The State Nicknames Part 4

Florida Guide > Florida History

In the USA, each state has a different license plate, and on this is a state motto or nickname. They provide a fascinating insight into the state’s history, people or animals. Here are some more of these state nicknames, for Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho and Illinois.


It comes as no surprise that Florida is called the ‘Sunshine State’ but it has a number of different nicknames, including the ‘Alligator State, ’ the ‘Citrus State, ’ the ‘Manatee State’ and ‘God’s Waiting Room. ’ Most of these names are self explanatory as Florida is for example home to the manatee, that slow and graceful creature which over-winters in the warm waters of the St John River. ‘God’s Waiting Room’ refers to the huge number of elderly people who choose to retire to this sunny state.


If you see a number plate from this state you will see the words ‘Georgia, on My Mind’ which refers to the song of the same name. However, Georgia is also known as the ‘Peach State, ’ because of the importance of peaches in the Georgian agricultural economy. The peach became the official state fruit of Georgia in 1995, and its name reflects the growers’ reputation for producing very high quality fruit. Another state nickname was the ‘Goober State, ’ which refers to the official state crop of peanuts – peanuts being known as goobers. A less well-known name is the ‘Buzzard State. ’ Georgia passed a strict law for the protection of these scavengers, as they were considered to be a necessary part of the ecology of the state.


Hawaii is sometimes called the ‘Youngest State, ’ for obvious reasons, but the nickname to be currently used on license plates is ‘Aloha State. ’ Aloha, of course, means hello or goodbye, and it can be used as a greeting or a farewell.

Other nicknames include ‘Paradise of the Pacific, ’ the ‘Pineapple State’ and the ‘Rainbow State. ’


The state nickname ‘Gem State’ reflects its abundance of natural resources. Apparently when Congress designated the Idaho territory in 1863 it did so in the mistaken belief that Idaho was a Shoshone word meaning ‘Gem of the Mountains. ’ Despite this misunderstanding it continues to be called the ‘Gem State’ or the ‘Gem of the Mountains. ’Its famous potatoes also gave it the nickname ‘The Potato State. ’


The current nickname found on state license plates is ‘Land of Lincoln, ’ as this is the state where Abraham Lincoln began his political career, although he was actually born in Kentucky. He ran for the General Assembly in 1832 but was unsuccessful, but eventually was elected to four terms. He lived in Illinois when he was elected as president in 1861. It has also been called the ‘Prairie State’, and the ‘Corn State. ’ The ‘Prairie State’ dates back to 1842, when most of the state was covered with prairie grasses. Corn, of course, played a very important part in the agricultural economy of Illinois. Its old nickname, ‘The Garden of the West, ’ or the ‘Garden State, ’ was the result of the miles of cultivated fields and rolling prairies which made it one of the leading producers of corn and later, soya beans, in the USA. In fact, Illinois sets aside the third full week in September each year as Illinois Prairie Week, to show the value of preserving and re-establishing the Illinois prairies.

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