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Illinois State Seal

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

"State sovereignty,
national union"

The Illinois state seal identifies government buildings and is a centerpiece for the Illinois state flag. The history and emblems of the Illinois seal are described in this article.

Illinois State Seal


Facts on the Illinois 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 Illinois State Seal:

Illinois State Seal Facts
Fact 1: The first seal used was that of the Northwest Territories
Fact 2: Year of statehood for Illinois was 1818
Fact 3: New design adopted in 1819 by the first Illinois General Assembly
Fact 4: August 26, 1818 was the date when the first constitution was adopted in Kaskaskia in Randolph County
Fact 5: Redesigned in 1839 but 1868 is the year the current seal was adopted

Northwest Territories seal


Illinois & the Seal for the Territory of the United States Northwest of the River Ohio
The Territory of the United States Northwest of the River Ohio (the Old Northwest) covered more than 260,000 square miles and consisted of the modern states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, as well as northeastern Minnesota. The first recorded use of The seal of the Northwest Territory (the Old Northwest) was in a proclamation made on July 26, 1788. Congress passed legislation on May 8, 1792, that directed the U.S. Secretary of State to "provide proper seals for the several and respective public offices in the said Territories". The Great Illinois state seal was introduced in 1868 when the state was admitted to the Union.

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

The first version of the Illinois seal was essentially a duplicate of the Great Seal of the US
The eagle is still the strongest feature. It is perched on a rock with the banner depicting the motto of the state in its beak.
The eagle carries a shield in its talons. The shield depicts stars and stripes representing the original thirteen states of the Union.
The shield nestles on an olive branch that is a symbol of peace
The Illinois landscape of the image depicts a prairie with the sun rising in distant horizon
The Illinois Waterway system of rivers, lakes, and canals which provide a shipping connection from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi River is also represented in the seal
The state's seal was designed by Sharon Tyndale, Illinois' secretary of state, in 1868.
The Illinois seal is kept and used as required by the Constitution and laws of the state.

The Illinois Flyer of 1876
This is an Illinois flyer showing the 1876 design of the seal. The pictures demonstrate the importance of agriculture and the steamboats to the economy in the 1800's. Sailing boats were wind powered vessels that were unable to navigate the winding rivers of the interior of Illinois. The introduction of Steamboats in the early 1800's provided an excellent transportation system for the state of Illinois.


Illinois State Seal for Kids

Meaning & recent pictures of the Great Seal
"State sovereignty, national union" seal
Find the meaning of the Great State Seal
Meaning, History, Symbols and Origin for kids
Meaning, symbols, design, description and history
Interesting facts & picture of the Great State Seal
Official Nickname "Prairie State"
Meaning of the Seal for schools, kids and children

Illinois State Seal for Kids

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