Exploring the Meaning Behind Arizona’s State Motto: ‘Ditat Deus’

Have you ever wondered about the meaning behind Arizona’s state motto? ‘Ditat Deus’ is a Latin phrase that has been Arizona’s official state motto since 1911. Translated into English, it means “God Enriches.” But what does this phrase really mean, and why was it chosen to represent the state of Arizona? To truly understand the significance of ‘Ditat Deus,’ we must delve into the history and culture of Arizona. From the state’s rich Native American heritage to the Spanish influence that shaped its identity, there are many layers to this fascinating state motto. Join me as I explore the meaning behind ‘Ditat Deus’ and gain a deeper appreciation for the unique character of Arizona.

Historical background of ‘Ditat Deus’

‘Ditat Deus’ was adopted as the official state motto of Arizona in 1911. At the time, Arizona was a relatively young state, having only become a state in 1912. The motto was chosen by Territorial Secretary Richard E. Sloan, who was inspired by the Latin phrase “Ditat Deus” while attending a church service. The phrase was later recommended by the Arizona Historical Society and was officially adopted by the Arizona State Legislature.

Translating ‘Ditat Deus’: what does it mean?

The phrase ‘Ditat Deus’ is a Latin phrase that translates to “God Enriches” in English. The word “Ditat” is derived from the Latin verb “dare,” which means “to give.” The word “Deus” is the Latin word for “God.” The phrase can be interpreted in many ways, but it is generally understood to mean that God enriches those who believe in Him.

Symbolism and significance of ‘Ditat Deus’

The state motto ‘Ditat Deus’ is a powerful phrase that symbolizes the importance of faith and spirituality in Arizona. It represents the idea that God can provide blessings and enrichment to those who have a strong belief in Him. The phrase is also significant because it reflects the natural beauty of Arizona and its rich cultural history.

How ‘Ditat Deus’ reflects Arizona’s culture and values

Arizona is a state with a rich and diverse cultural heritage. The Native American tribes that have inhabited the region for centuries have a deep connection to the land and a strong belief in spirituality. The Spanish influence that shaped the state’s identity also brought with it a strong Catholic tradition.

The state motto ‘Ditat Deus’ reflects these cultural values and beliefs. It represents the importance of faith and spirituality in Arizona and the idea that God can enrich the lives of those who believe in Him. The phrase also reflects the state’s natural beauty and the idea that the land is a gift from God.

Controversies surrounding the state motto

Like many state mottos, ‘Ditat Deus’ has not been without controversy. Some critics argue that the phrase violates the separation of church and state and that it is inappropriate for a state motto. Others argue that the phrase is exclusionary and does not reflect the diversity of Arizona’s population.

Despite these criticisms, the state motto remains an important symbol of Arizona’s culture and values. Many people in Arizona continue to embrace the phrase and see it as a source of inspiration and hope.

Arizona’s state seal and its connection to ‘Ditat Deus’

image of great seal of the state of arizona
Image Source: AZ Animals

The state seal of Arizona also has a connection to the state motto ‘Ditat Deus.’ The seal features a design of a miner, a cow, and a cotton plant, which represent the three main industries of Arizona: mining, agriculture, and cattle ranching. The design is surrounded by the words “Great Seal of the State of Arizona” and “Ditat Deus,” which symbolize the importance of God’s blessings in these industries.

Other state mottos and their meanings

Arizona is not the only state with a Latin state motto. Many states have adopted Latin phrases as their official state mottos. For example, Montana’s state motto is “Oro y Plata” which means “Gold and Silver” in Spanish. This reflects the state’s rich mining history.

California’s state motto is “Eureka,” which means “I have found it” in Greek. This phrase was reportedly shouted by a miner who had discovered gold in California.

Using ‘Ditat Deus’ in modern times

Despite the controversies surrounding the state motto, ‘Ditat Deus’ continues to be an important symbol of Arizona’s culture and values. The phrase is often used in official state documents and is displayed prominently on the state seal.

In recent years, the phrase has also been used by various organizations and groups in Arizona. For example, the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team uses the phrase “God Enriches” as a slogan on their team merchandise.


In conclusion, ‘Ditat Deus’ is a powerful state motto that symbolizes the importance of faith and spirituality in Arizona. The phrase reflects the state’s rich cultural heritage and natural beauty. Despite the controversies surrounding the motto, it remains an important symbol of Arizona’s identity and values.

By: Priyanka Shah

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