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The arms were officially granted in 1930.
Kärnten (Carinthia) was formed in 976 as a separate Duchy. Prior to 976 the area belonged to Bayern. In 1286 Kärnten became part of Tirol, in 1335 part of Austria.
The oldest known arms for Kärnten showed a black panther, derived from the arms of the Sponheim family, the first Dukes of Kärnten. The present arms appear in 1237 in a seal of Ulrich III. The arms have not changed ever since. The helmet, crest and mantling were also derived from the ducal arms.
The meaning of the arms, however, is not known.
The arms as used in the 19th century
The arms were used in 2013 by the anti-EU BZÖ party in a cartoon, where the lions of Carinthia sniff and eat the EU stars:
Cartoon 2013 (from Heraldica Disputationes 18(2013)xlvii)
Literature : Gall, 1996