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Delaware State Seal
Great Seal of the State of Delaware
Adopted on January 17, 1777.
The Great Seal of the State of Delaware was first adopted on January 17, 1777, with the current version being adopted April 29, 2004. It contains the state coat of arms surrounded by an inscription, and the dates 1704, 1776 and 1787 .
The images on Delaware’s official great seal symbolize the foundations of the state’s economy and a part of the state's history. Note that each of Delaware's three counties is represented.
Delaware Code Title 29 § 301
Delaware Great Seal
Delaware Coat of Arms
At the center of the coat of arms is a shield of horizontal red, blue and white stripes. On the red stripe is hay and a cob of corn. On the white stripe is an ox standing on grass. Above the shield is a sailing ship. Supporting the shield are a farmer on the left and a militiaman on the right. Underneath the shield is the state motto.
The surrounding inscription reads: "Great Seal of the State of Delaware" and the dates 1704, 1776 and 1787.
History of Changes
The seal was originally adopted in 1777 with minor changes made in 1793, 1847, and 1907. The current version was adopted in 2004.
Delaware House Bill 128
On April 9, 2003, Representative Wayne Smith introduced House Bill No. 128 in to the Delaware House of Representatives. This bill suggested that the dates representing the physical changes to the seal be replaced by dates "...that have more substantial historic significance.
" House Bill No. 128 proposed that the years 1704, 1776 and 1787 should replace the current dates on the seal and indicated the historical significance of the replacement dates.
1704 - The year that Delaware established its First General Assembly.
1776 - The year that the colonies declared independence from Great Britain.
1787 - The year that Delaware became "The First State" to ratify the United States Constitution.
The bill was approved by the Delaware House of Representatives on April 29, 2004.
On June 17, 2004, sixth grader Yaxier Torres and seven of his classmates from Bayard Elementary School in Wilmington, entered Legislative Hall in Dover. They were there to speak on behalf of the date changes proposed by House Bill No. 128, explaining why the current dates on the seal were not relevant to Delaware history and confused them
The Delaware House of Representatives and the Delaware Senate had both approved House Bill No. 128
On June 28, 2004, Governor Ruth Ann Minner signed the legislation that changed the dates on the Great Seal of the State of Delaware.
In days when communications were transcribed by hand and tediously undertaken, seals served to authenticate official government documents. In this day of computers and instant communications, seals still serve the same purpose.