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California State Seal

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The California State Seal
The Great Seal of the State of California seal serves as a symbol of authenticity which verifies that government documents and papers of state are official and legal in the "Golden State". The California state seal is also an emblem that is representative of the state's origins, history, character and ideals. The following motto, reflecting the spirit of the state is also incorporated in the California state seal:

"Eureka - I have found it!"

The California state seal identifies government buildings and officials and the image of the bear is also a centerpiece for the California state flag. The symbolism, history and emblems of the seal are described in this article with fast facts and information.

California State Seal


Facts on the California State Seal
The men who designed the Great State seals were educated in the classics and were knowledgeable of art history and symbolism of heraldry. Fast, fun facts about the history and design of the California State Seal:

California State Seal Facts
Fact 1: First adopted in 1849

Fact 2: Designer: Major R. S. Garnett of the US Army although he asked a clerk called Caleb Lyon to take credit for the design

Fact 3: Minor changes in 1883 and 1891
Fact 4: Standardized in 1937

George Washington


Description, Symbols, Icons and Emblems of the California State Seal
The description and meaning of the symbols, icons and emblems are as follows:

The images symbolize many of the key industries, climate & natural riches found in California
The motto "Eureka" is surrounded by an arc of 31 stars representing the number of states of which the union consisted upon the admission of California
Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom and sponsor of arts, trade, and defense dominates
Minerva symbolizes California's direct rise to statehood without first having been a territory - the political birth of the State of California
The shield held by Minerva displayed the head of the gorgon Medusa, who was slain by Perseus,  with her petrifying power.

In Greek mythology Minerva changed the beautiful locks of Medusa to snakes with yellow wings on her head. The current representation of the head of Medusa on the shield is somewhat unclear.

Head of Medusa

Minerva holds a shield and a spear. A grizzly bear sits her feet representing wildlife in California
A bunch of grapes represents the vineyards, Californian wine and its agricultural richness is also represented in the sheath of grain
In heraldry grapes symbolize liberality, felicity, and peace and is associated with wine-making and abundance
The beauty of the landscape and the mountains of the Sierra Nevada are depicted in the image
The temperate climate of California is also conveyed by the picture and the sailing ships, represent the state's economic power
The miner at work with his tools and equipment represent the rich ores and minerals and the Californian gold rush
The Great seal of California is kept and used as required by the Constitution and laws of the state.

The California Seal of 1876
This is the 1876 design of the California seal showing Minerva surrounded by many elements of today's emblems and the importance of agriculture and mining to the economy in the late 1800's.


The Meaning of the Motto on the California State Seal
The meaning of the motto on the Seal "Eureka" alludes to the famous expression attributed to Archimedes (c. 287 BC c. 212 BC) who shouted "Eureka!" when discovered the way to measure the density of an object, and whether, or not, it was made of gold. The California motto "Eureka" refers to the discovery of gold near Sutter's Mill on January 24, 1848 and the beginning of the Californian gold rush. For additional facts refer to California Republic Timeline.

California State Seal for Kids

Meaning & recent pictures of the Great Seal
"I have found it" - California motto
Find The Meaning of the motto on the Seal
Meaning, History, Symbols and Origin for kids
Meaning, origin and history
Interesting facts & picture of the Great State Seal
Official Nickname "Golden State"
Meaning of the Seal for schools, kids and children

California State Seal for Kids

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