Shortly after 1776, states began to adopt their own official state seals, mottos, nicknames, and much more, which have all been used to symbolize and represent the uniqueness of each state in the U.S.

It was in March, 1776, when the provincial congress of South Carolina decided to set up their own independent government, electing John Rutledge as President. The new president and his privy council were then authorized to create a great seal for the region of South Carolina.

Shortly after this, they seeked the design help of William Henry Drayton and Arthur Middleton to create and use the official state seal for the first time in May 1777. Below is the South Carolina state seal.

South Carolina state seal

State Seal of South Carolina

On the left-hand side of the seal you will see palmetto tree springs from a fallen oak tree, this represents the British ships that the state’s patriots defeated at Sullivan’s Island in 1776. The shields that feature on the Palmetto trunk display the date of independence and the date when South Carolina adopted its first state constitution.

You can see the official state motto on the banner, “who shall separate?”. On the right side of the seal you can see a woman representing hope and overcoming danger, with the laurel branch in her hand, symbolizing the victory at Sullivan’s Island. In addition to this woman you can also see the Latin phrase, “Dum spiro, spero”, which means “”While I breathe, I hope” – showcasing a positive message that is still best used to represent the people of this historic state.

Most states will have their seals showcase a relevant story, that is indicative of the state and its history, and the Palmetto State is certainly no different, embodying everything that South Carolina stands for.