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Montana State Names (Etymology of Names)

Montana Name Origin and State Nicknames

Rocky Mountains

MT 3D Map: State Name OriginMontana is a state in the Western United States. With a total area of 147,046 square miles (380,850 km2), Montana is slightly larger than Japan.[13] It is the fourth largest state in the United States after Alaska, Texas, and the State of California; the largest landlocked U.S. state; and the 56th largest national state/province subdivision in the world. To the north, Montana shares a 545-mile (877 km) border with three Canadian provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. The state borders North Dakota and South Dakota to the east, Wyoming to the south and Idaho to the west and southwest.

The state's name is derived from the Spanish word "monta?" (mountain).

Montana Nicknames

  • Treasure State
  • Big Sky Country
  • Bonanza State
  • Land of Shining Mountains
  • The Last Best Place
  • Stub-Toe State
  • Headwaters State
  • Mountain State

Origin of Montana State Name

Chosen from Latin dictionary by J. M. Ashley. It is a Latinized Spanish word meaning "mountainous."

Created out of the Idaho Territory in 1864, the name Montana is a derivation of the Latin word "montaanus" which means mountainous.

Montana is a word derived from the Spanish word meaning "mountainous." The western portion of the state is dominated by the rugged Rocky Mountains. The Continental Divide, the continuous division from north to south along the Rocky Mountain crest, divides the flow of water between the river systems flowing to the Pacific Ocean from those flowing to the Atlantic. In all Montana features over 50 mountain ranges, and many of the higher mountain areas remain covered with snow for up to 10 months of the year.

The area now known as Montana had been part of various territories including: Louisiana Purchase, Missouri Territory, Indian Country, Nebraska Territory, Dakota Territory and Idaho Territory. When gold was discovered near Bannack and Virginia City, the population grew rapidly and there was a drive to make this region a separate territory.

In 1864 Sidney Edgerton Chief Justice for the newly created Idaho Territory headed to Washington with the idea to divide the Territory. In 1864 Montana became a territory approved by Abraham Lincoln. It was at this time that the territory officially became known as Montana. Representative James Ashley of Ohio carried the legislation to name the territory Montana. He was the chairman of the Committee on Territories. Later, President Ulysses Grant appointed him the fourth Territoral Governor of Montana in 1869 after he was defeated for re-election in November 1868. However, Montana's first territorial governor was Sidney Edgerton.

Montana Nicknames

Montana's official nickname "Treasure State" originated with the mining that occurred in the state.

Called the "Land of Shining Mountains" by early fur traders, Montana has since adopted the nicknames "Big Sky Country" and "The Treasure State," one of the more popular nicknames for Montana

The nickname of Helena, Montana is "Queen City" or "Queen City of the Rockies."

Treasure State

Montana's official nickname "Treasure State" originated with the mining that occurred in the state. Mineral wealth in the state. But the rich gold and silver deposits have led it now to be known as the Treasure State

Land of Shining Mountains

Called the "Land of Shining Mountains" by early fur traders

Big Sky Country

The wide open spaces have also produced Big Sky Country (which is what appears on the state's license plates) A relatively recent nickname, "Big Sky Country" originated with a 1962 promotion of the Montana State Highway Department. One of the men working there had read a book called The Big Sky, written by a Montanan author, A. B. Guthrie, Jr. This book was about trapping and the outdoors. Guthrie gave the State Highway Department permission to use the name, and Montana has been "Big Sky Country" ever since.

Bonanza State

Mineral wealth. In its early days, Montana was the Bonanza State (around 1893, and from the rich mineral deposits)

Headwaters State

Montana is known as the headwaters state because much of the water which flows to the rest of the nation comes from the mountains of Montana. Two of the nation's major river systems, the Missouri and Columbia, are born high in the Rocky Mountains of Montana

Stub-Toe State

Stub-Toe State (from 1890, and an allusion to its steep mountain slopes). This nickname again refers to Montana's rugged, mountainous terrain and offers a human connection.

Mountain State

This nickname, of course, refers to the mountains of Montana.

Montana Slogans

  • Travel Montana

Big Sky Country: Big Sky Country (which is what appears on the state's license plates.)

Montana Postal Code

  • MT

Montana Resident's Name

  • Montanan - 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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