On April 30, 1812, Louisiana became the 18th state in the United States. Louisiana was originally a French in 1731 but was relinquished to Spain after the French and Indian Wars. Louisiana was eventually returned back to France in about 1800. The famous French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte sold Louisiana to the United States just two years later in 1803 in what was known as the Louisiana Purchase.
Louisiana did not adopt a state flag until 100 years after it became a state in 1912. The background of the flag is blue which represents truth and placed in the center of the flag is the state bird, The Eastern Brown Pelican, feeding her three young chicks inside a nest. There is a legend saying that the mother pelican is tearing flesh from herself at the chest to feed her own young. And underneath the birds is a ribbon stating the state’s motto, Union, Justice, and Confidence.
Louisiana is home to New Orleans, famous for Mardi Gras, which is always celebrated 46 days before Easter. The city hosted its first Mardi Gras parade in 1837 and the floats did not start coming until twenty years later. The celebration generates a revenue of over $840 million annually thanks to tourists and regulars who come to celebrate.
How Louisiana Got Named: Louisiana was named after Louis XIV of France.
No Counties? Louisiana is one of two U.S. states that do not have counties. Instead, Louisiana is divided into 64 parishes. The only other state without counties is Alaska and they are divided by boroughs.
Ohio is the seventeenth to become a state on March 1, 1803. Ohio was discovered by a French explorer and became British property after the French and Indian Wars. In 1783, the US obtained the land after the Revolutionary War. Ohio is one of the most industrious states, with major manufacturing plants located in or near major cities. Despite being the 34th biggest state in the US, Ohio is one of the the most populous states in the United States, placing in at the seventh most populous state as of 2013 with a population of 11,570,808 people.
Ohio’s state flag is the only state flag in all of the 50 states to not be rectangular. Instead, the flag is a shallowtail design, which was designed by John Eisemann in 1901 and adopted one year later. This symbolic state flag features a large blue triangle with seventeen white stars in it to represent the other seventeen states in the Union. There are three red and two horizontal stripes outside of the blue triangle which symbolize the hills and valleys of Ohio. Inside of the blue starred triangle is a red circle outlined in white, representing the buckeye nut that is native to Ohio (the tree which is comes from, the Buckeye Tree, is also the official state tree).
Ohio has been declared “the birthplace of aviation” due to the Wright Brothers, Wilbur and Orville. While their first flight took place in North Carolina, the brothers were residents of the state. The state has several aviation museums, all of which are beneficial to the tourism of Ohio. The aviation industry also provides jobs for millions of Ohio residents.
Many Ohio natives have become astronauts, including Neil Armstrong and John Glenn. Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon in 1969 and John Glenn, not only was he a senator for the state of Ohio, but he was also a U.S. Marine Corps aviator. While he was still a senator for Ohio, Glenn flew back into space on the Discovery Space Shuttle in 1998.
More places to visit: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located in Cleveland to view history about musical legends. Hopewell Culture National Historic Park located in Chillicothe is known for having earthworks in many geometric shapes and sizes.
Approximately four years after Kentucky became a state, nearby Tennessee joined the US on June 1, 1796. Before it was a state, Tennessee had been discovered by a Spanish explorer. After being owned by France and Great Britain, it was eventually under the legislature of South Carolina. In 1790, Congress organized this territory, which allowed for Tennessee to join the union.
Tennessee’s state flag was adopted on April 17, 1905 and it was designed by LeRoy Reeves of the Third Regiment of the Tennessee Infantry. Placed in the center of a predominantly red background is a blue circle outlined with white along with white stars inside. These stars represent the three geographical regions of Tennessee: The great smoky mountains, the Highlands, and the Lowlands. To the right hand side is a blue bar and a smaller white stripe. Note that these colors are the same as the US Flag. The white represents purity, blue symbolizes the love the people of Tennessee feel for their state, and the red shows that in trying times, the people of Tennessee feel a strong love their state as true Americans.
Tennessee has a large role in American music thanks to the popularization of bluegrass, rock and roll, country music. Not only is Nashville the state capital, but it is also known as Music City. The Grand Ole Opry was first broadcast in 1925, and continues to be the longest running live radio show (it runs every weekend). Tennessee is also home to Dollywood and Graceland, both famous by musicians. Graceland was once the home of singing legend Elvis Presley but is now a museum where millions visit every year, which Dollywood is a theme park owned by country singer Dolly Parton.
Bordering states: Tied with Missouri, Tennessee is bordered by the most states, which are eight. The states are Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Missouri.
The fifteenth state to enter the United States is Kentucky on June 1, 1792. Kentucky is known as the Bluegrass State. This is due to the large patches of grass growing on lawns, farms, and pastures in which blue-purple buds blooming help add a bluish tint during the spring.
Kentucky’s state flag was adopted in 1918, although the design was not finalized until 1928 and changed again in 1962. The state’s flag has a navy blue background with the Kentucky state seal emblazoned on the center. Inside the seal, a pioneer and a statesman are shaking hands with the words United We Stand on top and United We Fall below them. Outside the state seal in yellow letters reads Commonwealth of Kentucky and below are two goldenrod flowers.
Kentucky is actually the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, who was the 16th President of the United States from 1861-1865. He was born in Hodgenville, Kentucky on February 12, 1809 in a log cabin. He lived here with his family until 1816 when the Lincolns picked up and moved to Indiana.
While one of Kentucky’s most well-known cities is Louisville, the state capital is actually Frankfort. It became the state capitol in 1792 after pledging more manpower of a statehouse than any other city. According to the Kentucky state website (2009), Frankfort’s population is slightly less than 30,000 while Louisville and the Louisville metro area’s population is reported to be 1,556,429.
Famous Races: Kentucky is home to the Kentucky Derby which is the oldest annual horse race in the US. It is held at Churchill Downs in Louisville.
State Name: The name Kentucky came from the Iroquois word “Ken-tah-hen” which translates to “land of tomorrow”.
The first thirteen colonies were complete after the admission of Rhode Island into the union. It had been less than one year when the next state, Vermont, became the first state after the formation of the thirteen colonies, also known as state number fourteen.
Vermont’s state flag was not adopted until 1923 although there was a previous state flag. This flag is a dark blue with the state’s coat of arms on it. In the coat of arms is a pine tree, a cow, some bales of hay, and sheaths of wheat. There are purple mountains in the background against a blue sk. On top of the coat of arms is a stag’s head, and on the bottom boughs of pine needles envelope the coat of arms. There is also a red ribbon which reads Vermont and the state’s motto Freedom and Unity.
Vermont’s name is French for “green mountain”, or mont vert due to the state being surrounded by green mountains. Vermont is also the largest producer of maple syrup in the United States, producing over 500,000 gallons per year. While the state’s capitol is Montpelier, the population in the city is less than 10,000 people.
Cool Trivia: Vermont is the state where Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream was founded! The company also gives their ice cream waste to local farmers who then feed it to their hogs(unfortunately, mint Oreo is not their favorite flavor).
Chester A. Arthur (serving 1881-1885) was also born in Fairfield, VT in 1830.
Calvin Coolidge (serving 1923-1929) is the ONLY US president to have been born on the 4th of July in Plymouth, VT.
The final colony to enter the union is Rhode Island on May 29, 1790. It is the smallest state in the United States at Rhode Island is so small that they’re composed of only five counties! Despite being a small state, Rhode Island is well known for it’s large shoreline. Set on Narragansett Bay (Atlantic Ocean), the shoreline runs for nearly 400 miles, earning the nickname “The Ocean State”.
The Rhode Island state flag was adopted in 1879. The flag is white with a yellow anchor in the center. The anchor is encircled by thirteen yellow stars to represent the thirteen colonies. Underneath the anchor is a light blue ribbon which reads the state motto “Hope”. The colors on this state flag date all the way back to colonial times, the original establishment of Rhode Island, and the Providence Plantations ruled under King Charles II of England.
Rhode Island is home to two war memorials. The first memorial is The Korean War Memorial of Rhode Island in Providence, RI. The memorial was erected to honor Rhode Island citizens who served and died in the Korean War (1950-1953). The names of those Killed in Action (KIA) or Missing in Action (MIA) are engraved in white bricks while the red bricks bear the names of the men and women who served during the war. The second war memorial is The World War I Memorial in Miantonomi Park, RI where it was established in 1921 to memorialize those who had been lost in WWI (1914-1918). The memorial is 100 foot tower of stone along with a 30 foot flagpole at the top. It became listed as a National Historic Park in 1969.
The Ocean: Nearly all residents of Rhode Island live about 30 miles from the ocean!
Early Days: Rhode Island was originally known as “The Colony of Rhode Island and the Providence Plantations”, an early settlement. After the American Revolution, the land became known as the State of Rhode Island.
The second to the last of the original thirteen states is New York. Known as the “Empire State”, New York became the 11th state on July 26, 1788. The state’s flag was not adopted until 1901. On the blue flag displays the state’s coat of arms, featuring Liberty, who symbolizes freedom, and Justice, symbolizing justice before the law. The shield that Liberty and Justice each have a hand on pictures the sun rising against a clear sky behind three mountains. There are two boats sailing on the Hudson River. Above the shield is an eagle sitting atop a globe while underneath is a white ribbon reading the state motto Excelsior, meaning “Ever Upward”.
New York was actually the United States’ first Capital from 1785-1790, where George Washington was inaugurated as the First US President in 1789. The Erie Canal was constructed and opened in 1825, now part of the New York State Canal System.
New York is also well known for having the largest city in the United States, New York City. There are many famous and historic landmarks where millions of people visit every year, The Statue of Liberty being one of them. The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France and was dedicated in New York Harbor on October 28, 1886. The city is nicknamed the Big Apple. (the state’s official fruit is the apple). It is also home to Ellis Island, where more than 12 million immigrants have passed through here between the 1890s and 1954. It is currently part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument.
Size Matters: While it is the third most populous state in the United States, it is the 27th largest state.
Cars: New York was the first state to require license plates on cars!
Coat of Arms: New York’s Coat of Arms was adopted in 1778, before New York even became a state!
1792: The New York Stock Exchange was founded in New York City.
We are almost done with the original thirteen colony states! Virginia marks the tenth state to be added into the Union. Becoming a state on June 25, 1788, Virginia was named after Queen Elizabeth I, The Virgin Queen. The state is bordered by two bodies of water, Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean while being surrounded by five other states (Kentucky, Maryland, Tennessee, North Carolina, and West Virginia). It is also near Washington DC.
Virginia’s state flag is bright blue with a white circle in the center. Inside the center are the words Virginia on top along with the words “Sic Semper Tyrannis,” which means “Thus always to tyrants” in Latin. Also inside the circle are two people. One is the goddess Virtue, who is holding a sword and a spear. Her foot is on a man, who turns out to be the tyrant that she defeated. He has a chain and a whip in his hand while his crown lies fallen nearby.
Virginia has more presidents born in this state than any other. Eight presidents-George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison (who sadly had a very short presidency of 32 days and was the first U.S. president to die in office), John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson (in beautiful Staunton, to which I have had the honor of visiting a few years back. They have a brilliant Shakespeare house). George Washington’s birthplace in Westmoreland County, Virginia (in Colonial Beach) is marked as a National Monument. There is so much presidential history in this state that it would take a while to get through it all!
Food Fact! Virginia is also known for its delicious Virginia Peanuts. They are longer than the standard peanut you find in the grocery store.
New Hampshire, tucked away in the very upper right hand corner of the US, is the ninth state in the United States. Becoming a state on June 21, 1788, it is the 46th largest state in the United States.This state is near Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont, plus it is also nearby to Canada.
Although the state flag for New Hampshire was designed in 1784, it was not adopted until 1909. The state flag of New Hampshire consists of a blue background and it features the state seal. Inside the seal has a ship sailing towards a large granite rock on clear blue waters. Behind the ship is a rising sun just below the horizon. Surrounding the seal is the words “Seal of the State of New Hampshire, 1776” along with yellow stars and laurel leaves circling outside.
New Hampshire got its name when it was named after the English county of Hampshire. It was named by a man named John Mason, who lived in Hampshire, England, as a child. He invested very heavily in this new land, clearing land and building houses in New Hampshire, but had died before he was able to even see his new land.
Nickname: The state’s nickname is “The Granite State” due to the fact that most of the mountains are made of granite.
Size Matters! This state is so small in size that there is only one area code for the entire state!
More Flag Fun: The largest American flag in the US was made in this state in 1914, measuring at 90 feet long and 50 feet high!
The seventh state to enter the union is Maryland on April 28, 1788 when it ratified the federal constitution. The state was named after the queen consort Henrietta Maria, who was married to King Charles I of Britain. It is the 42nd biggest state in the nation but is the 19th most populous state.
The state flag of Maryland is a rather colorful one. This flag is the only state flag based on the British coats of arms. The flag’s design was inspired by the coat of arms adopted by George Calvert (1579-1632), who was the first Lord of Baltimore. The alternating gold and black squares and rectangles come from Calvert’s family shield while the red and white crosses are inspired by Calvert’s maternal family the Crosslands. This flag was first flown on October 11, 1880 in Baltimore at a parade marking the 150th anniversary of its founding. It was also flown at other historical events but the flag was not officially adopted until 1904.
The state is a largely coastal state. Chesapeake Bay is the largest body of water in the state of Maryland. There are also nearly 50 rivers, lakes, ponds, streams, and creeks in addition to the Atlantic Ocean. Maryland is largely known for the crab due to it being the state crustacean (actually, the Maryland Blue Crab), one of three states who has a state crustacean. The blue crab is a treat for seafood lovers who live in and visit the state.
State Bird: Maryland’s State Bird is the Baltimore Oriole, which is the same name as its Major League Baseball Team.