North Star StateEquality StatePeach StateSilver StateEvergreen StateSunflower StateLand of LincolnEmpire StateOld DominionLand of Enchantment* Drag / drop or click on the choices above to move them to the answer list.
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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Empire State
New York was originally named after the Duke of York after the English acquired what the Dutch had called New Netherland in 1664. Although some state nicknames are based on legends and conjecture, a note exists that George Washington wrote to the New York Common Council in 1785. He had been given the Freedom of the City, a tradition that existed in England for several hundred years, and still does. It is an honor that is comparable to being given the Key to the City or Honorary Citizenship.
In the note Washington called New York "the Seat of the Empire". Why? Maybe it was because New York had a larger population than Virginia, or perhaps it was due to the wealth that was there. The nickname was reportedly used there by 1819.
2. Old Dominion
In this case, a dominion is a territory controlled by a ruler. The first successful English colony in North America was Jamestown, Virginia, founded in 1607. It was the first overseas dominion of the British monarchy in North America.
The story regarding the use of this nickname is that after the throne was returned to Charles II during the Restoration in 1660 he called Virginia his "loyal old dominion". During the English Civil War (1642-1652) and the Interregnum (1649-1660) Charles II was in exile, but Virginia continued to assert its loyalty for the deposed monarch.
Virginia is also known as the Mother of Presidents and the Mother of States.
3. Peach State
It is believed that monks introduced peach trees on the islands off Georgia's coast as early as 1571. The rich soil yielded a very sweet tasting peach that people on both sides during the Civil War enjoyed.
After the Civil War and the abolition of slavery, farmers in Georgia needed to find a different crop that was not as labor intensive to grow as cotton. It was at that time that Georgia began to cultivate a reputation for growing quality fruits - especially peaches. Although there may be some neighboring states that grow more peaches today, Georgia farmers have a reputation for hybridizing and producing different varieties.
Georgia is also called the Empire State of the South.
4. Land of Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States, was born in Kentucky and raised in Indiana before he moved to Illinois in 1831. By then he was twenty-two years old and on his own. He lived there for thirty-one years, practicing law, and serving in the Illinois General Assembly and the U.S. House of Representatives.
Lincoln was President of the United States during the Civil War, which was a very difficult task. In 1863 he issued the Emancipation Proclamation and outlawed slavery. Today his name is still a powerful symbol of many virtues, including honesty and integrity. Even though he was not born in Illinois, he is deeply connected to the state. Illinois adopted the nickname Land of Lincoln in 1955.
Illinois is also called the Prairie State.
5. Sunflower State
Sunflowers are indigenous to North America and enjoy the climate in many different regions. Kansas has the right soil and abundant sunshine that is needed to grow these beautiful flowers. In fact, sources claim that sunflowers are grown in every county in Kansas!
Sunflowers are important in Kansas for many reasons. The wildlife, such as deer, birds, and rabbits, will eat the sunflower seeds. Cattle also enjoy the seeds in their feed. Humans, of course, also benefit from sunflower seeds that are processed into cooking oil and flour, and enjoy eating them after they are roasted with a bit of salt.
Sunflowers became the state flower of Kansas in 1903, and have been displayed on the state flag since 1927. Another nickname for Kansas is The Jayhawker State.
6. North Star State
I know what you're thinking! This is not the nickname of Minnesota! But it is the official one! Its nickname is derived from the phrase, "l'étoile du nord", star of the north, which is found on the state seal and flag. By the way, Minnesota is the only U.S. state with a motto in French! That is because French explorers, missionaries, trappers, and traders had an early impact on the European settlement of the state.
Anyway, the name is derived from the fact that Minnesota was the northernmost state at the time it joined the Union in 1858. The French phrase on the seal was adopted in 1861.
One site claimed that Minnesota actually has seven nicknames! These include The Land of 10,000 Lakes and The Gopher State.
7. Land of Enchantment
If you have ever been to New Mexico, you know that this is true. There is a lot of natural beauty to see there. Its nickname was chosen because state officials wanted to promote travel and tourism in the state. The nickname was taken from a Lillian Whiting book that was written in 1906. The title was "Land of Enchantment: From Pike's Peak to the Pacific", so it described other states in addition to New Mexico.
But only New Mexico used the name. By 1935 travel brochures with the phrase were distributed, and in 1941 the nickname was put on license plates. It was officially adopted as the state nickname in 1990.
Other nicknames for New Mexico include The Land of Opportunity and The Sunshine State.
8. Equality State
Why, oh why?! I once heard that a teacher told his students that this was a way to remember that Wyoming was the first U.S. state to extend voting rights to women! That happened in 1869. It must be stated, however, that the extension of voting rights had more to do with having enough people in the territory to vote, so that Wyoming could continue on its path to statehood than treating women equally.
Don't get me wrong! I don't mean to minimize the importance of Wyoming's contribution, because it did set off a chain reaction for women in other states to also receive voting rights.
Wyoming is also known as The Suffrage State and The Cowboy State.
9. Silver State
Silver was discovered at Comstock Lode in Nevada, which at the time was part of the Utah Territory, in 1858. The discovery, the first major unearthing of the precious ore in the United States, led to a silver rush in the future state. In some areas, the silver was found on the surface of the earth, and all miners had to do was shovel it into their buckets.
It didn't take long for the easy-to-acquire silver to be mined out, but mines were established in other parts of the state, and proved to be an invaluable resource to the Union cause during the Civil War. The federal government pushed for the statehood of Nevada in 1864.
Nevada is also called The Battle Born State and The Sagebrush State.
10. Evergreen State
Did you know that Washington is the only state in the United States that is named after a President? Its nickname is derived from that fact that it is covered with fir and pine forests; it is estimated that about 50% of the state's land area is forested. The nickname was first used by state historian and realtor, C.T. Conover, in 1890, and it was signed into law in 1893.