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Jacob Kettler

Cornelius Lamspsins

Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad & Tobago Defence Force

Trinidad & Tobago Police Service






Columbus landed on and named Trinidad in 1498, and Spaniards settled the island a century later. Spanish colonizers largely wiped out the original inhabitants - Arawak and Carib Indians - and the survivors were gradually assimilated. Although it attracted French, free black, and other non-Spanish settlers, Trinidad remained under Spanish rule until the British captured it in 1797. During the colonial period, Trinidad's economy relied on large sugar and cocoa plantations.



Tobago was inhabited by Carib Indians. Columbus called the island Bella Forma when he sighted it. The island remained isolated from and unknown to Europeans for many decades until 1632 when Dutch merchants established a colony here.

Tobago's development was similar to other plantation islands in the Lesser Antilles and quite different from Trinidad. During the colonial period, French, Dutch, and British forces fought over possession of Tobago, and the island changed hands 22 times - more often than any other West Indies island. Britain took final possession of Tobago in 1803.


Trinidad and Tobago

The two islands of Trinidad and Tobago were incorporated into a single colony in 1888. Trinidad and Tobago achieved full independence on 31st of August 1962 and joined the British Commonwealth. Trinidad and Tobago became a republic on the 1st of August 1976.


Trinidad and Tobago is a unitary state, with a parliamentary democracy modeled after that of Great Britain. Although completely independent, Trinidad and Tobago acknowledged the British monarch as the figurehead chief of state from 1962 until 1976. In 1976 the country adopted a republican Constitution, replacing Queen Elizabeth with a president elected by Parliament. The general direction and control of the government rests with the cabinet, led by a prime minister and answerable to the bicameral Parliament.




In 1651 Jacob (James) Kettler (1610-1682), Duke of Courland (Latvia), obtained a grant of the island from King Charles I and established a settlement in the north of Tobago. During this time the islands main export goods were sugar, tobacco, cotton and tropical birds. During the Swedish-Polish war (1655-1660) Duke Jacob was captured and the colony was lost to the Dutch. The Peace of Oliva (near Danzig), ended this war and Tobago was regained for just a short period at the end of Jacob’s rule.

On Jacob’s death in 1682, his son, Friedrich Casimir, the next Duke was not interested in the island’s now dwindling export potential. He subsequently sold Tobago to British colonists.


Jacob Kettler bore as a Duke of Courland and Semgallen::


A.: ¼: 1&4: Argent, a lion Gules; 2&3: Azure, a deer issuant from the outside Or. And on an escutcheon Or, a kettlehook sable surrounding the crowned cypher SA (= Sigismund August, King of Poland 1548-’72) parted per pale with the wolfs’ jaw of Bathori (arms of Stefan Bathori, King of Poland 1575-’86)

C.: 1. Kettler; 2. A deer issuant Or (Semgallen); 3. A lion issuant Gules, crowned Or. (Livonia)

                                                                                                          (From: Siebmacher I. 7.)


In 1662 Cornelius Lampsins (1600 - 1669)  procured Letters Patent from Louis XIV making him the Baron of Tobago under the Crown of France. In this time Tobago was called Nieuw Walcheren (New Walcheren)


Photo St. Jacobskerk, Vlissingen

Achievement of Cornelius Lampsins [1]


At his death Cornelius Lampsins bore:


Arms:  ¼: 1. ¼: 1. Azure, a crowned paschal lamb, with a banner charged with the cypher C L (Lampsins); 2. Or, three leaves of shamrock Vert, 2 and 1 (Velders); 3. Argent, a chevron Gules, in chief a roundel Azure between two six-pointed stars Or, and in base a kneeling monk proper (Morales); 4. Argent, two fishes issuant from the sinister Azure (De Bult). 2. Azure, a unicorn rearing, Argent, manes hooves and horn Or (Schot). 3. Parted per fess wavy, in chief a whale proper the base of four waves Azure and Argent (Walcheren). 4. Or, St. Martin and the beggar, standi g on a grassy field, proper (St. Maarten). And an escutcheon of France ancient.

Crown: A baronial crown (new).

Order: The collar and jewel of the Order of St. Michel.

Supporters: Two crowned lambs, supporting a banner Azure charged with two rows of nine fleurs de lys Or.


This coat of arms is above the sepulchre of Cornelius Lampsins in the Church of St. James in Flushing. The coat of arms of St. Maarten is incorporated into the arms as Cornelius was the owner of the Isle of St. Maarten / St. Martin in the Caribbean as well. The arms of France ancient are the arms of the French West-Indian Company (1664-1674)


After being occupied for short periods by the Dutch and the French, Tobago was ceded by France to Britain in 1763 under the Treaty of Paris. It was captured by the French in 1781 and then recaptured by the British in 1793. The island was finally ceded to Britain in 1814 by the Treaty of Paris, becoming a Crown Colony in 1877 and in 1888 being amalgamated politically with Trinidad.


In the time of British Rule the royal achievement of Great Britain was also valid on Tobago. This is demonstrated by this seal of King George IV (1820-’30), attached to the will of Samuel Hall of Tobago, which shows the royal achievement of the time.

Seal of King George IV used in Tobago.

Coll. British Library [2]


The seal bears the Royal coat of arms which consists of the Royal shield bordered by a garter on which is written ‘HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE’(Shame to him who thinks ill of it), and this is topped by the Imperial crown. The English lion supports the garter from the left and the Scottish unicorn supports the right. Underneath is a banner which bears the Royal Motto ‘DIEU ET MON DROIT’ (God and my right). Around the edge of the seal is written ‘GEORGIUS QUARTUS DEI GRATIA BRITANNIARUM REX FIDEI DEFENSOR’ (George IV, By the Grace of God, King of the British and Defender of the Faith).


In 1816 the motto PULCHRIOR EVENIT (It arises more beautiful than ever) was given to the colony. This motto goes back to a jeton of king Louis XIV showing his arms on the obverse and a sun rising from a cloud on the reverse.

Jeton of King Louis XIV, 1654

Showing a sun rising from a cloud and the motto PULCHRIOR EVENIT

(Coll. Delcampe)


Almost exactly the same picture of the reverse of this jeton was on a button of the British Admiralty on Tobago made between 1838 -’42. It is supposed that this was the first badge of the colony. [3]


Photo Denis A. Darmanin


with sun rising from a cloud, motto and foul anchor of the British Admiralty, about 1840


On the flag adopted in 1880 however, there is a rising sun above the Island with a palmtree on the foreground  and a sailing vessel on the roads.[4] In base is the Louis XIV motto:


Badge of Tobago, 1880


Another badge, known from 1889, is on the seal of the House of Assembly of Tobago, established 1980:



Trinidad and Tobago



The badge of the crown-colony consisted of a picture of Port of Spain and mount El Tucouche (936 m.) with a frigate with the white ensign and a boat before the jetty. In base is the motto MISCERIQUE PROBAT POPULOS ET FOEDERA JUNGI, designed by Sir Ralph Abercromby (1734-1801), who took Trinidad from the Spanish crown in 1797. It is a verse from Virgil (Publius Vergilius Maro, 70-19 B.C.) who wrote in his “Aeneid” Book IV, line 112: ‘Miscerive probet populos, aut foedera iungi ’(He approved of the mingling of peoples and their being joined together by treaties).

It was adopted for the blue ensign of Trinidad in 1880 and was maintained for the Colony of Trinidad and Tobago in 1889.

Arms of Trinidad and Tobago, 1958-‘63


Placed on a shield the badge of Trinidad was adopted by Royal Warrant of the 13th of October 1958 as the first coat of arms of the colony. Because these arms were not very satisfactory from a heraldic point of view, a year after the proclamation of independence a new achievement was granted by Royal Warrant of 9th of August 1963. It is:


Arms.: Per chevron enhanced Sable and Gules, a chevronel enhanced Argent, between in chief two humming birds (Polytmus guainumbi – Trochilidae)  respectant Or, and in base the three ships of the fleet of Christopher Colombus, the Santa Maria, the Pinta and the Nina also Or, the sails set, proper.

Crest.: On a royal helmet guardant Or, lambrequined Argent and Gules, on a wreath of the colors, a palmtree proper and a steering-wheel Or.

Supporters.: D.: a scarlet ibis (Eudocimus ruber – Threskiornithidae) for Trinidad proper and S.: a cocrico (Ortalis ruficauda – Cracidae) for Tobago also proper.

Compartment: Two islands washed by the waves of the sea, all proper

Motto: TOGETHER WE ASPIRE, TOGETHER WE ACHIEVE in black lettering on an escroll Or.


                                                                                                         By R.W. 9th august 1963


Æ See illustration in the head of this essay


The adoption of a republican Constitution in 1976 did  not have any consequence for the achievement.


The Royal Arms


In colonial times the royal arms of the King of the United Kingdom was also valid in Trinidad and Tobago. It consisted of a quarterly of England, Scotland and Ireland and was crowned with the Crown of St Edward and surrounded by the strap of the Order of the Garter.

H.M. Governor of the Islands displayed a dark blue flag charged with the Royal Crest and the name of the colony on a yellow ribbon.



At the occasion of the gaining of independence and Queen Elizabeth II becoming its head of state, a royal flag was adopted which was blazoned the same as the arms of the state with the Royal cypher of Queen Elizabeth II in the middle:



This flag was abandoned when Trinidad and Tobago became a republic in 1976. It was replaced by the flag of the president of the Republic. This shows on a light blue cloth the achievement of the Republic surrounded by a yellow garland.



Trinidad & Tobago Defence Force



Ancient Achievement


New Achievement (about 2012)


Trinidad & Tobago Coast Guard


Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard 

officers cap badge


Trinidad & Tobago Air Guard






Trinidad & Tobago Police Service



Trinidad and Tobago police badge 1901-‘53


Present Trinidad and Tobago police badge


The ancient police badge of Trinidad and Tobago, used 1901-’53 consisted of a hexagram enclosing the royal crest and surrounded by a garland of oak crowned with the crown of St Edward.


The present police emblem of Trinidad and Tobago consists of a a hexagram enclosing a humming bird, crested with the arms of Trinidad & Tobago within a garland, and within a garland of oak..

Below is the name of the service on a blue ribbon.



Present Trinidad and Tobago police emblem in full color and with the motto



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© Hubert de Vries 2007.10.10. Updated 2010-02-02; 2012-04-13;

[1] http://www.sintjacobskerk.nl/rouwborden.htm

[2] http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/carviews/g/largeimage69768.html

[3] About this button the button collector Denis Darmanin remarks: The maker on the back of the button is listed as W & G BOGGETT & Co. ST. MARTINS LANE LONDON.  According to “Military Button Manufacturers from the London Directories 1800-1899” this maker started producing buttons from circa 1833-1836, and using this maker’s name in minor variations.  In his excellent works “Dating Buttons”, Warren Tice refers to the exact make as being from 1838-1842.

[4] For another badge of Tobago see: http://flagspot.net/flags/tt-tob.html


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