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Florida State Seal

Seal and Nickname

The Florida State Seal
The Great Seal of the State of Florida serves as a symbol of authenticity which verifies that government documents and papers of state are official and legal in the "Sunshine State". The Florida 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 Florida state seal:

"In God we trust"

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

Florida State Seal


Facts on the Florida 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 Florida State Seal:

Florida State Seal Facts
Fact 1: First version adopted on May 25, 1861
Fact 2: Original version was first revised in 1868
Fact 3: Several modifications were made
Fact 4: Last update was in 1970

Abraham Lincoln


History of 1861 version of the Florida State Seal

Florida Seal 1861

The 1861 first version of the State Seal of Florida featured a map of the state with boats off the Gulf Coast.

A picture of the Goddess of Liberty sits in the foreground with barrels and wooden crates at her feet.

She sits near a palm tree and a broadleaf tree. Liberty holds a pole upon top of which is a liberty cap. The pileus, or Phrygian cap was said to be worn in ancient Rome by slaves who had won their freedom.

A shield bearing the emblem of the US rests next to her.

This version of the Florida seal was replaced in 1868.


History of 1868 version of the Florida State Seal

Florida was a part of the Confederate States of America from the beginning of the Civil War (1861-1865). The state of Florida returned to Union control on June 25, 1868.

The 1861 Forida seal design was then revised in the State Constitution of 1868. The Legislature sent to Governor Harrison Reed a Joint Resolution on August 6, 1868 specifying "That a Seal of the size of the American silver dollar, having in the center thereof a view of the sun's rays over a high land in the distance, a cocoa tree, a steamboat on water, and an Indian female scattering flowers in the foreground, encircled by the words, 'Great Seal of the State of Florida: In God We Trust', be and the same is hereby adopted as the Great Seal of the State of Florida."

1868 version of the Florida State Seal

The 1868 Florida seal displayed several inaccuracies. The native american woman is wearing the clothes of a Great Plains Native American instead of a Seminole.  Another effort, shown clearly in the banner below, shows a feather headdress on the lady, but only Native Indian males wore headdresses. Mountains are depicted in the background - but there are no mountains in Florida. The cocoa tree looks more like a coconut palm tree.

The Florida Banner of 1876
This is the 1876 design of the seal is shown in the shield on the Florida banner depicting the Evergreen State and the 'Capitol Tallahassee' and the Native American woman is clearly depicted wearing a male headdress.

Florida Banner

Description, Symbols, Icons and Emblems of the modern Florida State Seal
Due to the early inaccuracies there have been several versions of the Florida State seal.  In 1970, more than 100 years after the first specifications were made, the Florida Legislature changed the "cocoa tree" to the "Sabal palmetto palm" which had been designated as the State Tree in 1953. The description and meaning of the symbols, icons and emblems  of the current Florida State seal are as follows:

The "Sabal palmetto palm" features strongly in the Florida seal image

Behind the tree, the sun is breaking the horizon, with rays of sunlight extending into the sky

The picture depicts a Native American woman wearing the clothes of the Seminole tribe

The Seminole woman is spreading hibiscus flowers. (N.B. The Orange blossom (Citrus sinensis) was designated the State flower in 1909)

The steamboat was extremely important to Florida. Sailing boats were deep keeled, wind powered vessels that were unable to navigate the winding, shallow rivers of the interior of the state. The introduction of Steamboats in the early 1800's made the exploration and development of the interior possible. Steamboats were used for both commercial and recreational purposes

The Florida state seal is kept and used as required by the Constitution and laws of the state.

Florida State Seal for Kids

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Florida State Seal for Kids

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