Special Report

How Each State Got Its Name

Source: IveGoneAway / Wikimedia Commons

Kansas
> Joined United States: Jan. 29, 1861 (34th state to join)
> Capital: Topeka
> Population: 2,918,515

Kansas gets its name from the Native American Kaws or Kansa people, also a Sioux tribe. They derived the name from the Sioux word for “southwind.” The Kansa people are also referred to as “people of the south wind.”

Source: Tammie Jordan / Getty Images

Kentucky
> Joined United States: June 1, 1792 (15th state to join)
> Capital: Frankfort
> Population: 4,472,265

There are several different theories regarding the name “Kentucky,” though it has a Native American origin. Kentucky comes from the Iroquois word “ken-tah-ten,” which means “land of tomorrow.” The other possible meanings for “Kentucky” that derive from the Iroquois language are: “meadow,” “prairie,” and “the river of blood.”

Source: pamela_d_mcadams / Getty Images

Louisiana
> Joined United States: April 30, 1812 (18th state to join)
> Capital: Baton Rouge
> Population: 4,682,509

There is no disputing the origin of Louisiana’s name. The home of Cajun cooking and jazz music was named in honor of King Louis XIV of France, the Sun King, by explorer René-Robert Cavelier in the mid-1600s.

Source: Doug Kerr / Wikimedia Commons

Maine
> Joined United States: March 15, 1820 (23rd state to join)
> Capital: Augusta
> Population: 1,341,582

Maine’s name might have originated from Royal Navy mariners Ferdinando Gorges and John Mason, who received a charter for what would become Maine and used the name to differentiate the mainland from the islands around it.

Source: Coast-to-Coast / Getty Images

Maryland
> Joined United States: April 28, 1788 (7th state to join)
> Capital: Annapolis
> Population: 6,079,602

The state of Maryland, which as a colony, was founded as a haven for Catholics persecuted in England, was named to honor Queen Henrietta Maria, the Catholic wife of England’s King Charles I.

Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.