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Florida State Names (Etymology of Names)

Florida Name Etymology and State Nicknames

South

FL 3D MapThe State of Florida is located in the southeastern region of the United States, bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Straits of Florida. The State of Florida is the 22nd most extensive, the 4th most populous, and the 8th most densely populated of the 50 United States.

Florida was first seen by the Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon on Palm Sunday on April 2, 1513 - he then named the "Pascua de Florida," meaning "Feast of Flowers" and claimed it for Spain

Florida nicknames

  • Sunshine State (1970 Legislature)
  • Orange State
  • The Citrus State
  • Everglades State
  • Alligator State (No other state is nicknamed for a reptile.)
  • The Peninsula State
  • The Flower State

Origin of Florida State Name

Florida was named for the day on which it was discovered (April 2, 1513) by Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon, who called it La Florida in honor of Pascua Florida, the Spanish Feast of the Flowers (Easter.)

Six days after Easter in 1513, the Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León landed near what is now the city of Saint Augustine. In honor of the holiday and the area's plant life, he named the land Florida for the Spanish phrase for the Easter season, pascua florida (“feast of flowers”). The name is the oldest surviving European place-name in the U.S.

Florida Nicknames

"Sunshine State" was adopted as the State Nickname by the 1970 Legislature.

Sunshine State

"Sunshine State" was adopted as the State Nickname by the 1970 Legislature. Previously, official sanction for this nickname could be inferred from the law requiring use of Sunshine State on motor vehicle licenses. Florida is the Sunshine State because of the vast amount of sunshine it receives.

Source: Florida Handbook, 1997-1998, by Allen Morris.
For many years, Florida appears as The Sunshine State on its license plates, but this name was only given official status in 1970 when it was officially adopted by the legislature. The nickname is also unofficially claimed by New Mexico and (until 1980) South Dakota.

The Peninsula State

At one time, back in the 1860s, Florida was known as The Peninsula State, for obvious reasons

The Everglades State

Later in the 19th century, it also became known as The Everglades State.

The Orange State and The Citrus State

Florida is a large producer of oranges which led the state to be known as The Orange State (and in one reference, The Citrus State)

The Flower State

The meaning of the state's name ("flowery") led to The Flower State.

The Gulf State

Its location on the east of the Gulf of Mexico led to The Gulf State

Floridas Slogans

  • Discover Your Own Backyard: Florida
  • Visit Florida

Florida Postal Code

  • FL

Florida Resident's Name

  • Floridian - Official (recommended by US GPO)
  • Floridan - Official, unofficial or informal alternates
  • Gator - Official, unofficial or informal alternates
  • Cracker - Official, unofficial or informal alternates
State Names
State Names & Nicknames
The etymologies of some US state names are more obvious than others, derived from the Spanish or French tongue. Though, more than half of the US state names come from Native American tribal languages, with several still a mystery to scholars and historians.


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