State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols: A Historical Guide

By Benjamin F. Shearer; Jerrie Yehling Smith et al. | Go to book overview

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State and Territory Names and Nicknames

The names of the states taken all together honor the important players in the early exploration and history of the nation. Georgia, the Virginias, the Carolinas, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Maryland, among others, were named by the English. Maine, Vermont, and Louisiana were named by the French. The Spanish left their names to Florida, Colorado, California, Nevada, and Texas. The Dutch were responsible for naming Rhode Island. The United States honored the first president when it created the state of Washington and the Native Americans displaced by the country's westward expansion when it named Indiana. In fact, the majority of state names are derived from Indian names. From the Choctaw in Alabama, to the Aleuts in Alaska, to the Massachusetts on the East Coast, Indian tribes left their mark on the naming of the states.

Nicknames for the states have come out of particular incidents and events or in an effort to promote state industries, businesses, and tourism. The nicknames listed below are those that have stood the test of time and illustrate some historical or economic fact. Not included here are the many slogans devised by the states to promote a particular industry or image.


ALABAMA

The Alabama River was named after the Indian tribe that was settled in central Alabama when early European explorers first arrived there. The

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State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols: A Historical Guide
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • 1 - State and Territory Names and Nicknames 1
  • Notes 19
  • 2 - State and Territory Mottoes 23
  • Notes 35
  • 3 - State and Territory Seals 39
  • Notes 71
  • 4 - State and Territory Flags 73
  • 5 - State and Territory Capitols 103
  • Notes 125
  • 6 - State and Territory Flowers 129
  • Notes 141
  • 7 - State and Territory Trees 145
  • Notes 164
  • 8 - State and Territory Birds 167
  • Notes 194
  • 9 - State and Territory Songs 197
  • Notes 207
  • 10 - State and Territory Legal Holidays and Observances 209
  • Notes 264
  • 11 - State and Territory License Plates 269
  • Notes 290
  • 12 - State and Territory Postage Stamps 295
  • 13 - Miscellaneous Official State and Territory Designations 309
  • Notes 327
  • 14 - State and Territory Fairs and Festivals 331
  • Notes 385
  • Selected Bibliography of State and Territory Histories 389
  • Index 413
  • About the Authors 438
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