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 highlight, some of which are used to attract people looking to move to the state, while others act as a draw for those looking to vacation in the state. Some are simply rooted in long-standing history.

Many states developed an initial nickname after they entered the union 200+ 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 Pennsylvania’s nickname.

Pennsylvania's Nickname

What is Pennsylvania’s Nickname? It is “The Keystone State”.

The Keystone State is a Middle Atlantic state, situated along the East coast of the United States. Pennsylvania shares the same border as 6 other states! Delaware from the South-East, Maryland from the South, New Jersey from the East, New York from the North and North-East, Ohio from the West, and West Virginia from the South-West.

There are multiple reasons for the adoption of Pennsylvania’s nickname, the first being due to the location and overall importance of the state. Years ago, before the inception of all 50 states, the United States of America was made up of thirteen different colonies, Pennsylvania was referred to as a key colony, due to its economic, social, and also political development of the United States.

Three of the United States’ most monumental events are associated with the state of Pennsylvania, the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Pennsylvania’s nickname is also mentioned in the second verse of the state song, “Birthplace of a mighty nation, Keystone of the land”. You can also find a Keystone on the US Mint’s Pennsylvania quarter.

A Keystone is a central wedge in an arch, essentially locking all the other pieces together to keep the arch in place. It is the most important part of the arch as it keeps everything held in place and together, every piece of an arch is dependent on the Keystone, which is much the same as Pennsylvania when compared with the rest of the United States, hence the adoption and subsequent popularity of Pennsylvania’s 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.

Pennsylvania State Nickname

Much like many other states, Pennsylvania has adopted multiple nicknames over the years, not just one! Although the Pennsylvania state nickname, “The Keystone State” is the official nickname, there are many other nicknames associated with Pennsylvania, so let’s digress.

  • The Quaker State – another Pennsylvania state nickname is “The Quaker State”, this nickname references the religion of William Penn and the Quakers who settled in the state.
  • The Oil State – Pennsylvania has been home to many successful industries over the years, at present, Quaker State oil is a well-known brand of oil that originates from Pennsylvania.
  • The Coal State – much like the previous Pennsylvania state nickname, this nickname derived from one of the most popular industries Pennsylvania is known for, coal mining.
  • The Steel State – another large industry in Pennsylvania, represented via this nickname.

Now that you know the Pennsylvania state nickname and non-official nicknames, it makes sense to take a look at Pennsylvania’s motto. All states have a unique state motto/slogan, 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.

Pennsylvania’s motto, “Virtue, Liberty, and Independence” made its first appearance on the Pennsylvania coat of arms. The famous slogan was adopted as a representation of the people of the state, past, and present. Not only this, but the motto also pays homage to the history of the state, and how liberty and independence within the US were unlocked by Pennsylvania. Most other states’ mottos appear on their state flag or state seal, this is not the case with Penn state.

If you are interested in learning about the Pennsylvania State abbreviation, take a look at our page on this. Unlike some other states, the Pennsylvania state abbreviation is easier to remember. However, knowing these state abbreviations is highly recommended for many different reasons.