New Mexico’s first seal was designed shortly after the Territorial Government was organized in 1851.  The original seal has long since disappeared, possibly as part of the artifacts placed into the cornerstone of the Soldiers Monument in the Santa Fe Plaza.  Imprints of the original seal showed an American Eagle clutching an olive branch in one talon and three arrows in the other.  Along the outside rim was the inscription “Great Seal of the Territory of New Mexico.”
     In the early 1860’s an unknown official adopted a new seal utilizing a design similar to today’s Great Seal.  It featured the American Bald Eagle, its outstretched wings shielding a smaller Mexican Eagle, symbolizing the change of sovereignty from Mexico to the United States in 1846.  The smaller Mexican Brown, or Harpy Eagle, grasped a snake in its beak and cactus in its talons, portraying an ancient Aztec myth.  The outside rim of the seal contained the words “Territory of New Mexico,” with the date 1850 along the bottom in Roman numerals (MDCCCL).
     It is not clear when the Latin phrase “Crescit Eundo” was added to the seal, but in 1882, Territorial Secretary W.G. Ritch embellished the earlier design with the phrase, which translates as “it grows as it goes.” This has also become the State Motto.  This version of the seal was officially adopted as New Mexico’s “official seal and coat of arms” by the territorial legislature in 1887.
     When New Mexico became a state in 1912, the legislature named a commission for the purpose of designing a state seal.  In the meantime, the legislature authorized interim use of the Territorial Seal with the words “Great Seal of the State of New Mexico” substituted.  In June 1913, the commission, which consisted of Governor William C. McDonald, Attorney General Frank W. Clancy, Chief Justice Clarence J. Roberts, and Secretary of State Antonio Lucero, filed its report adopting the general design of the Territorial Seal, substituting only the date 1912 for the Roman numerals. That seal is still in use today as the Official Seal of New Mexico.

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