Symbols of Bexar County

The History of The Texas State Seal


The 1836 Texas Constitution provided, "There shall be a seal of the republic, which shall be kept by the president, and used by him officially; it shall be called the great seal of the republic of Texas." A design for the national seal was not specified, however, so the constitution stated that the "president shall make use of his private seal until a seal of the republic shall be provided."

The First Congress remedied this situation in 1836 when it passed a bill providing that "for the future the national seal of this republic shall consist of a single star, with the letters 'Republic of Texas,' circular on said seal, which seal shall also be circular."

First Great Seal of the Republic, 1836-1839

First Great Seal of the Republic


After initial hopes for the quick annexation of Texas into the United States grew dim, the Third Congress modified the seal and created a national arms in 1839:

  • "The national arms of the Republic of Texas be, and the same is hereby declared to be a white star of five points, on an azure ground, encircled by an olive and live oak branches."
  • "The national great seal of this Republic shall, from and after the passage of this act, bear the arms of this nation..., and the letters 'Republic of Texas.'"

Second Great Seal of the Republic, 1839-1845

Second Great Seal of the Republic


When Texas joined the Union in 1845, the new state constitution retained the seal, changing only the word "Republic" to "State." The 1845 constitution declared, "There shall be a seal of the State, which shall be kept by the Governor and used by him officially. The said seal shall be a star of five points, encircled by an olive and live oak branches, and the words 'the State of Texas.'"

Seal of the State of Texas, 1879

Seal of the State of Texas

Seal of the State of Texas, 1909

Seal of the State of Texas

1992: Official Design

By 1991 almost twenty different versions of the state seal were in use on state letterhead and publications. The decision was made to standardize the state seal.

The Texas State Seal Advisory Committee researched the history of the state seal and recommended that the Texas Memorial Museum's 1960 watercolor by Henry W. Schlattner be used as a model. In addition, the committee developed standard black and white art of the state seal and state arms (the star and the live oak and olive branches) for use by all state offices, departments, and agencies. Juan Vega of the Texas Water Development Board designed the art. The secretary of state adopted the art in June 1992 as the official designs of the state seal and arms.

Learn more about the Texas State Seal at the Secretary of State website.

Official Seal of Texas

Seal of the State of Texas

Seal of the County of Bexar

General state law does not require counties to adopt a seal. However, laws do provide seals for the County Commissioners Court, County Clerk, and other county offices. 

Counties commonly have a seal or symbol to identify the county unofficially. Many have adopted symbols with the lone star and live oak/olive branches in the center. 

Bexar County has adopted the Texas State Seal with the words "The State  of Texas" and "County of Bexar".

Bexar County SealSeal of the County of Bexar

Coat of Arms

A coat of arms of a nation or state is usually the design or device of the obverse of its seal. It is an official emblem, mark of identification, and symbol of the authority of the government of a nation or state.

Adopted by Commissioners Court on December 22, 1972, this Official Coat of Arms for Bexar County combines four heraldic fields topped with a coronet. A banner below the heraldic fields bears the word "Bexar".

Represented at the upper left are the arms of Don Alvaro de Zuniga, Duke of Bexar in Spain, including the gold chains of Navarre, which in Spain corresponded to today's United States Medal of Honor.

At upper right, Mission San Francisco de Espada represents the works of the Spanish missionaries.

The eagle on the lower left represents both the Aztec eagle of Mexico and the American bald eagle.

At lower right, the cannon represents the battles for independence of the Republic of Texas as well as the Texan support of the Confederacy in the Civil War.

The coronet surmounting the quadrants of the shield represents a duke of Spain.

The coat of arms was designed by Thomas A. Wilson and illustrated by Ramon Vasquez y Sanchez, with the cooperation and approval of the Spanish government and appropriate organizations in both Texas and Spain. It was confirmed and approved by Fernando Muñoz Altea, King of Arms of the Royal House of Borbón-Two Sicilies.

Coat of Arms

The Coat of Arms is still used today in variation by several Bexar County departments.

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