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Minnesota Symbols
Minnesota Greeting: The skyline of Minneapolis is seen against a red, almost mauve, sky and a large orange moon. In the foreground is a common loon, the state bird.

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Minnesota State Names (Etymology of Names)

Minnesota Name Origin and State Nicknames

Midwest

MN 3D Map: State Name OriginMinnesota is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the 32nd state on May 11, 1858. Minnesota is the northernmost U.S. state apart from Alaska; its isolated Northwest Angle in Lake of the Woods is the only part of the 48 contiguous states lying north of the 49th parallel. The state is part of the U.S. region known as the Upper Midwest and part of North America's Great Lakes Region. It shares a Lake Superior water border with Michigan and a land and water border with Wisconsin to the east. Iowa is to the south, North Dakota and South Dakota are to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Manitoba are to the north. With 86,943 square miles (225,180 km2), or approximately 2.25% of the United States, Minnesota is the 12th-largest state

Minnesota is from a Dakota Sioux Indian word that means "cloudy water" or "sky water" and refers to local rivers.

Minnesota Nicknames

  • North Star State (Official)
  • Land of 10,000 Lakes
  • Gopher State
  • Bread and Butter State
  • Bread Basket of the Nation
  • Cream Pitcher of the Nation
  • Wheat State
  • Playground of the Nation
  • New England of the West

Origin of Minnesota State Name

The name of this state came from the Minnesota River so named by the Dakota Sioux for the river's "cloudy" or "milky water." The Dakota word "mnishota" means "cloudy" or "milky water."

Minnesota is derived from a Dakota Indian word meaning "sky-tinted water"

Minnesota Nicknames

The official nickname of Minnesota is the North Star State, and the state seal has the motto L'Etoile du Nord on it. It is also commonly known as the Gopher State, a nickname which dates back to around 1880 and is based on the fact that the American football team of the Minnesota State University were known as "The Golden Gophers" (a variety of squirrel) - but Arkansas also laid claim to the name 35 years earlier.

North Star State

L'?oile du Nord is a French phrase meaning "The Star of the North". It is the motto of the US state of Minnesota. It was chosen by the state's first governor, Henry Hastings Sibley, and was adopted in 1861, three years after admission of Minnesota to the union. Because of this motto, one of Minnesota's nicknames is The North Star State. The Minnesota North Stars chose the English translation for their name.

Land of 10,000 Lakes

The numerous lakes in the state have also led it to be known occasionally as the Land of 10,000 Lakes (in fact, Minnesota has more like 12,000 lakes) - Minnesota license plates have 10,000 Lakes on them.

Gopher State

Species of ground squirrel. It is also commonly known as the Gopher State, a nickname which dates back to around 1880 and is based on the fact that the American football team of the Minnesota State University were known as "The Golden Gophers" (a variety of squirrel) - but Arkansas also laid claim to the name 35 years earlier.

Bread and Butter State

Production of wheat and dairy products. Energetic supporters of the state have variously given it names like Bread and Butter State or Bread Basket of the Nation, Cream Pitcher of the Nation, and the Wheat State, all based on the state's production of wheat and dairy produce. This name came into use at the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo, New York in 1902.

Bread Basket of the Nation

Production of wheat and dairy products. Energetic supporters of the state have variously given it names like Bread and Butter State or Bread Basket of the Nation, Cream Pitcher of the Nation, and the Wheat State, all based on the state's production of wheat and dairy produce,

Cream Pitcher of the Nation

Production of wheat and dairy products. Energetic supporters of the state have variously given it names like Bread and Butter State or Bread Basket of the Nation, Cream Pitcher of the Nation, and the Wheat State, all based on the state's production of wheat and dairy produce,

Wheat State

Production of wheat and dairy products. Energetic supporters of the state have variously given it names like Bread and Butter State or Bread Basket of the Nation, Cream Pitcher of the Nation, and the Wheat State, all based on the state's production of wheat and dairy produce,

Playground of the Nation

 

New England of the West

Because of the large number of New England emigrants to the territory, Minnesota was sometimes referred to as the "New England of the West."

Minnesota Slogans

  • Explore Minnesota

Minnesota Postal Code

  • MN

Minnesota Resident's Name

  • Minnesotan - Official (recommended by US GPO)
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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