On the Zambian coat of arms, most of the contents on the shield, including its national emblem (eagle), were also part of the arms of Northern Rhodesia which dates to 1927.
In due course, big changes were made, such as on the Zambia coat of arms, the eagle is in the upper part of the shield, forming the crest, above a crossed pick and hoe.
The Zambian coat of arms was adopted on the 24th October 1964 when the Republic of Zambia attained its independence. This coat of arms is an adaptation of the arms of the Colony of Northern Rhodesia.
Some people believed that the fish on the arms was a symbol of colonial oppression.
The African fish eagle was also misinterpreted by some sections of the colonial community because the coat of arms had depicted an eagle (symbol of freedom) with a dead fish.
From historical times up to modern times, the eagle has been a very prominent feature on the coats of arms of different nations. Several nations have taken the eagle as a national emblem. Some of the countries are: the United States of America (USA), Russia, Ghana (the coat of arms has two eagles), Zambia, Egypt, Mexico and German.
The arms consist of a shield with black and white wavy lines running vertically, representing the Victoria Falls and the Zambezi River, where the country got its name.
The hoe and the pick above the shield represent the labor of the people of Zambia in agriculture and mining. The hoe stands for the agriculture industry and the pick for the mining industry, the country's economic backbone and the most dominant industries.
The eagle represents the freedom of Zambia and the ability of the country to rise above its problems, (and the African fish eagle is also the national emblem of Zambia).
The country's motto is 'One Zambia, One Nation', emphasizing the need for unity in a country with about 70 ethnic groups.
The two supporters of the shield, a man and a woman represent the common man and woman of the nation, the symbol of the African family. The man is dressed in a bush shirt and a pair of shorts, which represents the attire of a Zambian worker. The woman is in traditional African dress.
The maize cob, the headgear (or the shaft of a mine), and a zebra imposed on the national color, green, stands for the natural resources of the country:
The Zambian Coat of Arms is by law defined as 'the flag' or in short, the National Flag of the country. The Coat of Arms has also been referred to in the legislation as the Armorial Ensigns of Zambia.
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