North Carolina Flag

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North Carolina State Seal

Seal and Nickname

The North Carolina State Seal
The Great Seal of the State of North Carolina State serves as a symbol of authenticity which verifies that government documents and papers of state are official and legal in the "Tar Heel State". The North Carolina 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 North Carolina state seal is expressed in Latin as "Esse quam videri" which means:

"To be, rather than to seem"

The North Carolina state seal identifies government buildings and officials. The symbolism, history and emblems of the North Carolina seal are described in this article.

North Carolina State Seal


Facts on the North Carolina 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 North Carolina State Seal:

North Carolina State Seal Facts
Fact 1: First North Carolina seal used as far back as 1663 in colonial times during the government of Albemarle
Fact 2: The date of May 20, 1775, refers to the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence
Fact 3: The date of April 12, 1776, the date of the Halifax Resolves
Fact 4: Adopted 1871 (most recent change in 1984)

George Washington


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

The central female figures on the North Carolina State seal depict the Lady Liberty and Plenty 
The Lady Liberty holds a staff topped by a liberty cap. The red stocking cap (the pileus, or Phrygian cap) was said to be worn in ancient Rome by slaves who had won their freedom.
The Lady Liberty holds a scroll displaying the word "Constitution" in her right hand.

The figure of Plenty is probably a reference to Ceres, the Roman goddess agriculture and abundance. Ceres, like Plenty, holds a cornucopia, the horn of plenty,  filled with harvested produce symbolizing abundance.  Plenty holds three heads of grain in her right hand

A side view of a three-masted ship is seen sailing on the ocean
The rolling hills and mountains of the landscape are also depicted
The North Carolina seal is kept and used as required by the Constitution and laws of the state.

The North Carolina Seal of 1876
This is and early flyer containing the 1876 design of the North Carolina seal which is very similar to the modern version. The pictures on the flyer are interesting as they convey the lifestyle and industries in the early history of the state. Long Leaf Pines were abundant in the Coastal Plain region of North Carolina and lucrative industries emerged from products using the resin extracted from the trees. In 1850, North Carolina listed 444 tar and turpentine makers in the US Census, and over 1000 distillers were listed in state records. One picture illustrates a copper turpentine still and the other depicts men collecting resin in barrels that were placed at the base of trees.


North Carolina State Seal for Kids

Meaning & recent pictures of the Great Seal
"To be rather than to seem" North Carolina motto
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 "Tar Heel State"
Meaning of the Seal for schools, kids and children

North Carolina State Seal for Kids

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