The Great Seal of the State of California

Around the bevel of the ring are represented thirty-one stars, being the number of the States of which the Union will consist, upon the admission of California. The foreground figure represents the goddess Minerva [Greek: Athena], having sprung full-grown from the brain of Jupiter [Greek: Zeus]. She is introduced as a type of the political birth of the State of California, without having gone through the probation of a Territory. At her feet crouches a grisly [grizzly] bear, feeding upon clusters from a grape vine, which, with the sheaf of wheat, are emblematic of the peculiar characteristics of the country. A miner is engaged at work, with a rocker and bowl at his side, illustrating the golden wealth of the Sacramento, upon whose waters are seen shipping, typical of commercial greatness; and the snow-clad peaks of the Sierra Nevada make up the back-ground. Above, is the Greek motto “Eureka,” (I have found it,) applying either to the principle involved in the admission of the State, or the success of the miners at work.
— Bayard Taylor, "Bayard Taylor's Letters, No. XXVII – The Great Seal of the State of California," New York Weekly Tribune, 22 December 1849


The Great Seal of the State of California was first adopted in 1849, at the California State Constitutional Convention. It's undergone some minor changes over the years, but remains very similar to its original design.

The seal features the Roman goddess Minerva, the goddess of wisdom and war, a likely combination. The California Grizzly Bear at her feet is feeding on grape vines, although it would probably much prefer human flesh (just kidding!). The miner represents the California Gold Rush, the event which catapulted California to a quick Statehood. "Eureka," meaning "I have found it," is the California State Motto and refers to finding gold or maybe just finding one's way to the great state of California.