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

By Benjamin F. Shearer; Barbara S. Shearer et al. | Go to book overview

has administered the island. Citizenship rights were granted to Guamanians by the 1950 Organic Act of Guam. The unincorporated territory of Guam is America's westernmost frontier, which is why it is known both as "Where America's Day Begins" and "America's Paradise in the Pacific."117


PUERTO RICO

In 1493, during his second voyage, Christopher Columbus discovered an island called Boringuen, which was inhabited by several Indian tribes. He named the island San Juan in honor of St. John the Baptist. The city was called Puerto Rico, meaning "rich port." Later, the names were switched. Puerto Rico has been an American territory since 1898. Puerto Ricans became U.S. citizens in 1917, and in 1952, the island became a semi-autonomous commonwealth voluntarily associated with the United States.118


U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS

The U.S. Virgin Islands lie 1,500 miles south-southeast of New York in the Lesser Antilles. St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John are the three principal islands. Columbus found the islands on his second voyage to the New World, naming them "The Virgins," referring to the beauty of the 11,000 seafaring virgins of St. Ursula. According to legend, St. Ursula agreed to marry a pagan prince at her father's request only after 11,000 of the most beautiful virgins of the two kingdoms were gathered to be her companions for three years. Ursula trained her companions into a fighting force and set off up the Rhine to Basel and from there to Rome on foot. But all were martyred near Cologne in 238 A.D.

The Danish took control of all three islands in 1733. They were purchased on March 31, 1917, by the United States for $25,000,000 from Denmark. Today, the Virgin Islands are an unincorporated territory of the United States and everyone born in the Islands is a U.S. citizen. The Virgin Islands call themselves the "American Paradise."119


NOTES
1.
Alabama State Emblems ( Montgomery: Alabama State Department of Archives and History, n.d.), p. 2; "The Name Alabama," Arrow Points 10 ( January 1925): 19-20.
2.
Alabama State Emblems, pp. 3-4.
3.
J. Ellis Ransom, "Derivation of the Word 'Alaska,'" American Anthropologist 42 ( July-September 1940): 551.
4.
John P. Harrington, "Our State Names," Smithsonian Institution Annual Report ( 1954): 376.
5.
Welcome to Arizona ( Phoenix: Arizona Office of Tourism, n.d.); Harrington , "Our State Names," p. 376; Adlai Feather, "Origin of the Name Arizona," New Mexico Historical Review 39 ( April 1964): 90-100.

-19-

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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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