The Nicknames of U.S. States and Their Origins


The Yellowhammer State
Named after the state bird: The Yellowhammer. 

The Last Frontier
Named after its harsh and wild expanses that have gone unexplored.

The Grand Canyon State
Named after its most well-known tourist attraction: The Grand Canyon.

Natural State
Named after its pristine lakes, streams, and rock formations.

The Golden State
Named after the abundance of a certain precious metal discovered there in the 1800's.

The Centennial State
Named for achieving statehood years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence

The Constitution State
Named after a claim that Connecticut created the first written constitution in history way back in 1638 or so. 

The First State
Named for becoming the first of the original 13 states

The Sunshine State
Named for its sunny, tropical climate and for being in closest proximity to the equator.

The Peach State
Named after the exceptional taste and quality of the peaches grown there. 

The Aloha State
Named after the hospitable nature of the Hawaiian people.

The Gem State
Named for its long history of producing gems, such as garnet, opal, jade, and many more.

The Prairie State
Named for its once having a significant amount of rolling prairies across the state. 

The Hoosier State
Named after... well, no one is really quite sure. 

The Hawkeye State
Named after a character in the 1826 novel 'Last of the Mohicans'  - or a real Native American warrior. Definitely not the bird, though. 

The Sunflower State
Named for the abundance of sunflowers in the state. They can be found in every county. 

The Bluegrass State
Named for the the species of grass found in vast amounts throughout the state. Bluegrass gets its name from the bluish green color the stalks take on when they go to seed. 

The Pelican State
Named for the abundance of pelicans throughout the state. The Pelican is also the state bird.

The Pine Tree State
Named for the abundance of pine forests located in the state. 

The Old Line State
Named after the Maryland militia, which was the oldest organized and best trained militia in the colonies. 

The Bay State
Named after The Massachusetts Bay Company, which governed the New England colonies from 1629-1693. 

The Great Lakes State
Named for having four great lakes touch its shores. Those lakes are Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Superior, and Lake Michigan. 

The North Star State
Named for being the northernmost state in the United States. 

The Magnolia State
Named in honor of the Magnolia tree, which produce beautiful arrays of pink/white flowers and symbolize dignity and nobility. 

The Show Me State
Named to describe Missourians in the late 1800's, as not gullible, conservative, and unwilling to believe without adequate evidence. 

The Treasure State
Named for having rich mineral reserves.

The Cornhusker State
Named to honor the state's major agricultural industry - corn. 

The Silver State
Named after the state's silver mining industry, which was vital to its early history. 

New Hampshire
The Granite State
Named for its abundance of granite.

New Jersey
The Garden State
Named for being a leading producer of cranberries, blueberries, and tomatoes. 

New Mexico
The Land of Enchantment
Named for its natural beauty and rich history. The nickname was also used to attract visitors to the area. 

New York
The Empire State
Named by George Washington who, at the time, referred to New York as the "seat of the Empire" due to the state's wealth, natural resources, and liberty-loving citizens. 

North Carolina
The Tar Heel State
Named to describe the bravery of North Carolinians. In battle, they never backed down or ran from a fight. They held their ground as if they had tar on their heels and stuck in one place. 

North Dakota
The Peace Garden State
Named after the International Peace Garden that overlaps the international border between the US and Canada. It represents the lasting peacefulness between the two nations. 

The Buckeye State
Named for the many Buckeye trees that once covered the land. The Buckeye nut resembles the eye of a deer. 

The Sooner State
Named after the settlers who entered the Unassigned Lands in what is now known as Oklahoma. A 'Sooner' is a person settling on land in the early West before its opening. 

The Beaver State
Named in honor of the Beaver and the admirable qualities of intelligence, industry, and ingenuity that are associated with the animal. 

The Keystone State
Named for being the middle colony of the original thirteen colonies and being held in a key position in the economic, social, and political development of the United States. 

Rhode Island
The Ocean State
Named for its 400 miles of coastline, large bays, and inlets - despite being the smallest state in the US. 

South Carolina
The Palmetto State
Named after the sabal palmetto tree. Coastal forts were constructed from sabal palm wood during the Revolutionary War because the soft material absorbed all impact from cannonballs. 

South Dakota
The Mount Rushmore State
Named after Mount Rushmore, the enormous memorial to Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson. 

The Volunteer State
Named for the overwhelming number of Tennesseans that volunteered to fight during various wars in American history, from the War of 1812 to the Mexican-American War.

The Lone Star State
Named for being independent from Mexico for 10 years before accepting annexation to the United States. 

The Beehive State
Named to represent the hardworking and persevering nature of bees. 

The Green Mountain State
Named after the iconic Green Mountain range that extends from the south to the north of the state. 

The Old Dominion State
Named for being the first colony of England in the Americas. 

The Evergreen State
Named for its physical geography and climate, which supports the growth of deep green forests of pine and fir trees. 

West Virginia
The Mountain State
Named for being the only state completely within the Appalachian Mountain region. Its average elevation is higher than any other state east of the Mississippi River. 

The Badger State
Named in reference to early lead miners, that similar to the badger, dug crude homes into hillsides to find refuge from the scorns of winter. 

The Equality State
Named for its role in establishing equal voting rights for women.

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