U.S. States with Spanish Names

Can you name the five U.S states whose names come from Spanish?
Quiz by WolfCam
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Last updated: October 23, 2019
First submittedOctober 8, 2019
Times taken33,497
Rating4.35
0:45
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Meaning
State
Unknown
California
"Ruddy" or "Red"
Colorado
"Flowery"
Florida
"Mountain"
Montana
"Snow-Covered"
Nevada
+5
Level 37
Oct 9, 2019
Excellent idea! Thank you.
+17
Level 81
Oct 12, 2019
Nice one. Also a good amount of time, you still have a moment to think and if you are quick you can guess a couple, but you certainly can't rattle off all 50 in that time!
+31
Level 81
Oct 12, 2019
The name "California" derives from a fictional place in a Spanish chivalry novel from the 16th century, a kind of terrestrial paradise, ruled by the warrior queen Calafia.
+6
Level 73
Oct 13, 2019
This is true. I don't know if that counts as a "meaning" though.
+13
Level 67
Oct 13, 2019
It definitely does not mean "unknown" in spanish though, which is rather misleading.
+4
Level 68
Oct 13, 2019
In particular, its etymology is either unknown or from Spanish origin. Both simultaneously is impossible.
+4
Level 73
Oct 13, 2019
It's well known in California's first capital, Loreto, BCS, MX that the novel mungomatic mentions ("Las sergas (adventures) de Esplandián" by Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo, around 1500) is the source of the name, California.

There's a spectacular mural here in city hall of her. Also used to be a mural in a museum in Sacramento that's now in Mark Hopkins hotel in SF. And for Disneyland Whoopi Goldberg narrated a short Disney movie about it that I cannot find anywhere.

I keep reading that the author came up with the name Calafia by feminizing the arabic word, caliph. So "female religious leader" could be the word origin.

+4
Level 81
Dec 7, 2019
Sifhraven, check how the hint is written. It said that the meaning is unknown (as in, we don't know), not that the meaning is "Unknown"
+8
Level 84
Dec 8, 2019
What, you all haven't heard of our 51st state, Desconocida? ;)
+2
Level 58
Dec 7, 2019
From what I've heard the name of Queen Calafia comes from the Arabic work Khalifa meaning successor, ruler, or leader, basically meaning California's origin comes from the Khalifa.
+3
Level 66
Dec 9, 2019
No it's named after a Chili Peppers album.
+3
Level 68
Oct 12, 2019
Fun little quiz :)
+1
Level 72
Oct 12, 2019
5 stars
+2
Level 75
Oct 12, 2019
Not Arizona?
+3
Level 83
Oct 13, 2019
Commonly thought to come from the Spanish for "dry land," but it's not really known for sure and some contest this etymology.
+1
Level 65
Dec 9, 2019
The state's name appears to originate from an earlier Spanish name, Arizonac, derived from the O'odham name alĭ ṣonak, meaning "small spring", which initially applied only to an area near the silver mining camp of Planchas de Plata, Sonora. I always thought that it was Spanish.
+1
Level 73
Oct 13, 2019
Shouldn't New Mexico count or is that an indigenous name?
+9
Level 75
Oct 14, 2019
Neither "New" nor "Mexico" have spanish roots. New is obviously English and Mexico is Nahuatl
+5
Level 81
Oct 15, 2019
Shouldn't "Flowers" be "Flowered" (as in "the Flowered One")?
+1
Level ∞
Oct 15, 2019
Changed it to "Flowery".
+4
Level 75
Oct 23, 2019
Yep. Also, it should be "mountain" instead of "mountains".
+1
Level ∞
Oct 23, 2019
Okay
+1
Level 70
Oct 16, 2019
LOL, found all but forgot the most obvisous one : Colorado... Facepalm...
+1
Level 50
Nov 21, 2021
Not that obvious considered it's the lowest in stats
+6
Level 67
Oct 17, 2019
"snow covered" did not really make me think of Nevada tbh
+4
Level 42
Dec 7, 2019
I'm from Spain and when I was a kid and heard about Nevada I always thought it was a cold place like Alaska
+3
Level 78
Dec 8, 2019
No, but it does snow in the mountains there. Maybe whoever named it was skiing at Lake Tahoe.
+1
Level 65
Oct 27, 2019
No New Jersey?
+1
Level 34
Mar 3, 2021
Both "New" and "Jersey" are of English origin
+1
Level 69
Nov 18, 2021
Actually, the origins of 'Jersey' are Norse I believe.
+1
Level 48
Nov 18, 2019
Doesn't California mean 'the land of the caliphs'? I could be mistaken though.
+3
Level 53
Dec 7, 2019
Colorado means "colored" has nothing to do with the color red...
+1
Level 62
Dec 7, 2019
I did a quick google search and every result says the origin comes from the color red. Are they all wrong?
+4
Level 65
Dec 7, 2019
Colorido is "colored", colorado is "red"
+2
Level 77
Nov 18, 2021
My understanding is that etymologically "colorado" and "colorido" have similar origins and obviously both mean "coloured", but "colorado" has come to mean "coloured red" specifically - as marlene57 says, often meaning "blushing", while "colorido" means "colourful", and the simple word for "red" is "rojo".
+1
Level 81
Dec 7, 2019
The Colorado River was named after the reddish silt it carries. The state was named after the river, so... yes, "Red" is correct.
+2
Level 35
Mar 24, 2020
colorado/a is often used to refer to someone that is blushing
+1
Level 66
Dec 7, 2019
Texas is not included? It was originally Tejas, meaning friends.
+1
Level 78
Dec 8, 2019
I thought so too, but I looked it up and according to my source the Spanish explorers heard the name used by the Native American Caddo people which was "Teyshas" meaning friends or allies. They recorded it as Tejas or Teyas. (statesymbolsusa.org)
+1
Level 59
Dec 9, 2019
*Trump "WRONG" gif*
+2
Level 66
Dec 9, 2019
I think everyone knows the Spanish word for "friends" is "amigos." If "Tejas" means "friends," it's not from Spanish.
+1
Level 69
Nov 18, 2021
The naturalist John J. Audubon referred to the area in the 1830s as "The Texas," plural. It was thought at that time, to mean The Yews (as in yew trees), derived from the Taxus genus, which grew abundantly in what we now call Texas.
+4
Level 50
Dec 7, 2019
aight whose idea was it to name a giant desert "snow-covered"
+1
Level 90
Nov 18, 2021
And Colorado is not red. Colorado took its name from the river, which got its name from the red silt it carried. Similarly Nevada took its name from the Sierra Nevadas, which are a snow-covered sierra.
+2
Level 23
Dec 9, 2019
Doesn't Arizona mean "arid zone" in Spanish
+1
Level 23
Dec 9, 2019
also I love the quiz
+1
Level 35
Mar 24, 2020
maybe better to just put a dash for california instead of the word unknown, it's kinda misleading
+1
Level 41
Mar 29, 2020
colorado means colorfull or colored, not red...
+1
Level 39
Apr 24, 2020
Colorado means red or crimson.

Coloreado means colored.

Colorido means colorful.

https://dle.rae.es/colorado

https://dle.rae.es/colorear?m=form

https://dle.rae.es/colorido

+1
Level 39
Apr 24, 2020
California takes its name from Las Sergas de Esplandián (The Adventures of Esplandián), a popular XVI century chivalric romance by Garci [sic] Rodríguez de Montalvo. The Quijote, as an aside, was inspired by and in many ways engages the Sergas and the widely popular genre.

Per Wikipedia, the name of the queen of California, Calafia may come from the "Arabic word khalifa (religious state leader) which is known as caliph in English and califa in Spanish". It is known that Hernan Cortes and some of his men, who were the first Europeans to arrive in the southern part what became New Spain's province of California (now Baja California Sur) in 1534 and 1535, had read the book.

Also from Wikipedia,

It is not known who first named the area California .... the name California also appears in a 1542 journal kept by explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, who used it casually, as if it were already popular.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_of_the_name_California

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calafia

+1
Level 74
Nov 24, 2020
I was told California meant hot ovens. That was in Spanish class many years ago.
+1
Level 64
Jun 30, 2021
This definitely needs at least 30 more seconds.
+1
Level 55
Nov 18, 2021
Why only 45 seconds? Are you not allowed to think, or do you just need to know every answer in advance? In that case, just give people 5 seconds
+2
Level 59
Nov 18, 2021
Arizona, Nuevo Mexico, Oregon, Texas have spanish names
+3
Level 63
Nov 18, 2021
Oregon could possibly come from Spanish, or it might come from the French word for Hurricane, or it could come from Native Americans. Nobody is really sure, and for that reason I've decided to exclude it from this quiz. While Texas does come from Tejas, Tejas is a Spanish spelling of a Caddo word, so the name does not originally come from Spanish. Arizona is a very similar situation, coming from the O'odham name for the region. New Mexico, for one has the English word "New" in it, and "Mexico" originally comes from Nahuatl, not Spanish.
+1
Level 56
Nov 20, 2021
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