If We Show You a Corner of the State, Can You Identify It?

WORLD

Zoe Samuel

7 Min Quiz

This bit is very pointy! Which state do you think it is?

Home state of Garrison Keillor and childhood home of Charles A. Lindbergh, Minnesota sits on the northern border of the lower 48 states. It has a corner bordering Canada that sticks out sharply. At least if you got a cut on it, you wouldn't have to look far for some ice to put on it!

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Look at that little bulge in the corner! Which state has this corner?

Northwestern state Oregon's eastern border is defined by the Snake River, which wiggles around, giving the border its distinctive shape. The bulge includes the ominously named Hells Canyon Recreational Area

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This is a very regular shape, isn't it? What state do you think it is?

The home of Jackson Hole, Wyoming is a big state with a very small population, warranting only one representative in the US House of Representatives! A place of astounding natural beauty, Wyoming has no state income tax, so it's not just a nice place to visit.

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A corner that looks like it's grabbing something! What a state! Though ... what state?

Having broken away from the Confederate States of America, and thus the rest of Virginia, West Virginia became a US state during the American Civil War. It is the only state to be admitted into the Union by presidential proclamation.

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What's up with this long, skinny corner? What state might it be?

Oklahoma isn't just where the wind comes racing down the plain. It has the longest compulsory period of education, requiring all children ages 5 to 18 to attend school. Perhaps this is because it was one of the states hit hardest during The Great Depression.

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This is a wiggly little corner! To what state does it belong?

The Show Me State has eight states on its borders and is the home state of the (long deceased) tallest man in recorded medical history, Robert Pershing Wadlow, who stood at nearly nine feet tall! If you enjoy soybeans, it is likely owed to Missouri.

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An inverted corner!? What state could this possibly be?

Home of the Great Salt Lake, The Beehive State is home to some amazing natural beauty, with Bryce Canyon National Park, Monument Valley and Zion National Park. It is also where Philo Farnsworth, inventor of the television, is from.

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Look at that jagged corner! Now decide which state it belongs to!

Wisconsin lays claim to the largest water park in the US, The National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and 7,446 rivers and streams. Perhaps most importantly, it is the setting for "Wayne's World".

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This corner looks like the bottom edge of a vase! What state is it?

Michigan is home to "Motor City" for good reason: it's the center of American automobile design, and at one point, manufacturing! Today, it's the second most diverse state in terms of agriculture, and it has more freshwater shoreline than any other state.

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Look at the pompadour on this state! What state are you looking at here?

The fourth US state, Georgia is the eighth-most populous state in the nation! Named for King George II, not the nation of Georgia, Georgia is the only place in the world where the Vidalia onion is cultivated.

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This corner looks very subtle. Of what state is it a part?

The Prairie State is the birthplace of Ronald Reagan, the Chicago Cubs, the Chicago White Sox and a law that makes it legal for people under the age of 21 to drink alcohol, provided they are enrolled in an accredited culinary school. "Illinois" is Algonquin for "warriors".

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Wait, this looks really weird. What state are you seeing here?

The first state to ban plastic bags and certain kinds of sunscreen is also the second widest state, and the only state where all billboards are illegal. The state is even so isolated in the Pacific that it has its own time zone: Hawaiian Standard Time.

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This bit looks almost like the ear of a cat! What is it?

The Buckeye State is a place of firsts: the first traffic light in the US, the first ambulance service, the first cash register! It is also the birthplace of Steven Spielberg, Paul Newman and a grand total of seven US presidents.

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Bits of this border look like a broken glass. What state is it?

Idaho isn't just a massive producer of potatoes, it is an innovator in potato technology, especially when it comes to frozen spuds. Not limiting its power sources to spuds, the Idaho National Laboratory was first to harness nuclear power to provide electricity for a city.

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Is this state depressed? To what state does this corner with a depression belong?

The Lone Star State is the largest of the lower 48 states, with 262,015 square miles of area. Since its founding, Texas has seen flags of seven nations fly over its huge expanses: The United States, The Confederate States, Spain, France, Mexico, and of course the Republic of Texas.

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Is this the bottom? It looks weird, how it sticks out ... What state is it?

The Empire State is one of the oldest and most storied states, exporting talented New Yorkers to all manner of industries from science to media to politics. It is the home of West Point, Niagara Falls and the otherworldly Adirondack Mountains in the north of the state.

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Western edges of this state are wiggly! To what state does this sharp edge belong?

North Carolina is one of the remarkable original colonies. Noted for being the birthplace of Pepsi, it is a major producer of sweet potatoes. It was In Fayettville, North Carolina, on March 7, 1914, that Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run.

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The bottom bit of this state has a little handle on it. What state has it?

Connecticutions (people from Connecticut) are huge contributors to the nation, from the author of the first dictionary to the oldest newspaper in continuous print to the creation of the hamburger. While the state's legislature is fairly normal by American standards, it does produce the occasional strange law, including one requiring all pickles to bounce.

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What's this hooked corner? Do you know what state it is?

The state that produced both Presidents Adams also gave the world the Fig Newton (named for Newton, Mass.) the birth control pill, and of course Harvard. MIT's students are renowned for their eccentric pranks, which have included disassembling a police car and rebuilding it on the dome of the library.

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The bottom of this state looks like a foot! Which of the 50 states are you seeing here?

The Green Mountain State is the second smallest state by population, and among the first states to outlaw slavery. The first state to join the US after the initial 13, it is perhaps best known as the adopted home of Bernie Sanders, and the location of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream.

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Wow! What a square edge! What "uncool" state is this?

"Square" was what one used to call someone who was uncool, back in the 1950s. To people who live in Colorado, it's just the corners of their state! On a globe, Colorado, the first state to legalize cannabis for recreational use, looks almost like a perfect rectangle.

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The western edge of this state looks almost like it's a coast! Can you deduce to which state this corner belongs?

Arizona contains some of the most fascinating ruins in the world, with well-preserved ancient homes of the Hohokam (ancient natives who predate the current groups) and Casa Grande, a magnificent building by the same people. Located in the beautiful American Southwest, it contains a huge portion of the Grand Canyon.

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Do you recognize the state this "spilling" corner is a part of?

Montana is a state of magnificent natural beauty, with a triple divide that sends water to the Pacific, Atlantic and Hudson Bay in the north. It is home to the largest herd of migrating elk in the US. It's no wonder it is called The Treasure State.

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A dagger-like corner! Yikes! What state is this?

Delaware is home to more than half of all publicly traded US corporations because it has very lenient tax laws. It is as narrow as its tax laws are generous, with the widest point of only 35 miles.

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This corner looks like a chimney! What state is it?

Penn's woods are where America got its first baseball stadium, where the Declaration of Independence was signed, and where chocolate manufacturer Hershey gets down to business. It's also the birthplace of Hollywood legend Jimmy Stewart and television personality Chris Matthews.

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What's up with this state's little top corner? Which state is it?

The Volunteer State gets its nickname from when locals volunteered to fight in the War of 1812 in the south, in Louisiana. It's the lifelong home of beloved performer Dolly Parton, The Grand Ole Opry and the brand Jack Daniels, whose namesake died after getting an infection in his foot after breaking it because he kicked his safe in frustration when he forgot its combination.

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The northwest corner of this state is so square, it's practically a brick! Can you see which state it is?

New Mexico truly is an enchanted land, complete with ghosts: Las Vegas, NM is the location where legendary gunslinger Doc Holliday ran a dental office (that was also a saloon and casino) before heading to Tombstone, AZ. It is also the birthplace of the atomic bomb, and home to the nuclear lab at Los Alamos.

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This state has a corner in the middle that looks like a shelf! Do you know what state this is?

Named for King Louis XIV, Louisiana stands alone as the only state that still uses the Napoleonic Code in its common law. Home to New Orleans, Louisiana nurtured musicians, actors, authors and presidents, producing such famous names as Anne Rice, Dee Brown and Ellen DeGeneres.

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This state's eastern edge has this cool inverted corner. What is this state?

The Golden State is home to some of the biggest names in media and tech, making it one of the largest economies in the world; even larger than many nations. It's the center for movie and television production, home to the least affordable city in the US (San Francisco) and the lowest point of land in the US (Death Valley).

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This state's northeast corner looks pretty anonymous. Which state is it?

Double the size of Texas, at 591,000 square miles, Alaska is more than wilderness and oil pipelines. It is where, as a gambler, boxing promoter Tex Rickard made a mint which he later put toward founding The New York Rangers and building Madison Square Garden. The name of the state is a corruption of a word in the Aleutian language translating as “object toward which the action of the sea is directed”.

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An inverted corner on the western border of this state should make it easy to name. Which state do you see here?

The Garden State is where the first dinosaur fossil was found in the US, and it's where Thomas Edison built the first movie production company. New Jersey played host to the first submarine ride in the US, and its Atlantic City Boardwalk is a famous tourist attraction.

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The northernmost corner of this state looks like it's been through a lot! What state is it?

The Commonwealth of Kentucky is more than Louisville Sluggers and the Kentucky Derby. It hosts five national parks, includes parts of three major physiographic regions of the country and contains The Mega Cavern, a former mine that is now considered the state's largest building.

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This state's northwest border looks like a combination of order and chaos! What state do see you here?

Iowa isn't just the first state to have a say in presidential nominations, it's where the man who invented mechanically sliced bread was born! It's a state where there is a four to one hog to human ratio, where there's the annual National Hobo Convention, and it has the largest truck stop.

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This state's southern border includes this bit that looks almost like a mitten! At which of these states are you looking?

Nevada is an unforgiving land with a fascinating history. It was during the construction of the Hoover Dam that workers created construction "helmets" by joining two baseball caps together with a layer of tar. Nevada is where Las Vegas made its indelible stamp on Americana, where magicians hit the mainstream in a big way and where aging musicians can settle in for the long haul with stationary acts.

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Look at the southeast corner of this state and despair! What state is it?

Rhode Island was the home of world-famous horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, who laid the foundation for much of what we consider the horror and science fiction genres today. One of the oldest states, it's where America had its first circus, first automotive speeding ticket, and it is proud of the fact that it never ratified the 18th Amendment, which started prohibition.

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The inverted corner of this state's border should give it away ... if it weren't being shown to you at a random rotation! What state is it?

Once referred to as The Great American Desert, the Cornhusker State is the only state with a single house in its legislature. Nebraska's reputation for agriculture is well-founded, with the largest underground water reserves in the nation.

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This corner looks almost square, but not quite! Which state are you looking at here?

The only state to be named for a president, Washington produces more apples than any state in the nation, although perhaps cherries would feel more appropriate. The home of Microsoft and Boeing, Washington State sits just south of Canada and has a great deal of international commerce as a result.

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Can you recognize this state's irregular corner?

Mark Indiana well for its Indianapolis 500 race, and for producing current Vice President Mike Pence. Its capital, moved to Indianapolis in 1925, is the US state capital closest to the middle of its state. Indiana is also the home state of David Letterman!

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Do you know what state this is from its northeast border?

Alabama's Crimson Tide is just a taste of what the state has going for it. The rocket that took Neil Armstrong to the moon was built in Alabama, its official state fair is a Renaissance Faire, and it can boast such hometown heroes as Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Joe Louis!

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Can you name this state from its northwest corner?

The Magnolia State gave the world "Muppets" creator Jim Henson, The King of Rock and Roll Elvis Presley, jazz legend B.B. King, playwright Tennessee Williams, country singer Faith Hill and show biz titan Oprah Winfrey. It is the site of the first lung transplant and it has the world's longest man-made beach.

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Image: JakeOlimb/ DigitalVision Vectors/ Getty Images

About This Quiz

The states have changed shape a lot since the founding of the USA. Some states became several, as with Massachusetts. Some states came into being and were reshaped repeatedly as maps were redrawn to satisfy other states or federal laws that were governed by geography. Some states' borders are determined by natural geography, as with the states on the coasts, or states bordered by rivers. Other states have borders created purely out of the imaginations of politicians and cartographers, such as with borders with no clear geographic boundaries to be seen in the world. All states are unique, but some states have commonalities. Nine states have panhandles, after all.

The USA has a lot of easily recognizable parts, but if those areas aren't local to you personally, could you recognize them on a map? If the USA were turned into a jigsaw puzzle with no clear outside edge, would you be able to reassemble even the state in which you live? While not a part of the citizenship test, the ability to recognize places on the map is important, even in this age of mapping apps on our phones. It's time to test your knowledge of American cartography! Can you recognize states just from a corner?

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