Category Archives: State Names

Learn how each state in the United States got its name.

Montana: Land of Mountains

                Montana is one of the larger states but is also one of the least populated.  As one of the more mountainous states in the country it comes as no surprise that the … Continue reading

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Alaska: Bears its native roots

The least populated but largest state in the U.S. was purchased from the Russians in 1867.  The name actually comes from the Aleut word Alaxsxaq which means “the object towards which the action of the sea is directed”.

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Arizona: More sunsine than Florida

Arizona is one of the newer states in the U.S. being admitted in 1912.  The name is derived from a word found the Uto-Aztecan language that means “small spring” –that word is “alĭ ṣonak”.

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Arkansas: “The Natural State”

Similar to the nearby state of Kansas, Arkansas got its name from a derivation of a Quapaw Tribe word meaning “land of downriver people”.  The word is “akakaze” and most likely referred to the Arkansas River.

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Colorado: “The Centennial State”

Being admitted into the Union in 1876 one of Colorado’s most prominent features is the mighty Colorado river that runs through it.  The state was actually named after this river which the Spanish described as “rio Colorado” which translates into … Continue reading

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Connecticut: “The nutmeg state”

Much like Colorado, Connecticut is named for the major river that runs through it, the Connecticut river.  The name is derived from the Algonquian tribal word “quinatucquet” which means “upon the long river”.

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Delaware: The First State

As with many state names there is a tribal origin to Delaware as well.  The first inhabitants were the Lenape Indians also known as the Delaware Indians.

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Hawaii: they’re out there

The peoples that settled the chain of Pacific islands called Hawaii were Polynesians.  They had a word that meant “homeland” and that word is “Sawaiki” which gave rise to the word we know as Hawai’i.

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Idaho: its all about the potatoes

The origination of the name for Idaho is not set in stone but one theory states that it derives from the Nez Perce language and it stands for “the Land of many waters”.

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Indiana: The hoosier state

As the name suggests, Indiana means the “land of Indians”.

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