In 1868, Florida’s new State Constitution mandated that the first session of the Legislature must adopt a seal to represent the state. And the Legislature lost no time in coming up with a Joint Resolution that they sent to the Governor in August of that year. The resolution specified that the seal had to be the size of an American silver dollar. It also stated that the seal should contain the sun’s rays, a cocoa tree, a steamboat, and a female Indian scattering flowers. These images were to be circled by the words “Great Seal of the State of Florida: In God We Trust.”

Several changes have occurred on the seal over the years, although the basic design has been maintained. The Indian woman has changed her clothing and taken off her feathered headdress so that she is now a more authentic Seminole Indian. A mountain in the background has been flattened. The steamboat has been repaired a few times. And a sabal palm has been transplanted in place of the original cocoa tree to reflect the state’s adoption of the sabal palmetto palm as the official state tree in 1953.