Iowa History Daily: November 22 - The Great Seal

Iowa History Daily: On November 22, 1838, the Council of the First Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Iowa requested the Secretary of the Territory submit “the Great Seal of this Territory, with its impression, for inspection.” The submitted seal served until statehood when the legislature adopted the current Great Seal of the State of Iowa.

The original territorial seal featured an eagle to represent “the proud and appropriate emblem of our national power.” Other symbols, meant to represent the decline of Iowa’s Indigenous peoples including a bow and arrow were meant “to admonish us of the immense importance of improving the inheritance,” gained by Iowa’s American settlers.

As statehood arrived in 1846, an update to the seal celebrating statehood made its way to the Iowa General Assembly for approval. On February 25, 1847, the Iowa General Assembly accepted a seal featuring representations of Iowa values and industry including a citizen soldier standing in a wheat field under an eagle holding the standard bearing the state motto.



With the Mighty Mississippi River in the background, the soldier finds himself surrounded by representations of early Iowa relics including a lead ‘pig,’ a Phrygian ‘liberty’ cap, the steamboat ‘Iowa,’ and agricultural implements including a plow and a scythe. Although variations have occurred over time, the Great Seal of Iowa still holds the same representations of early Iowa in the modern era. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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