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Florida Guide > Miscellaneous

The State Nicknames Part 5

Never having visited the States before, on our first trip to Florida we were fascinated to see that all the cars had license plates which showed their state of origin. Of course, Florida is a magnet to holidaymakers from all over the USA so on our first visit we pretty soon managed to see numerous different plates, and so started our obsession. We have continued to look for the few plates that we have not seen – and now we only have a couple to go. They are interesting in the pictures they show as well as the state nicknames they display. Take a look yourself and see for yourselves how many different plates you can find. Here are the nicknames of Indiana, Iowa, and Kansas.

Indiana

Way back in the 1830’s the ‘Hoosier State’ came into general usage. There are many explanations for this nickname, but most are quite illogical, so there is no real answer, although it has been suggested that Hoosier may have been used contemptuously to refer to the people of Indiana. It was once called the ‘Crossroads of America, ’ and the ‘Hospitality State. ’

Iowa

Often called the ‘Hawkeye State, ’ this nickname is said to have come from the scout, Hawkeye, in the book Last of the Mohicans, written by James Fenimore Cooper in 1826. It is also called the ‘Corn State, ’ and of course this pays tribute to its vast corn crop, as it is one of the leading producer of corn in the USA. Sometiimes referred to as the ‘Land of the Rolling Prairie, ’ Iowa has vast rolling prairies that covered the state. Iowa has warm summers and this combined with wet springs make it the ideal climate for the growing of corn and soyabeans.

Kansas

Nicknamed the ‘Sunflower State, ’ Kansas has numerous nicknames. With its vast plains and prairies Kansas is the breadbasket of the country, growing more wheat than any other state. Dodge City became home to the largest cattle market in the world, and today cattle, corn, wheat and soyabeans are the basis of its agricultural economy. Sunflowers grow in profusion across the state, and the sunflower is the official state flower, so it is hardly surprising that Kansas took the nickname of this flower for its licence plates.

Kansas has also been known as the ‘Wheat State’ which, of course, refers to it being the number one state for wheat produced and wheat flour milled in 2000. With the geographical centre of the United States being in Kansas in the town of Lebanon, it is not surprising that it is also called ‘Midway, USA. ’ It has also been called ‘The Central State. ’

However, one of its most descriptive nicknames is the ‘Cyclone State’ due to it having weather conditions which are conducive to tornadoes or cyclones, and Kansas certainly does get its fair share of ‘twisters. ’ It also suffered at the hands of another natural disaster when swarms of grasshoppers (Rocky Mountain Locusts) swept into Kansas in 1874 denuding the lush landscapes, so its nickname ‘The Grasshopper State’ is pretty self-explanatory. A more pleasant nickname is ‘Garden of the West’ which refers to its beautiful landscapes and fertile soil.

‘The Squatter State’ is a fascinating reference to the new settlers who flocked into Kansas to establish claims to the land. These early squatters were from the slave states of Missouri, and an extraordinary number of people from Missouri staked a claim in this new territory. Sadly, Kansas experienced some turbulent years leading up to the civil war, when it became known as ‘Bleeding Kansas’ because of the violent conflicts between anti-slavery and pro-slavery factions. Its modern-day nickname of the ‘Sunflower State’ is certainly a happier title.

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Page added on: 11 October 2010
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