|Escudo de dama, en campo de oro, cuatro palos de gules. Lleva por soportes dos "L" (doblemente leal) de oro coronadas del mismo metal. Cimerado con una corona real de oro y crestada con un murciélago de sable.
Valencia and the Balears were conquered by King Jaume I of Catalunya and Aragon during the first half of the 13th century. After the conquest the king gave them the status of independent kingdoms of whom he was also the king (but they were independent of Catalan or Aragonese laws and institutions). The arms of Valencia show those of Jaume I, as Count of Barcelona and king of Aragón.
The unique crowned letters L besides the shield were granted by King Jaume. The reason for the letters was that the city had been loyal twice to the King, hence twice a letter L and a crown for the king.
There are several possible explanations for the bat; one is that bats are simply quite common in the area. The second theory is that on October 9th, 1238, when Jaume I was about to enter the city, re-conquering it from the Moors, one bat landed on the top of his flag, and he interpreted it as a good sign. As he conquered the city, the bat was added to the arms.
Another, most likely explanation is that the bat seems to be a modification from the original dragoon on the helmet of Jaume I. The diamond shape of the shield is typical for the Catalonia and Valencia regions. The arms have not been changed since the first known official description dating from 1377.
A version from the 1990s without the laurel branches:
Use of the arms:
The arms in a 16th century manuscript
The arms in a 1679 manuscript
The arms in the Abadie albums
The arms in a 1930s album
The arms in a German album +/- 1910
The arms on a manhole cover (image from Facebook)
The arms on a manhole cover
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Literature : Information provided by the Valencia Tourist Office, info about the bat from Miguel Ángel Pons García