Massachusetts: or is it Taxachusetts?

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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

mississippi state flag

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

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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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Nebraska: we got corn

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One of the rivers that runs through Nebraska is called the Platte River.  It just so happens that the state gets its name from the Omaha Indians that called the river “Ní Btháska” which means “flat water”.

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Nevada: the silver state

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This western, desert state is named after the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  In Spanish the name translates into “snow-capped mountain range”.

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New Hampshire: not “old” Hampshire

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Even though New Hampshire was named after a county in England called Hampshire it was still the first colony to break away from British control in the late 1700’s.

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New Jersey: New owners and a new name

New Jersey state flag

Originally known as New Netherland when controlled by the Dutch it later became known as the Province of New Jersey by the British that took over the area.

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New Mexico: there’s gold in them thar hills

new mexico state flag

When the Europeans started showing up in the region now known as New Mexico the Pueblo people were common in the area.  The region apparently had gold and one gold seeker explored areas north of Mexico in the late 1500’s and called it Nuevo Mexico or New Mexico.

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North Carolina: The Tarheel state

north carolina state flag

In England in the late 1600’s King Charles II regained the throne after the “Wars of the Three Kingdoms”.  For their loyalty he awarded several lords land that was called Carolina.  The land was named for King Charles as Carolus is the latin version of Charles.

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North Dakota: watch out for no-dakers!

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North Dakota was named for a tribe of Sioux Indians known as the Dakota (also associated with North and South Dakota are the Lakota Indians).

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