The Motto of Each U.S. State, Mapped

Each state has its own motto.
Each state has its own motto.
choness/iStock via Getty Images

Unless you pay a lot of attention to license plates, you’re probably not able to easily recall your state’s motto. Texas, California, New York, and other states sport distinctive phrases that help characterize their territory. All 50 U.S. states have one, spread across multiple languages including English, Latin, Spanish, and more.

Financial services resource CashNetUSA recently assembled a map featuring all of America's state mottos, and it makes for some intriguing exploration.

Courtesy of: CashNetUSA

Many of these states have compelling stories behind their choice of a motto. In California, “Eureka!” (Greek for “I’ve found it!”) stems from the story of Archimedes realizing he could determine the purity of gold. He ran through the streets—naked—shouting “Eureka!” The phrase was later used in the original design of the state seal in 1849 at the height of the Gold Rush.

In Wyoming, “Equal Rights” refers to the state’s progressive attitude toward women's rights, having guaranteed them the right to vote, serve on juries, and hold public office beginning in 1869.

The most metal of these phrases, New Hampshire’s “Live Free or Die,” came from General John Stark in 1809. He wrote a toast for a military event he couldn’t attend that read in part: “Live free or die; death is not the worst of evils.”

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The World’s Favorite Christmas Movies, Mapped

Will Ferrell in Elf (2003).
Will Ferrell in Elf (2003).
Warner Bros.

The start of the holiday season means it’s time to recommence the annual debate over which Christmas movies are the best. If you’re discussing the matter with a friend from France or Brazil, they might be arguing hard for Gremlins, the 1984 cult classic that may or may not actually be a Christmas movie. India, on the other hand, is home to many fans of 2000’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Those trends come from a new study by broadband experts at UK-based online comparison site money.co.uk. Basically, they analyzed Google search data for 30 Christmas movies across 18 countries to see how holiday viewership differs from nation to nation. All the films included in the study are relatively mainstream, so you won’t find Rankin/Bass’s Nestor, The Long-Eared Christmas Donkey (1977) anywhere on the map.

What you will find is Elf, the 2003 comedy starring Will Ferrell as an overlarge Santa’s helper navigating Manhattan. Considering that the film is the apparent favorite of viewers in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Canada, and South Africa, it seems that Ferrell’s absurdist humor isn’t just funny to U.S. residents. Love Actually (2003) also ranked first in five countries, including England, Spain, and Norway. But neither Love Actually nor Elf clinched the top spot in the U.S. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) did, with an average monthly search volume of nearly 3.7 million.

The search data used in the study is from October through December of last year, which might explain why Last Christmas landed in first place in Germany. The romantic comedy, starring Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding, premiered in 2019 to generally poor reviews, so it’s possible that Germans won’t be Googling it quite so often this year.

See the map below, and learn more about the survey here.

money.co.uk