How did coats of arm originate?

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Coats of arms developed from the designs used on the coats and shields of knights for identification during battle.

Perhaps you know a family that has a coat of arms—a special emblem or design that distinguishes that particular family.

In the Middle Ages knights wore suits of armor that covered their bodies from head to toe.  The armor made it difficult to tell friend from foe in battle, so knights began wearing loose coats over their armor.

They decorated their coats and shields with designs so they could identify each other.  People began calling the coat a knight wore a ‘‘coat of arms.’  Eventually, the design on the coat or arm became the distinguishing sign of the knight and of his family.

When gunpowder and bullets appeared on the battlefield the knight and his armor became useless.  Coats of arms were no longer needed as a means of recognition.  But some people still like the distinction of having their own coat of arms to show which family they belong to.–Dick Rogers

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