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Find information and history of the official state seal of each of the states.
Animal, Arboretum, Ballad, Bird, Butterfly, Cowboy Hall of Fame, Firefighters' Memorial Park, Fish, Flag, Floral Emblem, Fossil, Gemstone, Gemstone, Grass, Korean Veteran Memorial - Butte, Korean War Veterans' Memorial - Missoula, Language:State/Local Government, Medal of Valor, Motto, Nicknames, Seal, Song, Tree, Veterans' Memorial Garden, Vietnam Veterans' Memorial
Great Seal of the State of Montana
Adopted on February 9, 1865.
Montana's first official symbol, its seal, has had a fascinating history. A Montana Territory legislative committee initially designed a seal in 1865. Francis M. Thompson chaired the committee and had what passed for expertise in the seal design business. He had engraved seals for the first mining districts on the ends of ax handles. Even he had to admit his work was not the most artistic, but it was the best at hand.
The special committee felt a seal should include all the essential elements in Montana's economy and future. A plow, shovel and pick would illustrate agricultural and mineral wealth. Surrounding these would be mountains, from which Montana took its name, the sun, and the Great Falls of the Missouri River. Interspersed on the field, delegates specified trees, buffalo, and other wild animals then in abundance. The seal would be two inches high and surrounded by the words THE SEAL OF THE TERRITORY OF MONTANA.
As a territorial motto, committee members favored "Gold and Silver." Someone thought the phrase would be nice in Spanish. The rest agreed. Unfortunately, no one knew Spanish very well and the committee's recommendation to the Legislature suggested "Oro el Plata." Someone caught the error later and made it grammatically correct: "Oro el Plata."
TITLE 1. GENERAL LAWS AND DEFINITIONS.
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.