Delaware Seal
State Seal of Delaware
The Great Seal of the State of Delaware was adopted on January 17, 1777.

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’s agricultural vitality and basis is represented by a sheaf of wheat (adapted from the Sussex County seal) and an ear of Indian corn (adapted from the Kent County seal).
  • The central role of farming is honored by a farmer holding his hoe.
  • The importance of animal husbandry is represented by the ox.
  • Contributions of citizens who bore arms to defend the rights of all Delaware’s population are evidenced by the musket-toting American soldier.
  • New Castle County's ship building industry and Delaware's Atlantic coastal commerce are honored by the sailing ship and the representation of the Delaware River above the ox.
There is a series of three dates on the seal above; 1793; 1847; and 1907. Each of these dates represents a year that a change was made to the seal.

  • 1793 - The figures of the farmer and the soldier were eliminated from the seal.
  • 1847 - The farmer and the soldier were restored and the motto, Liberty and Independence, was added on a ribbon at their feet. The motto was provided by the Society of the Cincinnati, a hereditary organization of Revolutionary War officers formed in 1783.
  • 1907 - The seal was "modernized" and "THE DELAWARE STATE" was changed to "THE STATE OF DELAWARE".
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.

According to Delaware's Newark Post:

"When the strike of the gavel announced the opening of the afternoon session and HB 128 was introduced, one by one the students stepped to the podium and presented their case. The students cited historical, educational and economic value. When the role call for vote was made, the bill was unanimously passed."

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.
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