Biržai

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Coat of arms (crest) of Biržai
BIRŽAI

Country : Lithuania
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County : Panevėžys
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Origin/meaning

Biržai was the main possession of the Radvila (also known as Radevils, Radziwill) family, who acquired in 1547 the title of Prince as well as new arms, a black eagle with their old arms (three horns) as a breast shield.
Biržai became the residence of a branch of the Radvila family who named themselves Princes of Biržai and who initiated the city rights, which were granted on March 9, 1589. The arms were granted on the same day and showed the black eagle on a silver banner in a field of gold. The laurel branch around the shield was not officially granted but it was shown on the original document.

In 1642 the arms were changed, with the addition of the old Radvila arms as a breast shield. The single eagle was not clearly recognised as the Radvila arms. A little later this shield was replaced by the letters S T for Grand Duke Sigismund who had granted the city rights.

In 1792 the arms were replaced by the arms of Kėdainiai by Grand Duke Stanislaus Augustus. Kedainiai was another possession of the Radvila family, and for some reason Biržai was granted the same arms. The city, however continued to use the old arms until 1840. After the new independence of Lithuania in the early 20th century the city adopted the Kedainiai arms in a new design as its own, see below.

The old arms were finally restored in 1968, but not clearly described until 1989. Finally the arms were granted on November 6, 1997 by the new Lithuanian government.

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Literature: Rimsa, 1998


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