Most state names come from European locations, from European monarchs who granted the original charter, from French and Spanish explorers, and from Indian tribes or terms for the area. New Jersey, New York (formerly New Amsterdam) and New Hampshire take their names from European locations where the original settlers lived.
Virginia, West Virginia, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Maryland and Louisiana are named for the monarch who granted the original charter, with Virginia referring to Elizabeth I, the “Virgin Queen.” Florida, Nevada, Montana and Colorado originate from Spanish terms for flowery, snowy, mountains and the color red, while Vermont is from the French term for “green mountain.”
Alabama, Massachusetts, Missouri, Utah, North and South Dakota, and Illinois are named for local tribes. Others, including Nebraska and Wyoming, are derivatives of the names given to the areas by local tribes or to a geographical feature such as Connecticut, Ohio and Mississippi.