Special Report

How Each State Got Its Name

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Colorado
> Joined United States: Aug. 1, 1876 (38th state to join)
> Capital: Denver
> Population: 5,818,049

Another state whose name owes it origins to the Spanish is Colorado. The state’s name means “colored red” or “color rojo” in Spanish. It was used for the Colorado River because of the abundance of red sandstone soil in the region.

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Connecticut
> Joined United States: Jan. 9, 1788 (5th state to join)
> Capital: Hartford
> Population: 3,588,683

The Dutch were the first Europeans to reach Connecticut in 1614. But there were already Native Americans in what would become the Nutmeg State. The name “Connecticut” is derived from the Algonquian word “quinnehtukqut” that means “beside the long tidal river.”

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Delaware
> Joined United States: Dec. 7, 1787 (1st state to join)
> Capital: Dover
> Population: 971,180

Delaware, the first state to ratify the Constitution, owes its name to explorer Samuel Argall, who named the Delaware River and Bay for Virginia Gov. Thomas West, Lord De La Warr. The state takes its name from the river and bay.

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Florida
> Joined United States: March 3, 1845 (27th state to join)
> Capital: Tallahassee
> Population: 21,312,211

Famed Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon may not have found the fountain of youth, but he is credited with naming Florida, as the first European to reach it. The region was named by de Leon in 1513 and it comes from the Spanish word “florido,” which means “full of flowers.”

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Georgia
> Joined United States: Jan. 2, 1788 (4th state to join)
> Capital: Atlanta
> Population: 10,545,138

Georgia, founded by James Oglethorpe, was named for King George II of England, who granted the colony its charter in 1732. The –ia suffix means “state of” and comes from the Greek language.