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#66

funfacts calseal
Seal of California
     The Great Seal of the State of CaliforniaThe Great Seal of the State of California was adopted at the California state Constitutional Convention of 1849 and redesigned in 1937. The seal features the Greek goddess Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war; 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 phrase "Eureka," meaning "I have found it!" is the California state motto.

     The geography is not an exact view from any one place in California, although the waters were described in 1849 as being "of the Sacramento" and the mountains in the background as being "the snow-clad peaks of the Sierra Nevada." In the 1937 version there is a building on the far left rear hill resembling Angel Island.

     The original design of the seal was by Robert S. Garnett and engraved by Albert Kuner. However, Garnett was unwilling to introduce the design to the 1849 state constitutional convention, so Caleb Lyon introduced it as his own design, with Garnett's approval. Garnett later became the first general to be killed in the Civil War, where he served as a Confederate general.

The city of Eureka, California, uses the same seal, being the only US location to use the state seal as its seal.

Original 1849 description
     “ Around the bevel of the ring are represented thirty-one stars being the number of states of which the union will consist upon the admission of California. The foreground figure represents the Goddess Athena (Roman: Minerva) having sprung full grown from the brain of Zeus (Roman: Jupiter). This 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 grizzly bear feeding upon clusters from a grapevine emblematic of the peculiar characteristics of the country. A miner in engaged with a rocker and a 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 background while above 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 miner at work. ”

Origin of the Name California      
     The name California comes from a mythical Spanish island ruled by a queen called Califia that was featured in a Spanish romance ("Las Sergas de Esplandian") written by Garcia Ordonez de Montalvo in 1510. The Spanish explorers originally thought that California was an island.

California was the 31st state in the USA; it was admitted on September 9, 1850.
Area - 163,707 square miles [California is the 3rd biggest state in the USA - only Alaska and Texas are bigger]
Presidential Birthplace - Richard Milhous Nixon was born in Yorba Linda on January 9, 1913 (he was the 37th US President, serving from 1969 to 1974).
Highest Point - Mt. Whitney, 14,495 feet  above sea level
Lowest Point - Death Valley, 282 feet  below sea level [this is the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere]
Number of Counties - 58
State Nickname - The Golden State
State Motto - Eureka (I have found it)
State Song - "I Love You, California"