World Civic Heraldry Guide: coats of arms and flags of cities, regions, states
New Mexico, state seal
New Mexico's first seal was designed shortly after the organization of the Territorial Government, in 1851. The original seal has long since disappered, possibly as part of the artifacts placed into the cornerstone of the Soldiers Monument in the Santa Fe Plaza. Imprints of the original seal show it consisted of the American Eagle, clutching an olive branch in one talon, and three arrows in the other. Along the outside rim was the inscription "Great Seal of the Territory NM."
In the early 1860's an unknown official adopted a new seal, using a design similar to today's Great Seal. It featured the American Bald Eagle, its outstretched wings shielding a smaller Mexican Eagle, symbolizing the change of sovereignty from Mexico to the United States in 1846. The smaller Mexican Brown, or Harpy, Eagle grasped a snake in its beak and cactus in its talons, portraying an ancient Aztec myth. The outside rim of the seal contained the words "Territory of New Mexico," with the date of 1850 along the bottom in Roman numerals (MDCCCL).
It is not clear when the Latin phrase "Crescit Eundo" was added to the seal, but in 1882, Territorial Secretary W.G. Ritch embellished the earlier design with the phrase, which translates as "it grows as it goes". This version of the seal was adopted as New Mexico's "official seal and coat of arms" by the Territorial Legislature in 1887.
When New Mexico became a state in 1912, the Legislature named a Commission for the purpose of designing a State Seal. In the meantime, the Legislature authorized interim use of the Territorial Seal with the words "Great Seal of the State of New Mexico" substituted. In June 1913, the Commission, which consisted of Governor William C. McDonald, Attorney General Frank W. Clancy, Chief Justice Clarence J. Roberts, and Secretary of State Antonio Lucero, filed its report adopting the general design of the Territorial Seal, substituting only the date 1912 for the Roman numerals. /Secretary of State of New Mexico, www.sos.state.nm.us/
adopted (dd.mm.yyyy): 1887
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