl Marshal of
(Signed) Algar Howard
Herald and Registrar
Extracted from the records of the
College of Arms London
12 October 1929.
© Hubert de
Arthur Charles: The Book of Public Arms. A Complete Encyclopaedia of all Royal,
Territorial, Municipial, Corporate Official and Impersonal Arms. London T.C.
& E.C. Jack 67 Long Acre W.C. and Edinburgh, 1915. P. 568.
 Certainly in existence on 28th May, 1625, vide the Patent of Sir Robert Gordon,
the first Baronet of Nova Scotia. The Register of Arms in Scotland, 1621-72, is
missing. The Arms of Nova Scotia were re-entered in the Lyon Register between
1805 and 1810 (entry undated).
 Text printed in Stewart, J.A.: The Arms of
Nova Scotia, The Queen’s Printer, Nova Scotia, 1955, Appendix.
 Swan, Conrad: The
Canadian Arms of Dominion and Sovereignty. In: Recueil du Ve Congrès
International des Sciences Généalogique et Héraldique à Stockholm. Stockholm, 1960 pp. 256-258. Eve, Elizabeth:
Nova Scotia Symbols. 1997.
 An extensive article about the seals of Nova
Scotia in: Swan, Conrad: Canada, Symbols
of Sovereignty. Toronto, 1977. Pp. 124- 33