Category Archives: State Names

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

Iowa: America’s Heartland

One of the Indian tribes that inhabited the area prior to outside settlement was the Ioway tribe hence the name Iowa.

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Kansas: a river runs through it

Kansas is essentially named after the river that runs through it, the Kansas River, and the Kansas river is name after the Kansa Indian tribe.  Kansa means “people of the south wind”.

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Kentucky: Bluegrass abounds

Prior to being called Kentucky, the region was known as Catawba the modern name for the state was derived from an Iroquois word meaning “meadow land”.

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Louisiana: No shortage of pelicans

As the name suggests the state was named after the king of France, King Louis XIV.  The explorer La Salle named the area “La Louisiane” which meant “land of Louis”.

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Georgia: What a peach!

As the 8th most populated state in the U.S. Georgia has a lot to offer especially when it comes to history.  Georgia was actually one of the original 13 colonies and was later one of the original 7 confederate states.  There … Continue reading

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Maine: Vacationland

Maine has the distinction of being the only state in the U.S. with a one syllable name.  The origins of the name are in question as there is no clear explanation.  Several theories suggest that the namer’s of the area had spent … Continue reading

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Maryland: The Chesapeake Bay state

Charles I of England had a wife named Henrietta Maria who was from France.  It was decided that this new colony in the Americas should be named after Henrietta so in 1632 it took its name “Terra Maria”- Mary’s Land.

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Massachusetts: or is it Taxachusetts?

Massachusetts, like many states, has its name roots in the Native Americans.  Massachusetts is named after the Massachusetts Indians who lived there and the name translates into “the people who live near the great hill”.

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Mississippi: long name, long river

It would seem that states are named after one of three things: the Indians, the British, or the rivers that run through it.  Mississippi gets its name from the Ojibwe word for “great river” –misi-ziibi.

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Missouri- the show me state

The tribal people for which the state is named are the Missouri Indians but they were originally called the ouemessourita by the Miami-Illinois Indians.  The name means “those who have dugout canoes”.

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