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Pennsylvania State Seal

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

"Virtue, liberty, and independence"

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

Pennsylvania State Seal


Facts on the Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania State Seal:

Pennsylvania State Seal Facts
Fact 1: Unlike most state seals, it has an obverse and a reverse
Fact 2: The seals of the Pennsylvania colony were those of William Penn and his descendants
Fact 3: In 1778, during the War of Independence, a design similar to the modern one was in use
Fact 4: The obverse, or front face, features a shield emblazoned with a sailing ship, plow and wheat
Fact 5: The reverse features a woman, representing liberty

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

The face of the Seal displays symbols identical to the Coat of Arms, without the supporting horses (see the above picture of the flag)
Pennsylvania is officially designated with the title of "Commonwealth" emphasizing that they have a "government based on the common consent of the people" as opposed to government legitimized through their earlier royal colony status of Great Britain. However, the outer ring of the seal bears the words "Seal of the State of Pennsylvania
The inner circle of the Pennsylvania State Seal contains an American eagle on top of the shield. The wings of the eagle are "displayed" and in heraldry this symbolizes protection

On either side of the shield are a stalk of Indian corn (maize) representing this prolific crop of Pennsylvania and an olive branch that symbolizes peace

The central image of the shield contains a ship under full sail, a plow, and three sheaves of wheat.

In heraldry a wheatsheaf is called a garb and it symbolizes that harvest of one's hopes has been secured. The plow and the wheat represent the importance of agriculture to the early economy of Pennsylvania 

The sailing ship represents transportation and commerce
The Pennsylvania seal is kept and used as required by the Constitution and laws of the state.

The Seal of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 1876
This is an early flyer depicting the 1876 design of the seal surrounded by the initials of the states that had achieved statehood. The rearing horses are depicted on this image. In heraldry the term 'Horses forcené' refers to the position of the horse when rearing or standing on his hind legs. This symbolizes readiness to serve country. The pictures on either side of the shield reflect the main industries - agriculture, mining and shipping.

Seal of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 1876

Pennsylvania State Seal for Kids

Meaning & recent pictures of Pennsylvania Great Seal
"Virtue, liberty, and independence" 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 "Keystone State"
Meaning of the Pennsylvania Seal for schools, kids and children

Pennsylvania State Seal for Kids

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