Can you name all 50 American States? Or, for extra points, deserve to you define How they acquired Their names in the an initial place?! we take a look at at their fascinating and also varied origins.

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States called after their aboriginal communities

When it involved christening their newly "discovered" land, numerous of the Europeans who colonised regions of America determined to name them after ~ the aboriginal American people who already resided there.

Alabama: The upper stretches of the river in contemporary Alabama to be the residence of the native American tribe "The Alabama" or "Albaamaha" in their very own tribal language. The river and also state both took your name.

Alaska: Initially inhabited by the Aleuts - a name offered to castle by Russian hair traders in the mid 18th century.

Arkansas: French Explorers come accompanied through Illinois Indian travel guide who referred to the native people there together "wind people" or Akansa.

Illinois: This is the contemporary spelling because that the surname the beforehand French explorers" offered the civilization they discovered living in the area.

Indiana: literally way "land of the Indians" , the name offered by white settlers.

Iowa: This state was named after the Ioway tribe who live there, back "Iowa" was also the word for beautiful in their aboriginal language.

Kansas: The Kansa people, or "people of the southern wind" inspired the name of this state.

Massachusetts: named after the area"s native people, the Massachusetts, which converts to "those close to the an excellent hill," introduce to the Blue Hills southwest that Boston.

Missouri: The state and the River space both called after the Missouri people, a southerly Siouan people that lived along the river.

Dakota: take away its name from the Dakota, a people of Siouan human being who stayed in the region. The word way “friend” or “ally” in the language the the Sioux.

Oklahoma: A combination of the Choctaw indigenous ucla “person” and also humá “red”. The word was supplied by the Choctaw to explain Native Americans, “red persons.

Utah: obtained from the surname of the aboriginal tribe recognized as the Nuutsiu or Utes meaning “they that are higher up”), who the Spanish first encountered in modern Utah in the late 1500s. In the tribe’s language, ute means “Land that the Sun.”


Named after the landscape



The rich and also varied landscape of the United states provided good inspiration for many of the settlers once it came to naming the land.

Arizona: The State to be rumoured to be called after the Basque "ariz onak", definition "good oak" together the oak trees reminded the Basque inhabitants of your homeland.

Colorado: This is a Spanish adjective that way "red", given to the area after ~ the reddish silt the river water carried down native the mountains.

Connecticut: Originally called "Quinnitukqut" through the Mohegans that lived there, an interpretation "long flow place".

Florida: The Spanish conquistador landed in Florida in 1513 and also named it after the Spanish phrase for the Easter season, "pascua florida" - "feast the flowers". It"s the oldest surviving European location name in the US.

Maine: that may have been merely named by seafarers calling it "the mainland" to distinguish it native the many islands turn off the coast. However, Maine"s state legislature claims it was called after the French province of Maine.

Michigan: The state take away its surname from the Lake. Michigan is a French derivative the the Ojibwa indigenous "misshikama", which translates to "big lake".

Montana: A variation of the Spanish "montaña", or "mountain," a name applied because of its countless mountain ranges -3,510 peaks in total.

Nevada: The state"s surname is the Spanish word because that "snowfall" and also refers to the Sierra Nevada "snow-covered mountains".

Ohio: A French traveller’s account the visiting the an ar in 1750 described the Ohio River together “une belle riviere” and gave its local Indian name together Ohio. People took his description of the river as a translate in of the Indian name, though there is no evidence that the was correct. In fact, ohio is much more likely a Wyandot word definition “large/great”.

Oregon: obtained from the French "ouragan" meaning“hurricane” because French explorers referred to as the Columbia flow "le fleuve aux organs", “Hurricane River”, as result of the strong winds in the Columbia Gorge.

Vermont: acquired from the French words vert “green” and mont “mountain”. Samuel Peters declared that the christened the land through that name in 1763 when standing on optimal of a mountain. Most chroniclers disagree, believing the name to it is in in storage of the eco-friendly Mountain Boys, one organisation developed to resist brand-new York’s attempted take-over of the area.

Named in honour the royalty and also other crucial figures



The europe who settled in various parts that the states normally had to inquiry permission, or legit charter, indigenous the leader of their country to develop a colony. As means of thanks, they regularly named the state in your honour.

Delaware: Both the river and and just were called for Sir cutting board West, 3rd Baron De La Warr, the an initial colonial governor to travel the flow in 1610.

Georgia: called after King George II (see pictured) for granting charter to the colony.

Louisiana: The state was named by the French settlers after King luigi XIV of France, 1643-1715.

Maryland: The English swarm was called for Queen Henrietta Maria, the wife of King Charles I, who granted Maryland"s charter.

New York: Both the state and brand-new York City were named for James Stuart, fight it out of York and future King James II that England.

North and also South Carolina: King Charles II the England, who granted a charter to start a swarm in modern-day North Carolina, called the land in honor of his father, Charles I.

Pennsylvania: named in honour the Admiral wilhelm Penn. The land was granted come Penn’s son, wilhelm Penn, to pay off a blame owed by the crown to the an elderly Penn. The name is made up of "Penn" and also "sylva", definition “woods”, to obtain “Penn"s Woodland.”

Virginia: named for Queen Elizabeth ns of England, the Virgin Queen, that granted Walter Raleigh the charter to form a nest north of Spanish Florida.How every 50 States gained Their Names

West Virginia: The state was created from 39 Virginia counties whose residents voted to kind a new state fairly than join Virginia. The was named after the exact same queen as the state it break-up from, though was initially going to be called Kanawha.

Washington: called in respect of the first president of the united States, George Washington.


Named ~ its original indigenous name

The locations that currently had native American settlements, also currently had names. Many of the Europeans who colonised these areas simply adjusted them come their very own dialect.

Hawaii: Though nobody is entirely sure wherein the name for Hawaii come from, it"s possibly from the name "Hawaiki", the the native human being gave it. The word is a link of "hawa" - "homeland", and "ii" - "small, or active". But others think it"s after ~ Hawaii Loa, the Polynesian who legacy says found the islands.

Idaho: The state is believed to have been named after a source of the Shoshone Indian term, ee-da-how an interpretation "gem that the mountains, or the Apaceh word idaahe - enemy.

Kentucky: It"s thought the name comes from various words indigenous the Iroquoian language group, definition "prairie" or "field".

Minnesota: This word derived from the Dakota tribe"s name for the Minnesota River, "mnisota". It to be a mix of "mini" an interpretation "water" and also "sota" meaning "cloudy" or "muddy".

Mississippi: The French source of the Ojibwa native "messipi" which method "big river."

New Mexico: together with the nation it used to be component of, Mexico, it takes its name from Nahuatl word "mexihco". The an interpretation of the word isn"t totally agreed - It could reference Mextli, an alternate name for the god of war and patron of the Aztecs. It’s additionally been said that the word is a combination of mtztli “moon” and also xictli “centre”, an interpretation “place in ~ the center of the moon”.

Tennessee: named after the either the Cherokee town called Tanasi (in present-day Monroe County, Tennessee), or the aboriginal American town (in modern-day Tanasqui, Tennessee)

Texas: The natives of eastern Texas originally dubbed the area Teysha prior to the come of the Spanish.

Wisconsin: obtained from Meskousing, the name applied to the Wisconsin river by the Algonquian-speaking tribes in the region.

Wyoming: acquired from the Delaware Lenape Indian word "mecheweami-ing", an interpretation “on the large plains”, which the tribe offered to refer their home region in Pennsylvania i beg your pardon was at some point named the Wyoming Valley.


Named ~ myth and also legend

There"s no location like home. Other than your new home! fairly unimaginatively, some settlers chose to name their new land after their childhood homes.

New Hampshire: man Mason named the area he obtained in a land provide after the English county of Hampshire, wherein he had actually lived for number of years as a child.

New Jersey: called after the british Island Jersey by its co-founder Sir john Berkeley and Sir George Carteret. Carteret to be born ~ above Jersey and served as its Lieutenant governor for several years.

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Rhode Island: The surname was first used in a letter by Italian traveler Giovanni da Verrazzano, in which he compares it to the island the Rhodes in the Mediterranean. The explanation preferred by the state government is that Dutch explorer Adrian Block called the area Roodt Eylandt “red island” in recommendation to the red clay that lined the shore and the name was later on anglicised under british rule.


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