Hawaii: they’re out there

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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

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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

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

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Iowa: America’s Heartland

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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

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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

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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

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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!

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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 were, of course, tribal peoples inhabiting the area now known as Georgia before an outsiders came.  When the British came to the area they were led by a General known as James Oglethorpe.  In 1733 Oglethorpe founded what would be known as the Georgia colony which was named after King George II (he was the last British monarch to be born outside of Great Britain).  Despite being known for its peaches Georgia is actually the world’s leader in the production of pecans.  Interestingly, Columbus, Georgia is where the international beverage producer Coca-Cola first began selling its carbonated drink.

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Maine: Vacationland

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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 much time in the Orkney Islands where the primary island is called the mainland –Maine could be derived from that reference.

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Maryland: The Chesapeake Bay state

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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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