Because of Texas’ unique history, there have been many seals that have been used as official seals throughout the years. Private seals of governors, Spanish seals, Mexican seals, and seals of the Republic have all had their time and place. Seals approved in 1836 and again in 1839 used a five-pointed star as their central image. The five-pointed star continues to represent Texas today. The Mexican seal was probably the basis for the live oak and olive wreaths that have made their way onto Texas’ current seal. In 1845, when Texas gained statehood in the Union, the images of the Republic’s seal were retained, and the word “Republic” was replaced with “State”. The state’s new seal was to consist of “a star of five points, encircled by an olive and live oak branch, and the words “State of Texas”. So many versions of the seal’s design were being used, however, that by 1881, the state decided to come up with one standard. So, the Secretary of State in 1992 officially declared a seal designed by Juan Vega, and meeting the above requirements, as the official seal of the state.
If you’re the least bit curious about which branch is a live oak branch and which is an olive branch, very careful inspection will reveal small acorns on one branch and small olives on the the other branch. If you’re still not sure, try getting a little closer.
The olive and the live oak branches can be considered to represent peace and strength respectively. In 1839, before Texas was admitted to the Union, Texas Senator Oliver Jones wrote in a committee report concerning the “national” seal:
“…the Committee are convinced of the necessity of adopting a Separate and Distinct Standard and Seal arms for this Republic, by so improving and embellishing the present as to fortify the Single Star with an olive and live oak branches, being emblems of Peace, and of the Materials of our strong arm of national defence in War, and indigenous to our Soil.”