State Nicknames and their Explanation

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Alabama
Alabama has been known as the “Yellowhammer State” since the Civil War. The yellowhammer nickname was applied to the Confederate soldiers from Alabama when a company of young cavalry soldiers from Huntsville, under the command of Rev. D.C. Kelly, arrived at Hopkinsville, KY, where Gen. Forrest's troops were stationed. The officers and men of the Huntsville company wore fine, new uniforms, whereas the soldiers who had long been on the battlefields were dressed in faded, worn uniforms. On the sleeves, collars and coattails of the new calvary troop were bits of brilliant yellow cloth. As the company rode past Company A , Will Arnett cried out in greeting "Yellowhammer, Yellowhammer, flicker, flicker!" The greeting brought a roar of laughter from the men and from that moment the Huntsville soldiers were spoken of as the "yellowhammer company." The term quickly spread throughout the Confederate Army and all Alabama troops were referred to unofficially as the "Yellowhammers."
source: http://www.archives.state.al.us/emblems/st_bird.html

Alaska
Alaska is called “The Last Frontier”, because of its opportunities and many lightly settled regions, and the “Land of the Midnight Sun”, because the sun shines nearly around the clock during Alaskan summers.
source: Encarta

Arizona
Arizona’s most famous nickname “The Grand Canyon State” celebrates its most famous natural feature, the Grand Canyon. Arizona's other nickname “Copper State” celebrates its fabulous mineral wealth.
source: http://www.azag.gov/ChildrensPage/5_8Arizona.html

Arkansas
Officially known as “The Natural State”, Arkansas is known throughout the country for its natural beauty, clear lakes and streams and abundance of natural wildlife.
source: http://www.sosweb.state.ar.us/aboutark/

California
“The Golden State” has long been a popular designation for California and was made the official State Nickname in 1968. It is particularly appropriate since California's modern development can be traced back to the discovery of gold in 1848 and fields of golden poppies can be seen each spring throughout the state. The Golden State Museum is also the name of a new museum slated to open in late 1998 at the California State Archives in Sacramento. The museum's exhibits will bring to life the momentous events of California's history through a series of innovative, interpretive exhibits.
source: http://www.library.ca.gov/history/cahinsig.html

Colorado
Colorado has been nicknamed the “Centennial State” because it became a state in the year 1876, 100 years after the signing of our nation's Declaration of Independence. Colorado also is called “Colorful Colorado” presumably because of it's magnificent scenery of mountains, rivers and plains. This phrase has decorated maps, car license plates, tourist information centers and souvenirs of all kinds!
source: http://www.archives.state.co.us/arcembl.html

Connecticut
Connecticut was designated the “Constitution State” by the General Assembly in 1959. As early as the 19th Century, John Fiske, a popular historian from Connecticut, made the claim that the Fundamental Orders of 1638/39 were the first written constitution in history. Some contemporary historians dispute Fiske's analysis. However, Simeon E. Baldwin, a former Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court, defended Fiske's view of the Fundamental Orders in Osborn's History of Connecticut in Monographic Form by stating that "never had a company of men deliberately met to frame a social compact for immediate use, constituting a new and independent commonwealth, with definite officers, executive and legislative, and prescribed rules and modes of government, until the first planters of Connecticut came together for their great work on January 14th, 1638-9." The text of the Fundamental Orders is reproduced in Section I of this volume and the original is on permanent display at the Museum of Connecticut History at the State Library. Connecticut has also been known as the “Nutmeg State”, the “Provisions State”, and the “Land of Steady Habits”.
source: http://www.state.ct.us/sots/RegisterManual/SectionX/Misc7.htm

Delaware
“The First State”: Delaware is known by this nickname due to the fact that on December 7, 1787, it became the first of the 13 original states to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
“The Diamond State”: This nickname was given to Delaware, according to legend, by Thomas Jefferson because he described Delaware as a "jewel" among states due to its strategic location on the Eastern Seaboard.
“Blue Hen State”: This nickname was given to Delaware after the fighting Blue Hen Cocks that were carried with the Delaware Revolutionary War Soldiers for entertainment during Cock fights.
“Small Wonder”: This nickname is basically a new nickname. It was given to Delaware due to its size and the contributions it has made to our country as a whole and the beauty of Delaware.
source: http://www.state.de.us/facts/history/delfact.htm

Florida
“Sunshine State” was adopted as the State Nickname by the 1970 Legislature. Previously, official sanction for this nickname could be inferred from the law requiring use of Sunshine State on motor vehicle licenses."
source: Florida Handbook, 1997-1998, by Allen Morris.

Georgia
Georgia is known as the “Peach State” because of the growers' reputation for producing the highest quality fruit. The peach became the official state fruit in 1995.
source: http://www.sos.state.ga.us/museum/html/state_fruit.html

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