Florida Guide > Miscellaneous
The State Nicknames Part 10
Whenever we visit our villa in Orlando, we cannot help but notice the fascinating number plates on cars which show the state where they are registered. Each number plate shows the state’s nickname, and these nicknames provide a fascinating snapshot of their history, landscape and people.
Both the Missouri and the Mississippi Rivers wind their way across this state, and it was these rivers which helped Missouri to boom, as barges and steamboats used these waterways to move both people and goods. The Missouri Indians named the river Missouri which means ‘canoe haver. ’ It is a fertile state, with vast rivers, rolling hills, wide plains and well watered prairies.
Missouri’s nickname is rather unusual – it is the ‘Show Me State. ’ It is believed that this name originates in the belief that the people of Missouri show common sense, but when and how is not really known. The people of Missouri are regarded as stalwart, a little stubborn but with great common sense.
It has several other less well known names, which are easier to understand. ‘The Cave State, ’ for instance refers to the thousands of caves which are to be found in this state – over 5, 600 are registered and more are still being found. ‘The Lead State, ’ of course, refers to Missouri’s natural resources. It was the premier lead mining area of the world, and Missouri’s state mineral is Galena, the major source of lead ore. Iron ore, too is found in the Iron Mountains, and this led to another nickname – ‘The Iron Mountain State. ’
The Oregon and Santa Fe trails both begin in Missouri, and the Pony Express also originated here, so the name ‘Gateway to the West’ and ‘Mother of the West’ refer to its location and its role in the expansion of the west.
The vast plains of Montana stretch right across the eastern part of this state, with enormous herds of cattle grazing on them, together with buffalo and bison. To the west are the Rocky Mountains, where significant deposits of gold and silver were found in the early 1860’s. The famous Yellowstone Park attracts visitors from far and near to gaze at the majestic scenery, cascading waterfalls, erupting geysers and stunning lakes shaped by glacial ice.
It is no wonder that Montana’s nickname is ‘The Treasure State’ not only for its rich mineral deposits but for the splendid and rugged scenery. The name Bonanza State also reflects Montana’s mineral wealth.
In 1967 the nickname, ‘Big Sly Country’ appeared on license plates, and this was shortened to Big Sky from 1976 to 2000. This nickname refers to the unobstructed skyline that is so common in this beautiful state. Another nickname which is linked to Montana’s wonderful scenery is ‘Land of the Shining Mountains, ’ which is where much of the minerals can be found. This is sometimes referred to as ‘The Mountain State. ’
Two of America’s major rivers, the Columbia and the Missouri begin high up in the Rocky Mountains of Montana , so another nickname, ‘The Headwater State, ’ reflects this fact.
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