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Hey Matt!

Why are the states named as they are, i.e., Ohio, Texas, Utah, and so on? Where did these names come from? Why didn't they get simple names like Bob or George?

-- Darth Morg, the net

Who knows what people were thinking a couple of hundred years ago. But rather than give you a tedious state-by-state explanation, the elves came up with some handy categories for the histories. The biggest includes names based on Native American words. I guess the thinking was they won't mind so much when we take the land away from them if we just name the place after them. In most cases, the names are Anglicized manglings of native language and not necessarily the name given to the area by the original inhabitants. These states are AL, AK, AZ, AR, CT, HI, IL, IA, KS, KY, MA, MI, MN, MO, MS, ND, NE, OH, OK, SD, TN, TX, UT, WI, and WY. The second biggest category involves states named after English or French bigwigs, their wives, or their ancestral lands: DE, GA, LA, ME, MD, NC, PA, SC, VA and WV. In the Spanish words category: CO, MT, NV, FL. Homesick for native lands category: NJ, NH, NY, NM. The Duh! category: IN (land of Indians). The Huh? Category, in which the name was made up (ID) or unknown (OR). Homesick for somebody else's native land category: RI (island of Rhodes, Greece). French words: VT (vert mont). Honoring famous Americans: WA. A fantasy land in a 500-year-old Spanish novel: that would be us, CA.

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