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The Great Seal of the State of California was adopted at the California state Constitutional Convention of 1849 and has undergone minor design changes since then, the last being the standardization of the seal in 1937. Garnett later became the first general to be killed in the Civil War, where he served as a Confederate general.
The seal features the Roman goddess Minerva (Athena in Greek mythology), the goddess of wisdom and war, because she was born an adult, and California was never a territory; a California grizzly bear (the official state animal) feeding on grape vines, representing California's wine production; a sheaf of grain, representing agriculture; a miner, representing the California Gold Rush and the mining industry; and sailing ships, representing the state's economic power. The Great Seal, or the Great Seal of the State of California as it is officially called, is the impression made on "all commissions, pardons and other public instruments to which the signature of the Governor is required" with the attestation of the Secretary of State; the impression, with or without "wafer," is made by a master die and counter die of an officially adopted design fixed in a seal press capable of exerting great pressure upon the document placed between the two parts of the die; it is also the impression made by the Secretary of State on papers certified over signature.
There has been and is only one Great Seal, there have been many redesigns and reproductions of the seal -- but there is only one Great Seal.
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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.
The word Eureka (εύρηκα in Greek), meaning "I have found it", is the California state motto. For the Governor's papers the Great Seal serves the same purpose as a notarial seal on civil documents. There have been many redesigns and reproductions of this seal -- they are not the Great Seal but only reproductions of it in many forms, sizes and even colors ...
However, because of the friction then in existence between the military and civil authorities, Garnett was unwilling to introduce the design to the constitutional convention, so convention clerk Caleb Lyon introduced it as his own design, with Garnett's approval.