30 U.S. State Facts Everyone Gets Wrong
Think you're a United States trivia pro? Check to see if you've ever fallen for these U.S. state blunders!
How well do you know the states?
With 50 different states, it can be tough for even the most passionate aficionado of Americana to keep track of what all of them are famous for and what their capitals are—never mind which ones do and don't observe Daylight Saving Time. Were you aware of these common U.S. state misconceptions, and the actual facts? Plus, brush up on the strangest fact about every state.
All of Alaska is divided into boroughs, not counties
Alaska and Louisiana are the only two states that don’t divide themselves into counties, they separate their territory into boroughs and parishes, respectively. But at least 323,400 square miles of Alaskan land falls under the Unorganized Borough category. In other words, it belongs to no county, parish, or borough. This bigger-than-Texas nonentity has no central government which means they don’t have to pay for local or property taxes. Despite this big perk, there are a few pitfalls to living in the rural Alaskan lands of the Unorganized Borough such as poverty, crime, and addiction. Periodically, there have been movements to turn the nonentity into actual boroughs, but residents may not be ready for that step just yet. Check out these 51 false facts you've always believed to be true.
No one in Arizona observes Daylight Saving Time
Arizona has not observed Daylight Saving Time since 1967, but there is one portion of Arizona that continues to observe it—Navajo Nation. The Native American territory, which also traverses the state lines of Utah and New Mexico, elected to adopt Daylight Saving Time because they didn’t want to put the communities on two different clocks. The smaller Hopi reservation of the Navajo Nation is the only segment of the territory that chose not to observe Daylight Saving Time because it lies within Arizona. Here's the reason we observe Daylight Saving Time in the first place.
The largest earthquake in American history occurred in California
Even though California is extremely susceptible to earthquakes because it lies on top of the San Andreas Fault system, Alaska wins the record for largest recorded earthquake in the United States, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information. On March 28, 1964, a 9.2 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunamis struck Alaska’s Prince William Sound and caused about $2.3 billion of damage in today’s money. Check out these 50 facts about the 50 states.
Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana
Actually, Washington and Colorado both defied federal law and passed the legalization of recreational marijuana use on November 6, 2012. Today Alaska, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington D.C., Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts (which goes into effect in July 2018) have given the “OK” for recreational marijuana use. Now, a few other states are following suit and filing their own initiatives.
Connecticut is called the “Constitution State” because the constitution was signed there
The U.S. Constitution was written and signed on September 17, 1787, in the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia. But in the early 19th century, John Fiske, a popular historian from Connecticut, claimed the Fundamental Orders of 1638/1639 were the first written constitution in history. And a former Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court backed up Fiske’s claim by citing a book authored by a journalist, who wrote that a group of men had never met up to prescribe a set of rules and modes of government until a few men in Connecticut came together to write up the Fundamental Orders. But the dispute amongst historians about the real “first written constitution” still continues. Don't miss these 16 other history facts people always get wrong.
The Florida Everglades is the largest swamp in the United States
People may think the Florida Everglades is a swamp filled with alligators and crocodiles lurking beneath the dark water’s surface, but the everglades are actually a wetland. The largest swamp wilderness in America is the 1.4 million-acre Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana, which is at least two and a half times more productive than the Florida Everglades. Here are the science trivia questions that always stump everyone.
The “Peach State” of Georgia is the country’s leading producer of peaches
Peaches may be a valuable part of Georgia’s agriculture and economy, but California ranked first in 2016 as the country’s leading peach producer. Besides, Georgia blueberries are the state’s real moneymaker. Blueberries generated an estimated $94 million for Georgia growers while peaches only made $30 million in 2012. In fact, blueberries—not peaches—ranked as one of Georgia’s top ten agricultural commodities in 2016.
Pineapples are the native fruits of Hawaii
The sweet, juicy fruit may be a Hawaiian symbol, but the tropical plant is native to Paraguay and southern Brazil. It is suspected that the Spaniards may have taken the pineapples to Hawaii and Guam in the early 16th century after introducing the fruit to the Philippines. Here are some of the strangest food laws in each state.
Chicago, Illinois is called the “Windy City” because of its wild breezes
Chicago’s moniker doesn’t describe the city’s daily forecast like most people think, it actually became a more accurate description for public officials. The city can thank nineteenth-century journalists for criticizing Chicago’s elites for being “full of hot air” and thus giving the city its nickname. An 1858 article from the Chicago Daily Tribune read, “[a] hundred militia officers, from corporal to commander...air their vanity… in this windy city.” Numerous newspapers used the “Windy City” reference for the egotistical politicians of Chicago who gave long-winded speeches (known as “windbags”), but only wanted to con people to turn a profit. Learn about how every state got its name.