6 Nicknames for Georgia State That Will Surprise You

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A marina with boats next to grass, trees, and city buildings under a blue sky
Georgia's history and agricultural economy were the basis for some of its monikers

Georgia is one of the most charming states in the United States. From its friendly and welcoming locals to its rows of peach orchards, the area has a rich culture. What you may not know is that there are quite a few nicknames for Georgia.

These names range from the well-known Peach State to slightly more obscure names, such as Yankee-Land of the South and the Goober State. If you want to learn more about these alternate names, keep reading for six Georgia monikers and the reasons behind them.

6 Georgia Nicknames

Peach State is one of the nicknames for Georgia due to its many peach orchards
Peaches, which grow abundantly in Georgia, are also the official state fruit

Peach State

When you think of Georgia, the Peach State automatically springs to mind. The peach tree was first introduced to Georgia by Franciscan monks in the 16th century. The trees thrived in Georgia's climate, and by the 19th century, Georgia was a significant producer of peaches, outstripping all other states.

Even though this industry suffered a setback during the Civil War, it rebounded, putting Georgia back as the nation's top producer. The peach is represented in a few other ways as well. For example, the peach was named Georgia's official state fruit in 1995, and the Georgia Peach is represented on the state's license plates.

Ultimately, this Georgia state nickname underlines the region's rich agricultural history and its essential role in the production of peaches. Worryingly, climate change has been negatively affecting peach crops in recent years. However, the state believes it can overcome these issues to remain the Peach State in the future!

The Watermelon State

Another fruit-based name for Georgia is the Watermelon State. As with the Peach State, this nickname was created because Georgia is one of the main watermelon producers in the country.

While not the top producer (that would be Florida), it's in the top four, along with California and Texas. Production varies, but Georgia generally ranks second in watermelon production per state. In addition, a town in Georgia named Cordele often goes by the name the Watermelon Capital of the World.

A bird of prey with a red beak perched on a tree
Georgia is home to many buzzards and has strong laws to protect them

Buzzard State

The Buzzard State is a nickname connected to the area's wildlife. Buzzards, a type of bird of prey, are quite widespread in Georgia and are important to local ecosystems.

However, concerned about the decline in the buzzard population, Georgia passed laws protecting them. These laws included making disturbing a buzzard's nest or eggs illegal. The final nail in the coffin of buzzard hunters was the Georgia Wildlife Conservation Act, which makes it unlawful to kill, injure, or capture buzzards without a permit.

With all this protection and increased buzzard populations over the last few decades, it's no wonder the Georgia nickname of the Buzzard State exists. When visiting, you can spot these birds at many outdoor Georgia landmarks, such as at Reed Bingham State Park.

Empire State of the South

The Empire State of the South relates to Georgia's rapid economic growth in the period before the American Civil War. At the time, the state's land area was one of the largest among the states east of the Mississippi River. Georgia was also industrializing at a rapid pace.

The name was first used in the 1840s by the Georgians to compare Georgia to New York, already known as the "Empire State." New York was the most populous and economically powerful state in the Union, and Georgia was seen as a rising star in the South. However, the Empire State of the South name is not used frequently these days and is primarily seen in historical texts.

A peanut field with trees in the distance under a blue sky
One of the nicknames for Georgia that refers to its rich agriculture is Goober State

The Goober State

An interesting fact about Georgia is that it is the largest peanut producer in the US. The term "goober" is a colloquial term for peanuts. Therefore, Georgia became known as the Goober State (or Peanut State).

This nickname for Georgia dates to the Civil War when peanuts were a major food staple for many soldiers in the South. After the war, peanut production in Georgia continued to expand, meaning that the Goober State nickname stuck.

Goober State is no longer used as frequently as it once was. However, it is still sometimes used by people from Georgia or outsiders familiar with the state. It can also be seen on some merchandise and souvenirs.

Yankee-Land of the South

Yankee is a word that dates to around the Civil War. It was used to describe people from the North of the country and those in the Union. Today, it's mainly used as a nickname for all Americans or those from New England.

However, it also has connections to Georgia. While Yankee-Land of the South is not the most common nickname, it has been used to describe the state in the past, particularly the Atlanta metropolitan area. This is because Atlanta is home to many people who were born in the North of the United States. It is also seen as having political views more similar to the North than many parts of the South.

This term isn't used that much these days, though. The moniker is even seen as somewhat offensive, as Georgia is a proud Southern state with a unique culture and history.

In Summary

Georgia has an array of nicknames, each reflecting a different aspect of the state's culture and history. They have evolved over time, reflecting the region's changing demographics and sensibilities.

Some of the names for Georgia relate to its agricultural industry, like the Peach State. Others, such as the Buzzard State, highlight its wildlife. No matter how many of these you already knew, you're sure to have discovered something new about Georgia's monikers and their origins!

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Written by Audrey Wilson

AudreyMW FORMER WRITER Born and living in South Africa, Audrey has lived in four countries extensively and traveled to many others across the globe. Travel is in her blood, and she plans to see more of the world.

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