South Carolina Flag

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South Carolina State Seal

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The South Carolina State Seal
The Great Seal of the State of South Carolina serves as a symbol of authenticity which verifies that government documents and papers of state are official and legal in the "Palmetto State". The South 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 South Carolina state seal is expressed in Latin as "Dum spiro spero" which means:

"While I breathe, I hope"

The South Carolina state seal identifies government buildings and officials and the palmetto tree is a centerpiece for the South Carolina state flag.

South Carolina State Seal


Facts on the South Carolina State Seal
The symbolism, history and emblems of the seal are described in this article with fast facts and information. 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 South Carolina State Seal:

South Carolina State Seal Facts
Fact 1: Adopted in 1776 and authorized by John Rutledge
Fact 2: The main designers were William Henry Drayton and Arthur Middleton
Fact 3: South Carolina was the 8th state in the USA; it became a state on May 23, 1788.

1875 South Carolina Seal

1875 South Carolina Seal


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

According to the South Carolina statute the  is "made up of two elliptical areas, linked by branches of the palmetto tree." However, the current images appears to show laurel leaves which are strongly linked to the female figure of Spes (Goddess of Hope). The 1875 seal pictured above definitely shows palmetto branches

The image on the left is dominated by a tall palmetto tree with a fallen and broken oak tree. (The fallen oak tree is not well defined in the current image)

The palmetto tree symbolizes victory in a battle against the British fought from a fort made of palmetto logs during the Revolutionary War of Independence (17751783). The square-shaped Fort Sullivan consisted only of the completed seaward wall made from palmetto logs 20 feet (6.1 m) high and 16 feet (4.9 m) wide.

The battle was fought on June 28 1776 between defenders of the unfinished fort on Sullivan's Island (now Fort Moultrie), and the British Fleet. The soft palmetto logs did not crack under bombardment but rather absorbed the shot and the cannon balls reportedly bounced off the walls

The standing tree is symbolic of the victorious defenders, and the fallen oak tree symbolizes the defeated British Fleet.

The dates of March 26 and July 4 hang from the palmetto tree (originally shields). March 26, 1776 is the date that South Carolina approved the new constitution

Two bundles of spears (12 spears in all) represent the first 12 states of the Union are depicted under the tree. (The spears are not well defined in the current stylized image)

The other image on the South Carolina seal depicts a woman walking along a shore that is littered with discarded weapons. The woman is the goddess Spes (Hope) who grasps a branch of laurel as the sun rises behind her.

In heraldry Laurel leaves are the symbol of triumph; success, renown, glory and victory.

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

Flyer showing the South Carolina Seal
This is an early flyer depicting the South Carolina seal. The pictures reflect the lifestyle and industry of the early inhabitants. Slave labor in the South Carolina plantations was integral to the economic success of rice and indigo as commodity crops and this is illustrated in the images.


South Carolina State Seal for Kids

Meaning & recent pictures of South Carolina Seal
"While I breathe, I hope" motto
Find the meaning of the South Carolina State Seal
Meaning, History, Symbols and Origin for kids
Meaning, symbols, design, description and history
Interesting facts & picture of the Great State Seal
South Carolina Official Nickname "Palmetto State"

Meaning of the South Carolina State Seal for schools, kids and children

South Carolina State Seal for Kids

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