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Civic heraldry of the United Kingdom
SHETLAND ISLANDS COUNCIL
Addition : 1976 Zetland County Council; Lerwick Burgh; Districts of Bressay, Burra Isle, Delting, Dunrossness, Fetlar, Gulberwick & Quarff, Nesting & Lunnasting, Northmavine, Sandsting & Aithsting, Tingvall, Unst, Walls & Sandness, Whalsey & Skerries, Yell
Azure, a base invected barry Argent and Sable, the alternate party lines being engrailed and plain, a dragon ship Or, the sail charged with a raven Proper, oars in action Or, flag and mast Gules.
Above the Shield is placed a coronet appropriate to a statutory Islands Area, videlicet:- a circlet richly chased, from which are issuant four dolphins two and two respectant naiant embowed (two visible) Or; and on a Compartment below the Shield, with this Motto "Með Lögum Skal Land Byggja", are set for Supporters dexter, a Shetland pony Proper, and sinister, a unicorn Argent, armed, maned and unguled Or, and gorged with a collar Gules, from which is pendant an oval badge Azure, fimbriated Or, charged with a saltire Argent.
The arms were granted on June 17, 1975.
The blue shield with a Viking warship at sea recalls the old link with the Nordic countries and Shetland's reliance on the sea. The blue and gold colours were taken from the old Earldom of Orkney, as the Shetland islands belonged to this Earldom during the Norse era.
The raven is taken from the crest of the Burgh of Lerwick.
The supporters are a well known Shetland Pony and the unicorn with the badge of Scotland.
The motto 'Með lögum skal land byggja' is taken from the Icelandic Njáls Saga and is in old Norse, meaning 'By law shall the land be built up'. The motto was already used by the Zetland County Council.
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© since 1995, Heraldry of the World, Ralf Hartemink
Literature : Information leaflet provided by the Shetland Islands Council