South Dakota State Seal
YEAR OF ADOPTION
South Dakota’s constitution, adopted on October 1, 1889, describes the seal for the new state.
The description in the state constitution reads as follows:
The design of the great seal of South Dakota shall be as follows: A circle within which shall appear in the left foreground a smelting furnace and other features of mining work. In the left background a range of hills. In the right foreground a farmer at his plow. In the right background a herd of cattle and a field of corn. Between the two parts thus described shall appear a river bearing a steamboat. Properly divided between the upper and lower edges of the circle shall appear the legend, "Under God the People Rule" which shall be the motto of the State of South Dakota. Exterior to this circle and within a circumscribed circle shall appear, in the upper part, the words, "State of South Dakota," in the lower part the words "Great Seal," and the date in Arabic numerals of the year in which the State shall be admitted to the Union.
The farmer, cattle, and corn stand for agriculture. The steamship represents sailing and commerce, and the smelter is a symbol of mining and manufacturing.
Although the legislation does not specify particular colors, the outer margin of the seal is most often blue. Artists generally agree on blue for the sky and river; for the field being plowed, some choose brown while others use green with one brown furrow. A few other variations crop up, but naturalistic colors are generally used.
The last element mentioned in the description, the year of South Dakota’s admission to the Union, turned out to be 1889, although the description was written and enacted four years earlier, in 1885.
-World Trade Press