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Alaska State Symbols

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Welcome to Alaska, America’s Last Frontier! Or do you prefer the nickname Land of the Midnight Sun? If any state merits exciting state symbols this is it. (Continued below)

Alaska state flag Alaska state seal
Nicknames & Slogans
Nicknames The Last Frontier, Land of the Midnight Sun, The Great Land  
Symbols of State
Motto North to the Future 1967
Song Alaska’s Flag 1955
EcoSymbols
Flower forget-me-not (Myosotis alpestris) 1955
Tree Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) 1962
Bird willow ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) 1955
Land Mammal moose (Alces alces) 1998
Marine Mammal bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) 1983
Dog Alaskan Malamute (Canis lupus familiaris) 2010
Fish king salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) 1962
Insect four spot skimmer dragonfly (Libellula quadrimaculata) 1995
Mineral gold 1968
Gem jade 1968
Fossil † woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) 1986
Soil Tanana (unofficial) Unofficial
Cultural Symbols
Sport dog mushing 1972
Language English + 20 2014
Bolt-Action Rifle Pre-1964 Winchester Model 70 bolt-action rifle (multiple caliber) 2014

That last nickname recalls the fact that, in summer, the sun sometimes never sets north of the Arctic Circle. It’s daylight at midnight! In winter, on the other hand, things get very dark (and cold). Some people then jokingly call Alaska Land of the Noon Moon.

Alaska’s winter skies are sometimes lit up by the aurora borealis, better known as the northern lights. The northern lights shimmer like a heavenly curtain. They can be yellow, green, red, blue, violet, orange or white. This famous light show is depicted on Alaska’s state seal.

Alaska’s symbols are among my favorites, possibly ranking in the top three. However, I wish Alaskans had chosen the caribou, rather than the moose, as their state mammal. But should the raven replace the ptarmigan as the state bird? Some Alaskans think so. What do you think?

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If you think state flags and flowers are nothing more than trivia, guess again. A thorough exploration of the more than 1,500 items adopted as state symbols embraces geography, history, and psychology.

You have found the best state symbols website, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The introduction above is adapted from Geobop’s State Symbols and My State Symbols Book, by far the biggest and most detailed state symbols references ever. You can learn still more about the symbols of the 50 states in the books Flag Quest and Grading the States. (Learn more about them here.)

After you spend some time exploring your favorite state’s symbols, you can come back here and tell us what you think about them.

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