January 14, 2016
In the very corner of the US is the 27th state to enter the Union, Florida, on March 3, 1845. Florida was founded in 1565 by Spanish settlers and the Spanish held this territory until it became a permanent US settlement in 1821. Northern state residents began to visit Florida and found Florida to be a lovely place for tourism as the weather was very favorable with its mild climate, earning its nickname The Sunshine State.
Their state flag was adopted in 1900 when Florida voters ratified a constitutional amendment based on an 1899 joint resolution of the state legislature. It was held to add diagonal red bars to their state flag in the style of the St. Andrew’s Cross (This flag is similar to Alabama’s state flag). Before then, it was only the state seal on a white backdrop. The state seal has a Native American Seminole Woman scattering flowers on a beach along with a steamboat, a sabal tree, and the sun. Surrounding the seal in a gold circle are the words, “State of Florida”, and “In God We Trust”, which is the state’s motto. The seal was revised in 1985 which originally depicted a Western Plains Indian woman, the steamboat was touched up a little bit, and the sabal palm tree was originally a cocoa palm tree.
Florida is home to many agencies like the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, also known as NASA. They are known for doing research on space and aeronautics and hold space missions. Although they are based out of Washington DC, the space shuttles for specific missions are launched out of Cape Canaveral, Florida, and the Kennedy Space Center.
As Florida is a popular tourist spot, it houses popular attractions and resorts like Walt Disney World, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the Epcot Center and Universal Studios, all located in Orlando (there are similar theme parks in California, but they are called Disneyland and the Universal Studios in California is located in Universal City, CA). The city of Orlando attracts more tourists than any other theme park city in the US.
Food Fact: Florida is the largest Citrus producer in the US!
October 28, 2015
Maine became the 32rd US state on March 15, 1820. Although first visited by Italian explorers John and Sebastian Cabot in 1498, the first English settlers did not arrive until the 1600s. Maine used to be governed by the state of Massachusetts until the Missouri Compromise in 1820, allowing Maine to become a state.
Maine’s state flag was adopted in 1909, 89 years after being admitted to the union. The flag is dark blue with a coat of arms in the center. The coat of arms has two men on opposite sides of aa shield. The men are a farmer and a seaman, who represent the agricultural and maritime industries of Maine. Pictured inside the shield is a moose (the official state animal of Maine because the state has more moose per mile than any other state), a pine tree, grass, a light blue sky, and dark blue water. A yellow star stands atop of the shield which symbolizes the North Star since it was the northernmost state at the time of its entry into the Union, and a red ribbon underneath it reading “Dirigo”, which is Latin for “I direct”. Below the shield and the gentlemen is a blue ribbon reading “Maine”.
Maine is the only state with one syllable in its name and despite being a small state, it has a large amount of coastline (3,478 miles). They also house a large amount of lighthouses in the state (about 67). The capital of Maine was originally Portland but was later changed to Augusta in 1832 but the population of the current capital is still smaller than the population of Portland.
Food Trivia: Maine produces about 90% of the US’ supply of blueberries.
Animals: In addition to the moose being the state’s official animal, the Maine Coon (or Wild Coon) cat is also the state’s official cat!
October 9, 2015
Before Alabama became the 22nd state on December 1, 1819, it had been populated with Native American tribes such as the Alibamu (Alabama), Chocktaw, and Mobile. Spanish explorers were believed to have arrived around 1540. It was later in the 1600s that the English were given the land by King Charles II. In 1702, the first European settlement was established on the Mobile river by the French at Fort Louis de la Mobile. The British later regained control of the land through the Treaty of Paris but were forced to relinquish the land to the US after the American Revolution.
Alabama’s state flag is white with a crimson red St. Andrew’s Cross. This flag’s pattern was based from the Confederate battle flag. The flag can either be square or rectangle but the cross must be exactly six inches wide. This flag was approved in 1895 by the Alabama legislature.
Alabama is where major historical events took place. Alabama is where the Confederacy was founded in February 1861 (Montgomery being the capital), the Confederate flag was designed in this state. This state is also where many Civil Rights actions took place, such as Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her bus seat on December 1, 1955 in Montgomery. The event led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Alabama’s name means “Tribal Town” in the language spoken by the Creek Indians. The state is the only state with all the natural resources to make iron and steel. As a result, Alabama is the largest supplier of steel pipe and cast iron products.
Helen Keller is among many of the famous residents of Alabama, born in Tuscombia. She was born both blind and deaf from an illness. Keller was a student of Anne Sullivan, visually impaired herself, who taught her how to communicate with Braille and sign language. Sullivan’s inspiration led to Keller succeeding and graduating from Radcliffe College in 1904. Keller later became a lecturer and an author along with being Sullivan’s companion. Anne Sullivan passed away in 1936 and Helen Keller passed in 1968.
September 25, 2015
I feel a lot of the history has been controversial since it had seceded from the Union during the Civil War and all that. Here’s what I could come up with:
Mississippi became the 20th state on December 10, 1817. Hernando de Soto, the Spanish explorer, founded the land as early as 1540 and the first settlement was established around sixty years later by Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville. Control of the state had been changed several times from Spain, France, and Great Britain until 1798 when the land was organized to create the Mississippi Territory. It later became a state in 1817.
Mississippi has flown many state flags in its history, dating all the way back to 1682 when they flew the Bourbon Flag of France. The current flag of Mississippi was adopted in February 1894, replacing the previous Magnolia Flag that had been flown after Mississippi seceded from the union. The current flag of Mississippi has the Confederate Battle Flag, a blue cross with 13 stars representing the Confederate States, edged in white on a red background, in the upper left hand corner. The three colorful bars, blue, white, and red, are horizontal on the rest of the flag. There is much debate on changing the state flag as it has the Confederate Flag on it. Citizens and legislators have tried for years to adopt a new state flag for Mississippi. However, many voted against changing the flag because they still value its historic significance. As of this writing, Mississippi is the only state flag with any part of the Confederate Flag on it.
Mississippi got its name from the Chippewa words mici zibi, which means “great river” due to the Mississippi River that runs along that state, or the Algonquian word Messipi.
August 25, 2015
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.
August 21, 2015
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.
August 17, 2015
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.