Montana’s Nickname

Author: Jason Coles

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Updated On:

Nicknames are common for people and sports teams, but why would a U.S. state have a nickname? The 50 States in the U.S. all have special and different qualities that they like to boast about, some of which are used to attract people to the state, whether to live there, or just for a visit, while others are rooted in long-standing history.

Many states developed an initial nickname after they entered the union 100+ years ago, but not all state nicknames have stuck with each state over the years, and many have developed additional nicknames or primary nicknames that they identify with the most or that set them apart from other states. States take their nicknames from various sources so let’s take a look at Montana’s nickname.

Montana's Nickname

What is Montana’s nickname? It is The Treasure State.

The Treasure State is one of the eight Mountain States, situated in the Northern region of the United States, known as the Western United States. Montana is one of the many states that are totally landlocked, Montana borders Idaho from the west and southwest, Wyoming from the south, North Dakota from the north-east, and South Dakota from the south-east.

Montana, like many other states, is known for having multiple nicknames. However, the most well-known nickname associated with Montana is “The Treasure State”, which originated in the mid-1800s, when it became apparent that Montana’s mountains were home to a plethora of rich mineral reserves, such as gold, silver, and sapphires, which later became the gemstone symbol for Montana, paying respect to Montana’s nickname.

Montanas nickname first made its appearance on standard license plates from 1950 to 1966. Although The Treasure State’s origins date back to the 1800s, Montana will always be defined by its rich landscape and mountains, being home to an abundance of “treasure”, which has subsequently boosted the state economy and provided the iconic nickname.

If you are interested in seeing the Nicknames for states in the US (all 50 of them), including the date each state was entered into the Union, then head over to our page that lists them in alphabetical order.

Montana State Nickname

Since its inception to the United States, on November 8th, 1889, Montana has adopted many nicknames, with some Montana state nicknames more self-explanatory than others. The second most populous nickname for Montana is the “Big Sky Country”.

Big Sky Country was originally adopted as a Montana state nickname in 1961, this nickname is based on a book by A. B. “Bud” Guthrie. During a meeting between Guthrie, Jack Hallowell, and writer of Holiday Magazine, John Weaver, Hallowell asked if Guthrie would be comfortable with the state advertising department using “Big Sky” to promote tourism.

Guthrie had no objections to this request and the nickname “Big Sky” was made official. A notable quote from the novel is, “standing under the big sky I feel free”–that his father made during his first day in Montana.”. Montana’s state nickname, “Big Sky Country” appeared on Montana license plates from 1967 to 1975. After 1975 it was shortened to “Big Sky” on license plates from 1976 to 2000.

Nicknames for Montana

Like all other states, Montana has multiple nicknames used to identify the state. Obviously, the official nickname takes the spotlight in comparison, but there are many states that are better known for their non-official nicknames. It’s no secret that the official state nickname for Montana is the most famous, but, what are the nicknames for Montana?

  • The Bonanza State – much like “The Treasure State”, this nickname pays homage to Montana’s mineral wealth. This nickname was given to the state by Judge Wasson Eddy and is in direct correlation with Montana’s many “bonanza” mines.
  • Land of Shining Mountains – another nickname paying respect to Montana’s extensive beauty in its landscape, and of course, mountains. On occasion, if you look to the west of the mountain ranges, the sun will give them a golden shine.
  • The Mountain State – this nickname is obviously referring to the abundance of Mountains in Montana.
  • The Stubtoe State – another nickname referring to the indigenous mountains of Montana, this time with a more human element attached to it, “watch out for that!”…”Ouch”.
  • The Headwaters State – Montana’s headwaters have gathered quite the reputation around the US, mostly due to the fact that the water that flows to the rest of America comes from the mountains of Montana.

What is Montana’s Motto?

Now that you know the answer to the question; how did Montana get its nicknames? It makes sense to take a look at Montana’s motto. All states have a unique state motto, usually derived from an event linked with the state’s historical past, mottos tend to be given to the state as a representation of the people past and present.

What is Montana’s Motto? “It is Oro y Plata”.

“Oro y Plata” is a Spanish phrase that translates to “Gold and Silver”. This is another reference to the when Montana was America’s mining hotspot, being home to an abundance of minerals such as gold and silver. This famous motto can be found on the official state seal as well as other official symbols.

Montana is known for being home to some of the most breathtaking landscapes and mountain ranges in the world, not just North America. On top of this, Montana is the 4th largest state by landmass, with the 44th largest population. Being home to the first-ever national park, Yellowstone National Park, Montana has a rich history as well as notoriously beautiful scenery.

Montana is well-known for its beauty. The landscape is different everywhere you go within the state, from snowy tipped mountain ranges, to open plains stretching miles and miles – Montana really does have everything you could ask for aesthetically.

If you are interested in learning about the Montana State abbreviation, take a look at our page dedicated to this. The Montana postal abbreviation is often confused with other states that have similar letters in them, knowing and memorizing these state abbreviations is highly recommended for a multitude of reasons.

United States Nicknames


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Jason Coles

Jason Coles is the Founder of Foreign USA and its Chief Content Writer and Editor. Recognized as a prolific business plan writer by many prominent immigration attorneys in the U.S. who refer his services to their clients regularly, Jason has written over 1,350 business plans across the past 17+ years for start-up companies and franchises looking to expand their footprint in the United States. Jason is considered a seasoned expert in his field. He creates detailed business plans for his clients that include five-year financial projections, market and industry analysis reports, demographic studies, organizational charts, job descriptions, employee hiring plans, and more.