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Know Why There's a Baby in a Clamshell in the Chicago Seal? Take This Quiz

By  Justin Breen and Tanveer Ali | February 12, 2016 5:37am | Updated on February 15, 2016 8:52am

CHICAGO — Chicago's official city seal is almost 180 years old, and it's likely you don't know what any of it means.

The circular seal, adopted in June 1837, features a ship, an infant inside a clamshell, wheat inside a federal shield, a Native American and a motto in Latin.

The seal has been altered slightly in the years since, but it's mostly the same design, according to the Chicago Public Library. The original design was lost, and the current design was created by Chicago dentist Bernard J. Cigrand in 1905, according to WTTW.

What do the seal's items represent? Take our quiz below. But if you want to cheat, scroll down.

The shield: Represents the national spirit of Chicago.

The ship: The ship, in full sail, is "emblematic of the approach of civilization and commerce." In 1987, the New York Times reported that then Mayor Harold Washington and several black aldermen asked the City Council to remove the ship and replace it with a likeness of Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, who became Chicago's first permanent non-Indian settler. Washington and the aldermen felt the ship "bore a resemblance to the slave ships that plied the coast of Africa," the Times said.

The infant inside a clamshell: Represents "the ancient and classical symbolism of the pearl, and Chicago, situated at the neck of [Lake Michigan] signifies that it shall be 'the gem of the lakes.' " In other words, the baby in the shell is "symbolic of the city as the pearl of the Great Lakes," according to WTTW. Early versions of the seal had the baby floating in a cloud, WTTW said.

The sheaf of wheat: Is "typical of activity and plenty." It also refers to "the fertility of Midwestern land and its value to the country," according to WTTW.

The Native American man: Represents the discoverer of the site of Chicago. The area known as Chicago used to be an "Algonquin area called Shikaakwa," according to WBEZ.

The motto: "Urbs in Horto" a Latin phrase that translates to "City in a Garden." When the city was officially incorporated on March 4, 1837, it had few parks. But in the early 1850s, citizens "began to rally for the creation of the nation's first comprehensive park and boulevard system," according to the Chicago Park District. The Park District now boasts of more than "570 parks, 31 beaches and 50 nature areas." As an aside, in 1987, as the City Council was arguing over the potential seal design change, the Tribune recommended a new motto: "In Hoc Quid Mihi?" — Latin for "What's in it for me?"

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