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Before settlement by Europeans, Georgia was inhabited by the mound building cultures. The British colony of Georgia was founded by James Oglethorpe on February 12, 1733. The colony was administered by the Trustees for the Establishment of the Colony of Georgia in America under a charter issued by (and named for) King George II. The Trustees implemented an elaborate plan for the


colony's settlement, known as the Oglethorpe Plan, which envisioned an agrarian society of yeoman farmers and prohibited slavery. In 1742 the colony was invaded by the Spanish during the War of Jenkins' Ear. In 1752, after the government failed to renew subsidies that had helped support the colony, the Trustees turned over control to the crown. Georgia became a crown colony, with a governor appointed by the king.

The Province of Georgia was one of the Thirteen Colonies that revolted against British rule in the American Revolution by signing the 1776 Declaration of Independence. The State of Georgia's first constitution was ratified in February 1777. Georgia was the 10th state to ratify the Articles of Confederation on July 24, 1778, and was the 4th state to ratify the current Constitution on January 2, 1788.

It declared its secession from the Union on January 19, 1861, and was one of the original seven Confederate states. It was the last state to be restored to the Union, on July 15, 1870




Georgia Colony



Obverse and reverse of the seal of Georgia Colony

The original seal is housed in the British Museum in London;

a facsimile is on prominent display at the Georgia Archives Building in Morrow, Ga.


The seal of the Colony is as folows:


On the obverse of the seal, two figures rest on urns with water pouring out of them, representing the Altamaha and Savannah rivers. Between them is another figure, the Genius of the Colony, with a cap on her head representing liberty. A spear in one hand represents strength; her other hand holds a cornucopia which represents abundance. The inscription in Latin COLONIA GEORGIA AUG is often translated as “May the Colony of Georgia flourish.”

The reverse side of the seal depicts a silkworm and a cocoon on a mulberry leaf. It bears the motto Non sibi sed allis, meaning “Not for self, but for others.”

The motto is a testament to the tenets which inspired the Trustees to form the colony.


Oglethorpe (Oglethorpe co. York) Ar. a chev. embattled betw. three boars’heads sa.

(Burke’s Peerage Pp.751-752)


Although the Trustees were prominent citizens who were interested in philanthropy and in providing religious freedoms, the foremost requirement for the initial settlers was military experience. In fact, Oglethorpe was the only trustee to ever visit the colony. After the royal charter was granted, he sailed to the New World with 35 families of volunteer merchants, cooks, carpenters and farmers on the adventure to settle Georgia. For the next 10 years the whole project relied on him, and he took command of everything from allocating land to erecting forts to building roads and bridges. His energy and commitment to the idea of starting Georgia is laudable, but his domineering personality created the schism which doomed the struggling new colony. [1]


Georgia under the Royal Governors



Upon assuming control of Georgia, the king ordered that regulations of the Trustees should remain in force and that the officers then serving should continue in office until the council could agree upon a new form of government.

After long deliberation the Lords of the Council finally recommended that Georgia should be raised to the dignity of a royal province. This was approved by the king and in 1754, he appointed Captain John Reynolds of the Royal Navy the first governor of the Province of Georgia.


As a royal province, Georgia was entitled to a great seal. Therefore, on the 21st of June, 1754, the king ordered the dies for the seal to be made of silver and engraved with the design selected as the coat of arms of the new province.

The obverse of this seal, shows a female figure, representing the young Province of Georgia, kneeling before the king in token of her submission, and presenting him with a skein of silk, while the motto beneath, “HINC LAUDEM SPERATE COLONI -- meaning, “Hence hope for praise, O colonists!” -- notifies the colonists that the king still expected them to supply him with silk. The Latin words Ÿ SIGILLUM Ÿ PROVINCIĆ Ÿ GEORGIĆ Ÿ IN Ÿ AMERICA Ÿ around the circumference mean, “The seal of our Province of Georgia in America.” On the reverse of the seal, is the achievement of George II. [2]


Seal of Georgia Province, 1754, obverse


Seal of Georgia Province, 1754,  reverse

The achievement is:


Arms: Quarterly: I. Per pale of England and Scotland; II. France modern; III. Ireland; IV. Tierced per pile: 1. Brunswick; 2. Lüneburg; 3. Westfalen; in nombril point an escutcheon of The Archtreasurer of the Holy Roman Empire German Nation.

Crown: The Royal Crown of Great Britain

Order: The strap of the Order of the Garter

Supporters: Dexter: A crowned lion guardant Or; Sinister: A unicorn Argent maned and tufted, royally crowned, halstered with a crown and shackled Or.

Motto: DIEU ET MON DROIT (God and my Right)


The legend reads: GEORGIUS Ÿ II Ÿ D Ÿ G Ÿ M Ÿ BRI Ÿ FR Ÿ ET Ÿ HIB Ÿ REX Ÿ F Ÿ D Ÿ BRUN Ÿ  ET Ÿ LUN Ÿ DUX ŸS Ÿ R Ÿ I Ÿ AR Ÿ TH Ÿ ET ŸELEC. (George II By God’s Grace king of Great Britain, France and Ireland, duke of Brunswick and Luneburg, archtreasurer and Elector of the Holy Roman Empire)



Georgia an Independent State



The Seal of 1777

The first Great Seal of the State of Georgia is described in the Constitution of 1777 as follows:

“The Great Seal of this State shall have the following device: On one side a scroll, whereon shall be engraved, ‘THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE  OF GEORGIA;’ and the motto, ‘pro bono publico,’ on the othe side an elegant house, and other buildings; fields of corn, and meadows covered with sheep and cattle, a river running through the same with a ship under full sail; and the motto, ‘Deus nobis haec otia fecit.’” [3]



The arms of Georgia

As on A. Doolitle, 1791 [4]  


The Seal of 1799

The Constitution of 1789 provided that “the Great Seal shall be deposited in the office of the secretary of State , and not affixed to any instruments of writing but by order of the Governor, or of the General Assembly.” This referred to the old seal described above. The Act of February 8, 1799, described a device for a new seal, made provision for the making of the same, and ordered the old seal broken in the presence of the Governor.


Obverse and reverse of the seal of 8 February / 5 December 1799


An Act for altering the Great Seal of the State of Georgia. – Passed February 8, 1799 Vol.I. 413.


Whereas, the constitution of this state directs the alteration of the great seal, therefore,

   1. Sec. I. Be it eneacted, &c. Thta the great seal of the state  of Georgia shall be made of silver, and the size of two and a quarter inches in diameter.

   2. Sec. II. The device shall be as follows: On the one side a view of the sea shore, with a ship bearing the flag of the United States, riding at anchor near a wharf, receiving on board hogsheads of tobacco and bales of cotton, emblematic of the exports of this state; a a small distance a boat landing from the interior of the state with hogsheads, &c. on board, representing her internat traffic; in the back part of the same side, a man in the act of ploughing; and at a small distance a flock of sheep in different postures, shade by a flourishing tree. The motto on this side, Agriculture and Commerce, 1799.  (That the other side contain three pillars supporing an arch, with the word Constitution, engraven withing the same, emblematic of the constitution supported by the three departments of government, viz. the legislative, judicial, and executive, the first pillar to have  engraven on its base, Wisdom, the second, Justice, and the third, Moderation;) on the right of the last pillar a man standing with a srawn sword, representing the aid of the military in defence of the constitution; the motto, State of Georgia, 1799.

   3. Sec. III. That his excellency the governor be, and he is hereby authorized to contract with some fit and proper person for making of the aforesaid seal in manner and form aforesaid, and shall deposit the same in the office of the secretary of state; and on and after the fourth day of July next, the said seal shall be considered as the great seal of the state of Georgia, and applied an made is of as such in all cases as law directs; and the old, or present great seal, shall be brken in presence of his excellency the governor.


An Act supplementary to the foregoing – Passed December 5, 1799. Vol. I. 413


Whereas it appears, that so much of the second section of the before recited act, as are contained in the words following; to wit, [see the words within the parenthesis in sec. 2.] could not be completely carries into execution, inasmuch as from examination of the size of the great seal established by the aforesaid act, an impression of these words, wisdom, justice, and moderation, engraven on the three aforesaid pillartd, wouldnot be legibled or inttelligible.

   4. Sec. I. Be it enacted,  that that of the said before-recited section, - to wit, the words, the first pillar, engraven on its base, wisdom, the second justice, and the third moderation, - be, and the same is hereby repealed. And that the great seal as now deposited and in operation in the secretary of state’s office of this state, with the words wisdom, justice, and moderation, engraven in a wreath on the several pillars, emblematic of the several departments of the government, be, and is hereby sanctioned, ratified, and decralred the great seal of the state of Georgia; and all grants, papers, and documents, to which the same has been affixed by order of the executive authority since the fourth day of July last past, the period when the former great seal by the aforesaid act ceases to be the great seal, and the new great seal was by the said act to be in operation, are herby also sanctioned, ratified, and declared to be as valid in all courts of law and equity as they possibly would or could have been, had the words wisdo, justice, and moderation, been engraven on the base of the respective pillars agreebaly to directions of the said second sectiion.

Whereas there is now in the secretary of state’s office a number of grants of land issued previously to the fourth day of July last past, which have not heretofore had the former great seal of the state affixed to them,

   5. Sec. II. Be it enacted, that the secretary of state shall affix the present seal of this state, as declared by this act, to any grant or grants which have been issued for land under the authority of this state previuous to the fourth day of July past, which have not heretofore had the former great seal of this state affixed to such grant or grants as aforesaid, which shall be held, deemed, and considered valid in all court of law and equity, any law to the contrary nothwithstanding.

[Counterfeiting the great sela, see Penal Laws, sec. 135.] [5]


In 1861 left the Union and entered the Confederation of southern states. On the Ordinace of Secession passed January 19 1861, there appeared an emblem derived from the seal. The device on it represented the three pillars, the scrolls inscribed with the words Wisdom, Justice and Moderation replaced by female allegories symbolizing these ideas.

The seal of the Confederate State of George however  was the same as the seal of 1799 but below the arch there was inscribed 1861 and in base the date 1799 was replaced by the date 1776, the date of the declaration of Independence.


After the ware the old seal was restored, the seal of 1861 was used afterwards by the Secretary of State as the seal of his office. [6]

Device, 1876


Arms, 1876


The Seal of 1914

The present State seal of Georgia, adopted by legislative action on August 17, 1914, is a facsimlie of the former state seal, adopted by an act of the State legislature on February 8, 1799, except that the date was changed from 1799 to 1776.




No. 33.


    Whereas, The great seal of the State, in the custody of the Secretary of State, has become so worn by time and use that it will no longer make a clear, or even legible, impression, and it has become necessary that a new seal shal be provided; therefore,

    Be it resolved, By the House of Representatives of Georgia, the Senate concurring, that the Governor and the Secretary of State are hereby authorizes, empowered and directed to cause a new great seal of the State to be made, either of silver, or of some harder and more durable metal or composition of metals, the new seal to be in all respects a facsimile of the old one, excepts that the date appearing thereon shall be 1776, commemorative of the year of the Declaration of American Independence, instead of 1799, as appears on the present seal.

    Be it further resolved, That when the new great seal  herein provided for shall be completed and received by the Secretary of State, it shall be used in place of the present great seal in all cases where the use of the great sel of the State is required; and it shall be the duty of the Governor and the Secretray of State  to see to it that the present great seal is destroyed.

    Be it further resolved, That all laws abd parts of laws in conflict with this joint resolution, or any part thereof, be and the same are hereby repealed.

    Approved August 17, 1914 [7]


On February 23, 1937 a resolution adopted by legislative action provided for recasting and reangraving the Great Seal of State. [8]









Sleeve Patch

Georgia State Area Command






That for regiments and separate battalions of the Georgia Army National Guard:  From a wreath of colors, a boar's head erased Gules, in the mouth an oak branch Vert fructed Or.



The red boar's head with green oak branch and yellow acorns was  the crest of Sir James Oglethorpe, the founder of the colony.  The boar is the heraldic symbol of courage and ferocity in attack and the boar's head is the classical symbol of hospitality.



The crest was approved on 20 March 1922.


Distinctive Unit Insignia



A gold color metal and enamel device consisting of an octagon with 2.70 cm vertical and horizontal axes and each 1.11 cm in length divided per chevron reversed, the upper part of white and the lower part of blue (ultramarine) bearing superimposed the crest for the National Guard of the State of Georgia (on a wreath consisting of six alternate sections of white and red, a red boar's head with gold tusks, teeth and eye and holding in its mouth a green oak branch with five leaves and gold acorn).



The red boar's head with green oak branch and yellow (gold) acorn was suggested by the crest of the coat of arms of Sir James Oglethorpe, the founder of the colony.  The boar is symbolic of courage and ferocity in attack; it is also a symbol of hospitality.  The white and red colors of the wreath refer to the English origin of the first white settlement in the colony (State).



The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for the State Staff Corps and Departments, Georgia National Guard on 5 June 1929.  It was amended to reverse the colors of the octagon in the description of the badge on 29 August 1929.  The insignia was redesignated and amended to revise the description for the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment and noncolor bearing units, Georgia Army National Guard on 19 January 1972.  It was redesignated effective 30 December 1983, for Headquarters, State Area Command, Georgia Army National Guard.


Shoulder Sleeve Insignia




On a white disc within a 0.32 cm) blue border 6.67 cm in diameter overall a red boar's head with white tusks and eye, holding in the mouth a green oak branch all on a wreath of six twists, alternately white and red.



The boar's head on the wreath is an adaptation of the crest authorized for the color bearing units of the Georgia Army National Guard.  The wild boar symbolizes courage and ferocity.  The boar's head from the arms of James Oglethorpe, founder of the Colony of Georgia, is also an emblem of hospitality.  The colors red, white and blue are the official colors of Georgia.



The shoulder sleeve insignia was originally approved for Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, Georgia Army National Guard on 28 May 1970.  The insignia was redesignated effective 30 December 1983 for Headquarters, State Area Command, Georgia Army National Guard.  (TIOH Dwg. No. A-1-537)



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© Hubert de Vries 2016-10-22




[1] https://www.smashwords.com/extreader/read/6900/23/the-story-of-georgias-boundaries-a-meeting-of-history-and-geography

[2] http://www.usgenweb.info/georgia/history/hist-10.htm

[3] http://www.usgenweb.info/georgia/history/hist-16.htm and Marbury’s “Digest,” p. 13.

[4] Doolittle, A. ed.: A Display of the United States. New Haven, 1791

[5] Digest of the Laws of the State of Georgia. Milledgeville 1822. Pp. 418-419

[6] Zieber, Eugene: Heraldry in America. Published by the Department of Heraldry of the Bailey, Banks and Biddle Company. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1895. 2nd edition 1909. Pp. 126-127.

[7] Acts and Resolutions of the General Assembly of the State of Georgia, 1914,  Part IV, p. 1247

[8] Shankle, Georg Earlie: State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers and other Symbols. The H.W. Wilson Comp.. New York, 1951.

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