Did you ever wonder what the meaning of New Jersey’s Great Seal is? I was looking closely at our New Jersey state flag and had to admit I didn’t know the historical significance of the images that made up our state seal.

So after a little checking, here are some interesting historical facts that will shed some light on the meaning of the Great Seal of New Jersey.

The Provincial Assembly of New Jersey commissioned Pierre du Simitiere who was from Switzerland but residing in Philadelphia. He was a consultant on the committees that were designing New Jersey’s Great Seal and suggested the Latin phrase that became the United States motto, “e pluribus unum,” which translated means “out of many, one”. That phrase had been proposed for the United States of America in 1776 by John Adams, Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. New Jersey adopted it less than a year later.

Pierre suggested that motto be included in the Great Seal.

In 1777, the New Jersey Great Seal was created using five symbols, each representing something unique about New Jersey.

attachment-The Seal of New Jersey (2)

The helmet and horse head depicted New Jersey as an independent state. The helmet signifies strength and protection and the horse head depicts the freedom of an unbridled horse.

attachment-The Seal of New Jersey (3)

The woman holding the staff and adorning a liberty cap on the top of her head represents freedom. The liberty cap comes from ancient Rome where it was recognized as a badge of freedom.

attachment-The Seal of New Jersey (4)

The woman on the right is the mythical Roman goddess of agriculture, grain and crops, Ceres. Ceres holds a cornucopia filled with the fruits and vegetables that are abundant here in New Jersey at the time.

attachment-The Seal of New Jersey (5)

The shield with the three plows represents the strong agricultural tradition of New Jersey. It also represents the protection of those crops.

attachment-The Seal of New Jersey (6)

On the scroll that is present is written “Liberty and Prosperity” and 1776 is the year that New Jersey became a state.

Now you know the meaning and makeup of New Jersey’s Great Seal. I look at it a little bit differently now.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.

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