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California State MottoState Motto and Banner

"Eureka"

(I have found it)

Adopted in 1963.

Originator: Major Robert Selden Garnett, 1849

Language: Greek

Focus: Minerals

See California State Seal

"Eureka" has been translated as: "I have found it." The great seal of California, first designed in 1849, included this Greek motto to signify either the admission of the state into the Union or a miner's success. The words were probably intended to refer to the discovery of referring to the momentous discovery of gold near Sutter's Mill in 1848. Archimedes, the famed Greek mathematician, is said to have exclaimed "Eureka!" when, after long study, he discovered a method of determining the purity of gold. In 1957, attempts were made to establish "In God We Trust" as the state motto, but "Eureka" was made the official state motto in 1963.

California State Motto
"Eureka"

California's motto is the only state motto rendered in Greek.

It was included as an element of the Great Seal of the State of California when it was designed in 1849. The seal was designed by Major Robert Selden Garnett of the U. S. Army and adopted in 1849 at the California Constitutional Convention in Monterey.

There are two states with mottos that focus on minerals and wealth:

  1. California: "Eureka" (I Have Found It)
  2. Montana: "Oro y Plata" (Gold and Silver)

California Law

The law designating the official California state motto is found in the California Codes, Government Code, Title 1, Chapter 2, Section 420.5.

GOVERNMENT CODE.
TITLE 1. GENERAL.
DIVISION 2. STATE SEAL, FLAG, AND EMBLEMS.
CHAPTER 2. STATE FLAG AND EMBLEMS

420.5 "Eureka" is the official State Motto.

California Law

The law designating the official California state seal is found in the California Codes and Statutes Government Code - GOV, GENERAL PROVISIONS Title 1, Division 2, Chapter 4, SECTION 399-405

This statute describes the California State Seal. The motto is specified within this description.

GOVERNMENT CODE.
TITLE 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS
DIVISION 2. STATE SEAL, FLAG, AND EMBLEMS.
CHAPTER 4.

399. (a) There shall be a seal of this state, which shall be called "the Great Seal of the State of California."
(b) The Great Seal of the state shall be used by the Governor officially.

400. The design of the Great Seal of the State shall correspond substantially with the following representation thereof:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

NOTICE OF INCOMPLETE TEXT: The Great Seal appears in the hard-copy publication of the chaptered bill.
See Chapter 134, page 902, Statutes of 1943.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
401. Any document signed prior to August 27, 1937, by the Governor, the Secretary of State, or both of them and bearing an impression purporting to be an impression of the Great Seal of the State has the same validity as if the impression thereon were an impression of the Great Seal of the State, whether or not it be in fact the impression of the Great Seal of the State.

402. (a) Every person who maliciously or for commercial purposes uses or allows to be used any reproduction or facsimile of the Great Seal of the State in any manner whatsoever is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the Great Seal of the State may be used for commercial purposes by the Golden State Museum Store located at 1020 O Street in Sacramento, and by the Capitol Bookstore and Gift Shop located in the rotunda of the restored State Capitol Building.
(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the California Sesquicentennial Commission may enter into an agreement to use the Great Seal of the State for officially sanctioned products of the California Sesquicentennial celebration as approved by the commission. The funds received from these sales shall revert to the California Sesquicentennial Foundation and be used only for official Sesquicentennial celebration purposes.

402.5. (a) In addition to the acts prohibited by Section 402, a person who uses or allows to be used any reproduction or facsimile of the Great Seal of the State in any campaign literature or mass mailing, as defined in Section 82041.5, with intent to deceive the voters, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(b) For purposes of this section, the use of a reproduction or facsimile of a seal in a manner that creates a misleading, erroneous, or false impression that the document is authorized by a public official is evidence of intent to deceive.

403. All grants and commissions shall be kept in the name and by the authority of the people of the State of California, sealed with the Great Seal of the state, signed by the Governor, and countersigned by the Secretary of State.

404. (a) No person shall represent, either directly or indirectly, that the State of California is sponsoring or endorsing a world's fair or exhibition unless the representation has been specifically authorized by law. Violation of this section is a misdemeanor. (b) The Board of Directors of the California Exposition and State Fair and its employees, as directed by the board, Members of the California State Legislature, and constitutional officers shall be exempt from the provisions of subdivision (a).

405. When the Great Seal of the state is prepared in color, the following colors shall be used:
The field of the seal shall be Independence Blue, Cable No. 70076; the outer circle shall be Golden Poppy, Cable No. 70071; the 31 stars and the words "Eureka" and "The Great Seal of the State of California" shall be white; the two circles bordering the words shall be Spanish Yellow, Cable No. 70068; the mountains shall be shades of Orchid, Cable No. 70133, and Amethyst, Cable No. 70134; the water shall be Grotto Blue, Cable No. 70022; the ships shall be Independence Blue, Cable No. 70076, and white; the smoke of the steamboat shall be Independence Blue, Cable No. 70076; the terrain shall be shades of Oakwood, Cable No. 70094, and Cork, Cable No. 70092; the miner's shirt and pick shall be Plum, Cable No. 70135; the rocker, bowl, and shovel shall be Golden Poppy, Cable No. 70071; the face and arms of Goddess Minerva and of the miner shall be Ecru, Cable No. 70103; the helmet and breastplate of Minerva shall be Robins Egg, Cable No. 70204; the dress of Minerva shall be white; the robe of Minerva and the pants of the miner shall be Cardinal, Cable No. 70081; the shield of Minerva and the sheaf of wheat shall be Spanish Yellow, Cable No. 70068 and Oakwood, Cable No. 70094; the spear of Minerva shall be Oakwood, Cable No. 70094 and the tip white; the vine shall be Spring Green, Cable No. 70061; the grass shall be Irish Green, Cable No. 70168; the bear shall be in colors as set forth in Section 420. All white shall be Cable No. 70001. All Cable number colors herein specified are those of the Textile Color Card Association of the United States, Inc., New York.


Mottos of the States
Motto: "United we stand, divided we fall" is a phrase that has been used in mottos, from nations and states to songs. The basic concept is that unless the people are united, they will be defeated. It is often used in the abbreviated form United we stand
State motto is a word, phrase, or sentence inscribed on or attached to a coin, building, or other object. The motto states an important idea for a group of people within the state.
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