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The Seal

The Arms

Armed Forces


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Several explorers from across Europe explored the lands that became Nebraska. In 1682, René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle claimed the area first when he named all the territory drained by the Mississippi Riverand its tributaries for France, naming it Louisiana .  


Coat of arms of René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle 

(modern rendering)

The arms are:

Arms: Sable, a greyhound saliant, Argent, in chief an eight-pointed star Or



In 1714, Etienne de Bourgmont traveled from the mouth of the Missouri River in Missouri to the mouth of the Platte River, which he called the Nebraskier River, becoming the first person to approximate the state's name. With the goal of reaching Sante Fe by water, the pair of French-Canadian explorers named Pierre and Paul Mallet reached the mouth of what they named the Platte River in 1739. They ended up following the south fork of the Platte into Colorado.

In 1762, by the Treaty of Fontainebleau after France's defeat by Great Britain in the Seven Years' War, France ceded its lands west of the Mississippi River to Spain, causing the future Nebraska to fall under the rule of New Spain, based in Mexico and the Southwest. In 1795 Jacques D'Eglise traveled the Missouri River Valley on behalf of the Spanish crown. Searching for the elusive Northwest Passage, D'Eglise did not go any further than central North Dakota.

In 1803 the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France for $15,000,000. What became Nebraska was under the "rule" of the United States for the first time. In 1812 President James Madison signed a bill creating the Missouri Territory, including the present-day state of Nebraska. Manuel Lisa, a Spanish fur trader from New Orleans, built a trading post called Fort Lisa in the Ponca Hills in 1812. His effort befriending local tribes is credited with thwarting British influence in the area during the War of 1812.

In 1854 the Nebraska Territory was created by the Kansas–Nebraska Act. It was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from 30  May 1854, until 1 March 1867, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Nebraska.

A constitution for Nebraska was drawn up in 1866. There was some controversy over Nebraska's admission as a state, in view of a provision in the 1866 constitution restricting suffrage to White voters; eventually, on February 8, 1867, the United States Congress voted to admit Nebraska as a state provided that suffrage was not denied to non-white voters. The bill admitting Nebraska as a state was vetoed by President Andrew Johnson, but the veto was overridden by a supermajority in both Houses of Congress. Nebraska became the first–and to this day the only–state to be admitted to the Union by means of a veto override.


The Seal


The territorial seal of Nebraska was never adopted by any act of the legislature; but as it existed in fact, was two and  one-half inches in diameter, and bore the following devices: ‘ n the centre a chart, inscribed “ The Constitution,”  supportted on the right hand by a man in citizen’s dress, and on the left hand by a man in a hunting frock; holding a gun resting on his left arm, - both of these supporters pointing to an American ensign waving over the chart. On the right of the citizen a locomotive, plow, and other agricultural emblems. On the left of the hunter a river, steamboat, and sheaf of wheat. The sun’s raya are seen behind the folds of the American flag. Over these devices the motto, “ Popular Sovereignty,” under them, the word “ Progress.” [1]


Emblem of Nebraska Territory in full color

The first official US flag of 13 stars (1777-’95)   [2]


Seal of Nebraska Territory until 1867


In 1867 Nebraska was admidtted into the Union as a State, and the adopted the seal [...] described as follows. “The eastern part of  the circle to be represented by a steamboat ascending the Missouri River; the mechanic arts to be represented by a smith with hammer and anvil; in the forground, agriculture to be represented by a settler’s  cabin, sheaves of wheat, and stalks of growing corn; in the background a train of cars heading towards the Rocky Mountains, and on the extreme west; the Rocky Mountains to be lainly in view; around the top of this circle, to be in capital letters, the motto, ‘E qualiry Before the Law,’ and the circle to be surrounded with the words, ‘Great Seal of the State of Nebraska, March 1st 1867. [3]


In 1925 this seal came, in yellow lining, in the middle of the blue cloth of the State flag.

Nowadays the seal is often represented in full color.


Present seal in full color


The Arms


Emblem of Nebraska, 1876 [4]


A state emblem was introduced in 1876. It is derived from the seal of 1867 and consequently shows the picure of that seal in full color, placed on a shield, with the motto EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW on a ribbon underneath. [5] These coats of arms were never officially adopted or accepted.


Ć See illustration in the head of this article.


When a State flag was designed in 1925, the opportunity was taken to redesign the seal which would be placed in the centre of the flag..  A new state seal was designed indeed by Bertram Goodhue, the architect of the Nebraska State Capitol. His design was thoroughly of a heraldic nature and can be characterized as a classical heraldic achievement, showing a central piece with a crest and supporters.

“ When the legislature met in January 1925, Mrs. Florence Hazen Miller of Crete, a staunch advocate of a Nebraska flag, prevailed upon Rep. J. Lloyd McMaster of Lincoln to introduce HR 67, a bill to create an official state banner. The bill specified that the banner would be national blue with the seal of Nebraska in the center. It said nothing about the redesigned Goodhue seal, so if it were to pass, the original and still official state seal would appear on the banner.”[6] In this way the Goodhue achievement died a silent death and the opportunity to introduce a State achievement passed by.


The Goodhue design of a new Seal, 1925

Picture: Nebraska State Historical Society



Arms: A fasces per pale, charged with a balance

Crest: A bison’s head guardant

Supporters: Two pronghorns (Antilocapra americana, Antilocapridae)



Nebraska State Area Command






That for regiments and separate battalions of the Nebraska Army National Guard:  From a wreath of colors, an ear of corn in full ear partially husked Proper.



Nebraska is known as the "Cornhusker State."



The crest for color bearing organizations of the State of Nebraska was approved on 4 April 1924


Shoulder Sleeve Insignia



On a red shield 2 7/16 inches (6.19 cm) in height by 2 inches (5.08 cm) in width an ear of corn in full ear partially husked proper on a wreath of six twists alternating yellow and blue.



Nebraska is known as the "Cornhusker State."  As the territory was originally a part of the Louisiana Purchase, the twists of the wreath are yellow and blue.



The shoulder sleeve insignia was originally approved for Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, Nebraska National Guard on 17 February 1950.  It was redesignated on 30 December 1983, for Headquarters, State Area Command, Nebraska Army National Guard.  (TIOH Dwg. No. A-1-165)


Distinctive Unit Insignia




A gold color metal and enamel device 1 1/8 inches (2.86 cm) in height overall consisting of a gold ellipse, long axis horizontal, charged with a blue horizontal stripe at the top above two gold five-bastioned forts one on the left and right of a vertical light green cornstalk issuing from base, lower leaves extending in back of the forts, and at the top of the stalk a full gold ear of corn partially husked projecting over the stripe and above the top of the ellipse.



The partially husked ear of corn alludes to the crest used for the Nebraska Army National Guard and indicates the organization's allocation; together with the cornstalk it also refers to the official nickname "Cornhusker State."  The blue horizontal stripe signifies "flat water," the meaning of the Indian name for the Platte River "Nebrathka."  The ellipse refers to Lincoln, the Capital City and location of the State Headquarters of the Army National Guard, which is situated in a shallow elliptical area.  The forts symbolize the State of Nebraska, and the vital role of the militia's contribution in the settlement of the West.



The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment and noncolor bearing units of the Nebraska Army National Guard on 9 July 1971.  The insignia was redesignated effective 30 December 1983, for Headquarters, State Area Command, Nebraska Army National Guard.




Omaha Tribe of Nebraska



Ponca Tribe of Nebraska



Santee Sioux Nation, Nebraska


(formerly the Santee Sioux Tribe of the Santee Reservation of Nebraska


Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska



Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska



Sac & Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska     



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 © Hubert de Vries




[1] Zieber, Eugene: Heraldry in America. Published by the Department of Heraldry of the Bailey, Banks and Biddle Company. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1895. P. 149

[2] http://nebraskahistory.org/exhibits/we_the_people/slave_or_free.htm

[3] Nebraska Statutes, 1867: The Statutes of Nebraska Embracing All of the General Laws of the State in Force August 1st, 1867, with Marginal Notes,. . . compiled by E. Estabrook (Culver, Page and Hoyne, Printers and Binders, Chicago, Illinois, 1867) p. 863

[4] Connell, A.J.Arms of the States and Territories of the American Union. Washington D.C. 1876

[5] Mitchell, Henry: The State Arms of the Union, Boston: 1876 L. Prang & Co.

[6] http://www.blog-nebraskahistory.org/2017/01/flashback-friday-the-fight-over-nebraskas-state-seal-and-flag/

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