The Great Seal of the State of Delaware was first adopted on January 17, 1777, with the current version being adopted April 29, 2004. It contains the state coat of arms surrounded by an inscription, and the dates 1704, 1776 and 1787 .
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 Code Title 29 § 301
At the center of the coat of arms is a shield of horizontal red, blue and white stripes. On the red stripe is hay and a cob of corn. On the white stripe is an ox standing on grass. Above the shield is a sailing ship. Supporting the shield are a farmer on the left and a militiaman on the right. Underneath the shield is the state motto.
The surrounding inscription reads: "Great Seal of the State of Delaware" and the dates 1704, 1776 and 1787.
The seal was originally adopted in 1777 with minor changes made in 1793, 1847, and 1907. The current version was adopted in 2004.
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
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.
CHAPTER 3. STATE SEAL, SONG AND SYMBOLS
§ 301 Great Seal.
The seal now used as the Great Seal of this State and bearing the arms of this State shall be the Great Seal of this State. It is emblazoned as follows: Party per fess, or and argent, the first charged with a garb (wheat sheaf) in bend dexter and an ear of maize (Indian Corn) in bend sinister, both proper; the second charged with an ox statant, ruminating, proper; fess, wavy azure, supporters on the dexter a husbandman with a hilling hoe, on the sinister a rifleman armed and accoutred at ease. Crest, on a wreath azure and argent, a ship under full sail, proper, with the words "Great Seal of the State of Delaware," the dates "1704, 1776, and 1787," and the words "Liberty and Independence" engraved thereon.
Code 1852, § 463; 24 Del. Laws, c. 89, § 1; Code 1915, § 387; Code 1935, § 361; 29 Del. C. 1953, § 501; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 276, § 1.;
§ 302 Seal of state officials, courts and public officers.
The seals of the Secretary of State and Auditor of Accounts and of the several courts of this State and of the several public offices and officers in the several counties, now established and used, shall be the seals of such courts, offices and officers respectively and shall be so received and used. The seal of the office of the clerk of peace shall be the seal of the county government of Kent and Sussex Counties. The seal of the office of the clerk of the county council shall be the seal of the county government of New Castle County.
Code 1852, § 464; 21 Del. Laws, c. 114; Code 1915, § 388; Code 1935, § 362; 29 Del. C. 1953, § 502; 54 Del. Laws, c. 186; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 38A.;