You’ve probably heard people talk about The Lone Star State (Texas) or The Empire State (New York). Every state in the U.S. has a nickname, and each one has its own little story to tell about the state’s history and the lives of its inhabitants.
For a nickname to catch on, it needs to have a grain of truth in it. That’s why the nicknames of states and provinces often come from the inhabitants and not from tourists.
These affectionate tags are the key to an area’s history. They tell us what their early inhabitants valued about the place they lived. The maps below reveal the best-known or most popular nicknames of every state, province, and territory in Canada and the United States and included are three new maps with their nicknames.
To create the maps, SavingSpot started by identifying three nicknames for each state or province. The next step was to categorize each nickname into one of seven categories: history, agriculture, nature, geography, culture/language, animals, or weather. Once all nicknames had been categorized, SavingSpot picked the best known or most popular nickname for each state or province from the three on the list. With these final selections, the list was sent off to an illustrator who produced the maps you see today.
Just a note that the map is not 100% precise. For example, the map makers forgot to include the Upper Penninsula as part of the state of Michigan. The map maker’s methodology worked in many cases, but locals who are more in the know will likely disagree with some of the final selections. Though not perfect, the maps still make for an interesting read!
Map of Both Canada and the United States
(Scroll down to view each country separately)
The Nicknames of States in the U.S.
“I don’t know what it is about Hoosiers,” Kurt Vonnegut wrote about the people of Indiana, the ‘Hoosier State.’ “But wherever you go there is always a Hoosier doing something very important there.”
The famous writer was a Hoosier himself, and he had fun mythologizing the nickname of Indiana and its residents. But strangely enough, nobody really knows the real source of the name. One explanation? As a state of pioneers, it is speculated that Indiana’s first residents would cautiously yell “who’s yere?” when somebody knocked on their cabin door.
And how did Utah – a city not particularly known for its beehives – come to be nicknamed ‘the Beehive State’? It’s a story that goes back to a misunderstanding of the Bible.
For its Mormon founders, Utah was ‘the land of milk and honey’ promised in the Good Book, hence the honeybee. In fact, there were no honey bees in the Middle East of the Bible. As such, the honey would have come from date fruits. Still, the father of American literature, Mark Twain, came up with a failsafe alternative explanation:
“The Mormon crest was easy,” wrote Twain. “And it was simple, unostentatious and it fitted like a glove. It was a representation of a Golden Beehive, with all the bees at work.”
The Nicknames of Provinces and Territories in Canada
Manitoba used to be around 5% of the size it is today, and it is easy to imagine early colonists feeling hurt by its first nickname: ‘The Postage Stamp Province.’ However, over the years, Manitoban pride expanded with the territory. Today Manitoba has the nickname of ‘the Keystone State.’ This is either because of its shape or its position at the center of Canada. It depends on who you ask.
The territory of Nunavut is known as “Our Land.” The nickname is superficially a simple translation of the Inuktitut word ‘Nunavut.’ It took more than twenty years of negotiation before the Inuit people were able to establish Nunavut Territory in 1999. Indigenous groups had lived on the land for 4,000 years before the Europeans turned up. This explains why, following the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement in the 1990s, the locals expressed their pride with a nickname that echoed the official name: Nunavut, Our Land.
A place’s nickname gives more than the history of the state or province it describes. It tells of the spirit and the feelings of those who call it home.
Source: Shared with permission from CashNetUSA