Only U.S. Geography Experts Can Identify at Least a Third of the States By Their Silhouette!

By: Amanda M.
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

While there is a debate as to who discovered America (China, Leif Erickson and the Vikings, and most notably Christopher Columbus), Christopher Columbus was the explorer responsible for opening North America up to Europe for exploration and expansion of their domains.  By the time the 1700s rolled in, 13 colonies had been established under British rule, with a square mileage of 430,000, with a population of  2.4 million people.  Toward the end of the 1700s, these same colonies had fought and won a revolution, starting the infancy of the United States.  Today, the United States covers almost four million square miles and has a population of nearly 326 million people.  

At first, it seemed like the borders were established by rivers and streams, creating some pretty distinctive shapes, like the dog's profile of New York state or the boot-shaped state of Louisiana.  However, once you start heading westward, the states start becoming almost rectangular (eight of the states have actually succeeded in this feat), making it difficult to tell which one is which.

So, do you have what it takes to identify a silhouetted state when it is separated from the others?  One way to find out is to take this quiz!


In 2008, Barack Obama broke through the racial barrier by becoming the 44th President of the United States, making him the first black president in history. Although many tend to think of him as an Illinois native (he was a Senator from that state), he was actually born in Hawaii, making him the first president to be born in that state.

If you are looking for a place filled with mystery and nature, look no further than Maine. Not only did Stephen King base many of his spooky and at times horrifying stories in this state, but the home on "Dark Shadows," Collinwood Mansion, is here, too.

Do you have a sweet tooth? If so, go head down to Georgia. Not only is Georgia known for its peaches and pecans, but it also was the birthplace of Coca-Cola in 1886 and of the sweet Vidalia onion in 1930!

Did you know that Alaska has about 5,000 earthquakes a year? Neither did we! Not only that, but in 1964, the largest earthquake recorded in North America occurred in the Prince William Sound region, with a magnitude of 9.2. It lasted four and a half minutes and was the second largest earthquake to ever be recorded.

Did you know that some states have official dogs? Well, in Colorado, it isn't the case: While learning about the legislative process, some schoolchildren proposed that shelter dogs and cats become the state's official pets. There was a little opposition, but in May of 2013, the bill was passed!

For 85 years, Rugby, North Dakota celebrated that it was the geographical center of North America. In 2017, Professor Peter Rogerson debunked this theory using a method he had published in 2015. Ironically, the center of North America lies in a city called Center. Maybe the city's founders knew something that others didn't?

Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor behind the design of Mount Rushmore, has sculpted Abraham Lincoln's head more than once. In 1908, Borglum carved a 40-inch, 375-pound bust of Lincoln, which resides at the U.S. Capitol Building.

The World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 was hosted in Chicago, and with 150,000 people coming in its doors a day, it had quite the influence on various industries, including architecture. One innovation from this exposition included the Ferris Wheel, which took riders up over 200 feet to survey the fairgrounds. Today, a Ferris Wheel is located at Navy Pier, giving its riders a unique view of Chicago.

Maryland has two professional sports teams that are named after birds, both based out of Baltimore. The Baltimore Orioles, a major league baseball team, is named after the state bird, the Baltimore oriole. The other team, NFL team Baltimore Ravens, got their name from literary critic and writer, Edgar Allen Poe's most notorious work, "The Raven."

As a member of the Big Ten Basketball Conference, the Kansas State University Jayhawks have been contenders for the crown during March Madness. But what is a jayhawk? Not a bird, but it was slang for raiders and looters during the period following the passing of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which dealt with slavery in the state: jayhawks were proponents for a Kansas free of slavery.

In 1872, J. Sterling Morton, who would later serve as Secretary of Agriculture during Grover Cleveland's presidency, proposed an interesting holiday: a holiday to promote the planting of trees in Nebraska. This new holiday, celebrated on April 10 in Nebraska, became known as Arbor Day.

Michael Jackson, one of the world's most celebrated musical artists was born in Gary, Indiana. In 1982, he released "Thriller," an album that dominated the charts for more than a year, selling 50 million copies, and producing seven number one hits. During this time, Jackson's song "Billie Jean" gave him another distinction: He was the first artist to have a top single on both the pop and R&B charts while having the top R&B and pop album slots at the same time.

Do you like having your own phone number? If so, take a moment to thank the city of Detroit, Michigan! It was the first city in the United States to assign individual phone numbers to its residents in 1879. Detroit is also home to the only floating post office, the J.W. Westcott II, which has its own ZIP code of 48222.

For the last 50 years, Milwaukee's Summerfest, dubbed the "The World's Largest Music Festival," has created memories for music lovers by introducing music of all types to the populace. This isn't just a small venue: the current facility houses 13 different stages, 12 of which you can access with a general admission ticket. Journey, Def Leppard, Tom Petty, Buddy Guy, The Pixies and Cheap Trick have all graced one of the stages at one time or another.

The name Henry Longabaugh may not sound familiar to you. However, his nickname "Sundance Kid" may ring a few bells. Longabaugh earned this nickname after spending time in a prison for stealing a horse in Sundance, Wyoming. Upon release, he and his gang (the Wild Bunch), continued their criminal ways, causing the longest crime spree in the American West. Longabaugh's whereabouts after this spree are disputed: some historians think he fled to South America and died in Bolivia, others think that he spent some time in South America, returning to the U.S. using an alias.

Given that Virginia was one of the original colonies, it shouldn't be a surprise that this land holds a lot of the nation's firsts. However, out of the first five presidents of the United States, four out of the five (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe) hailed from the Cavalier State.

Did you know that eight presidents have ties to Ohio? Neither did we! Aside from Virginia, Ohio is the only other state that can claim that many presidents! Although Virginia can tout that a majority of their presidents were born there, William Henry Harrison, Ulysses Grant, Rutherford Hayes, James Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William Taft and Warren Harding all have had some connection to the Buckeye State. Interestingly enough, William Henry Harrison could be counted toward both of these states' counts: Harrison was born in Virginia, but was a senator from Ohio!

Do you have a sweet tooth? If so, take a trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania! Home to The Hershey Company, producer of chocolate and candy, this city's motto is "The Sweetest Place on Earth," and has several chocolate-themed amenities, including chocolate kiss-shaped streetlights, a chocolate spa, and chocolate themed amusement park!

Do you like hazelnuts? If so, maybe you should move to Oregon. This state is responsible for the production of 99% of the nation's hazelnuts.

Even though it is the smallest of the states, Rhode Island paved the way for a couple of significant political movements. In 1636, Roger Williams founded Providence after being banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony because of his political viewpoint: separating church from state. Rhode Island was also the first state to pass a gradual emancipation law: any child born after March 1, 1784 was eligible to become free after a period of time.

The winters in Massachusetts can be brutal, where students would be stuck inside for longer periods of time without recess. Dr. James Naismith, a physical education teacher, could identify with this issue and did what many teachers still do today: invent a game to occupy their students. The result? In December 1891, the first basketball game was played using a soccer ball and two peach baskets nailed to rails.

The Everglades National Park covers 1.5 million acres of South Florida. Called "The largest subtropical wilderness in the United States," it houses an array of different wildlife including the American crocodile and American alligator (this is the only location where both these animals are seen together naturally), manatees, spotted sandpipers and Florida panther.

The Louisiana Bayou is one of the more unique environments in the United States. Stretching over three million acres, it houses blue herons, American alligators, white-tailed deer, and 100 different species of fish. Because of the amount of fish, three quarters of the fish caught for distribution from Louisiana comes from the wetlands.

One of the most popular songs in the English language was born in Kentucky. In 1893, Mildred and Patty Hill composed a song for teachers to sing to their students called "Good Morning to All." Never heard of it? Well, once Robert Coleman put different lyrics to it in 1924, you may recognize it as "Happy Birthday to You."

After the cities of Woodstock and Wallkill passed on hosting a music festival in 1969, a small farmer in Bethell lent his farmland out to host what is now recognized as Woodstock. This four-day festival highlighted a lot of what is now considered essential '60s music including Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez, Janis Joplin and Santana.

Bruce Springsteen, the musician behind the album "Born in the USA," was born in Freehold, New Jersey. "Born in the USA" was a very well-received album, but it doesn't cover some of Springsteen's more prolific work. "Streets of Philadelphia" was a song featured in the 1993 film "Philadelphia," which helped bring the plight of people infected with AIDS to the mainstream. This song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for that year.

Do you love to munch on potato chips? If so, you should thank the Scotch-Irish immigrants who planted the first potatoes in the United States in 1719.

In July 1945, the first atomic bomb was tested in Central New Mexico. This bomb was created during the Manhattan project, had a 19 kiloton explosion, which was felt by residents from up to 160 miles away. A month later, the U.S. dropped two nuclear bombs in Japan, leading to the country's surrender to the Allied Forces during World War II.

The Grand Canyon is one of Arizona's most notable and breathtaking views. It stretches almost 300 miles and has a depth of 6,000 feet deep. In American folklore, tall tale fictional character Paul Bunyan was believed to have created the canyon by dragging his ax behind him while walking with his big blue ox, Babe while on a quest for firewood.

The Sequoia National Park, located in eastern California, houses some of the tallest trees in the world as well as the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states. Mount Whitney stands at 14,505 feet above sea level and the tallest tree has a name: General Sherman, a sequoia in the Giant Forest, stands at 275 feet tall with a circumference of over 100 feet. Imagine being a bird flying to your nest up there!

Bugsy Siegel could be considered the father of the Las Vegas Strip: the Flamingo Hotel and Casino opened in December 1946. Today, 45 million people visit Las Vegas a year to experience the city, enjoying gambling, shows and other events.

Washington is usually known for its high production of apples. However, it doesn't stop there: this state produces the most apples, pears, hops, red raspberries and sweet cherries. 2010 was a particularly fruitful year: Washington's harvest generated $1.44 billion.

The Blue Lacy was a dog bred on a ranch by the Lacy brothers in the mid-1800s, and it seems to be a personification of the Texan spirit. Sleek, incredibly hard-working, unshakable, these pups are gentle and a perfect companion for time out on a ranch. In 2001, this pup became the state dog.

Are you someone who likes to shop? If so, grab your comfy walking shoes and wallet! The Mall of America, located in Bloomington, Minnesota is a mecca for those who like to shop 'til they drop. Covering 4.2 million square feet, this megastructure has shopping galore as well as two mini-golf courses, an aquarium, and amusement park!

Literary icon Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, was born in Missouri. His works include, "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," "The Adventures of Huck Finn" and "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County."

For 30 years, Iowa native Johnny Carson interviewed and entertained the populace on "The Tonight Show." The show's first guest was Groucho Marx, a comedy legend known for his movies and the game show "You Bet Your Life." The final star? Another comedian: Robin Williams, who would make Carson double over with laughter with every appearance.

Oklahoma City, the capital of Oklahoma, is located in an area of the United States nicknamed "tornado alley." On one very unfortunate day, Oklahoma was struck not by one, but five different tornadoes! Between 1890 and 2010 Oklahoma City was hit by 147 tornadoes.

One of the unsung heroes of the American Revolutionary War isn't a human, it's a tree! The iconic palmetto trees that grow in South Carolina saved countless lives. How? The logs of these trees are incredibly resilient: when cannonballs were hurled toward a fort on Sullivan's Island, these cushy logs bounced them off of them, instead of splintering and causing harm to those inside.

An avid hunter, President Theodore Roosevelt, was on a hunting trip with Mississippi Gov. Andrew Longino in Onward, Mississippi in 1902 when he came across a bear tied to a tree. After refusing to kill a hopeless animal, a toy was created that is still cuddled by kids today: the Teddy Bear.

Are you a fan of the Christmas season? Can't wait to get your hands on candy canes and peppermint everything? There's no doubt that we all love the time off around the end of the year. What does this have to do with Alabama? It was the first state to declare Christmas a national holiday in 1836.

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