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Arms and Seal

Armed Forces



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The Arms and Seal


By letters patent of 14 March 1644 the four settlements of Portsmouth, Providence, Newport and  Warwick, founded by refugees from Massachusetts in 1636, were united under the name of Providence Plantations. The arms of the colony was a bundle of arrows tied with a ribbon. Above it was another ribbon with the words  AMOR VINCET OMNIA (Love Conquers All).[1]

In the earliest times there was a seal in common use in Providence for sealing deeds. This seal had the figure of an anchor. [2] It has been thought that the suggestion for the State arms may have come from this seal.

The second device, adopted in 1647, was as follows: “It is ordered that the seale of the province be an anchor”. [3]

In 1651 the provice was divided in two parts. By warrant of King Charles II of 8 July 1663 the parts were united again. The province received the name “Rhode Island and Providence Plantations”. On the seal cut for the province in 1664 the word “HOPE” was added.

The present arms of Rhode Island are a golden anchor on a blue field, and the motto thereof is the word Hope. At first it was described as “an anchor”,  giving no colors. Colors were assigned in 1882 for the first time. [4]



Different unofficial versions of different artistic views of the arms and seal are possible.



Armed Forces


Rhode Island State Area Command




Unit Arms



Shoulder Patch



Distinctive Unit Insignia


Arms: Azure, an anchor Or; on Gold scrolls above the shield the inscription "STATE OF RHODE ISLAND," and below the shield the motto "HOPE" in Blue letters.



The badge is of gold coloured metal and blue enamel, and 2.38 cm in height


The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for the State Staff and State Detachment, Rhode Island National Guard on 20 February 1931.  It was redesignated for Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, Rhode Island Army National Guard on 3 December 1970.  The insignia was redesignated effective 1 October 1982, for Headquarters, State Area Command, Rhode Island Army National Guard.


Shoulder Sleeve Insignia


Arms: Per pale, Argent and Azure, and anchor and a sword in saltire counterchanged; and a bordure Gules.

Approved 12 August 1993.  (TIOH Dwg. No. A-1-176)


The patch is 7.30 Í 6.99 cm., the scarlet border 0.32 cm wide.


  • White is the colour of the State flag of Rhode Island, recalling the white uniforms worn by the state's soldiers during the Revolutionary War. 
  • Blue refers to the importance of the sea to Rhode Island in all aspects of its civic and commercial history. 
  • The sword represents the National Guard and the U.S. Army. 
  • The anchor is adapted from the state flag of Rhode Island. 
  • Red signifies courage and sacrifice and with white and blue, refers to the flag of the United States.




Blazon: On a wreath of the colours, an ancor per pale Or.

Approved 9 January 1924

* The anchor refers to the seal of 1647




Rhode Island State Police



The RISP was founded in 1925 at the request of the state's General Assembly, and was modeled on the organization structure of the Pennsylvania State Police. Its first headquarters was in the Benefit Street Marine Corps Armory in Providence, which stationed the first twenty-three troopers and the Superintendent.



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© Hubert de Vries 2009.03.15

Updated 2011.07.16

[1] Rhode Island Colonial Records I, 115

[2] Early Records of providence, vol. I, pp. 29, 40, 42, 52

[3] Rhode Island Colonial Records, I. p. 151

[4] Zieber, Eugene: Heraldry in America. Published by the Department of Heraldry of the Bailey, Banks and Biddle Company. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1895. Smith, Whitney: The Flag Book of the United States.  

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