New Hampshire Seal
State Seal of New Hampshire
New Hampshire's first seal, created in 1775, consisted of a pine tree, a fish, and a set of five arrows. The arrows stood for the five counties at the time, while the pine tree and fish represented the state's major economic resources. In 1784, when the state's new constitution became effective, the legislature decided to change the seal to keep up with the changing times. The coastal town of Portsmouth had become a thriving ship building center, and the legislature wanted to portray this industry. So, with a rising sun in the background, the new design would feature a ship on stocks. However, as time went on, this 1784 design became a victim of artists' whims and fancies. The scene continually changed. People appeared on docks, and barrels of rum materialized. In 1931, the legislature voted to regain control of the seal's design. Today, the seal is unchanging. The frigate Raleigh, one of the first ships that the Constitutional Congress authorized for the nation's navy, graces the center of the seal. The date on the bottom of the seal now reads 1776. The rum barrels are gone, the sun rises over the Atlantic Ocean, and a wreath of laurel frames the entire scene.
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