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Montana State Motto

Motto and Nickname

The Montana State Motto
The Montana State is expressed in Spanish as "Oro y plata" which means:

"Gold and Silver"

The Meaning of the Montana State Motto
The meaning of this famous motto reflects the discovery of gold in the mountains of Montana in 1862 closely followed by the discovery of silver in 1865. This led to a Montana gold rush and the region became known as the Treasure State. The motto is the only one in Spanish and featured on the Great Seal. The Great Seal was designed by Francis McGee Thompson that contained the words "Oro el Plata,", but were changed. The legislature considered using the word "Eldorado" in the motto but this idea was voted down.

"Gold and silver"


The Montana State Nickname
The Montana Motto is complimented by a less formal, popular Montana nickname which, combined with the motto, are highly descriptive of the people, the geography and the history of the state. The names used as nicknames are:

Montana State Nickname List
Official Nickname: Treasure State
Big Sky Country
The Last Best Place
Land of Shining Mountains, the Bonanza State

George Washington


The Origin and Meaning of the Montana Nicknames
The American citizens who live in, or who come from Montana, are referred to as Montanans.. The history, origin and meaning of each of the state's nicknames are as follows:

The Treasure State and the Land of Shining Mountainse
The official nickname of the Treasure State together with the Land of Shining Mountains and the Bonanza state refer to the gold and silver found in the mountains of Montana. In 1852, a trapper named Francois Finlay found the first recorded gold in what is now Montana. Soon other gold strikes were made starting the Montana Gold Rush and the emergence of many boomtowns at Bannack, Virginia City, Diamond City and Helena. Butte became famous when both silver and copper were discovered in 1865. Butte became the leading mining district of Montana Territory.

The Big Sky Country
The "Big Sky Country" was introduced at the 1962 promotion of the Montana State Highway Department. The origin of the nickname was inspired by the title of a book by Alfred Bertram Guthrie Jr. (1901 – 1991) the American novelist, screenwriter, historian and Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction. The "Big Sky" was published in 1947 and this name was suggested by a highway employee.

The Last Best Place
The "Last Best Place" was adopted from the title of an anthology of Montana writers published in 1988 by the Montana Historical Society and edited by William Kittredge and Annick Smith. William Kittredge is quoted as saying "I was thinking of the book ‘The Last Good Kiss’ by James Crumley, and Lincoln’s statement that the U.S. was the last best hope of mankind. The phrase popped into my head and I said, ‘How about The Last Best Place?’ "


The Constitution of Montana
The constitution of Montana establishes the basic rights of its citizens and echoes the words and sentiments of the motto. The preamble (opening) of the constitution is as follows:

"We the people of Montana grateful to God for the quiet beauty of our state, the grandeur of our mountains, the vastness of our rolling plains, and desiring to improve the quality of life, equality of opportunity and to secure the blessings of liberty for this and future generations do ordain and establish this constitution."

Preamble of the Constitution of Montana


Montana State Motto for Kids

Learn the meaning of the motto for kids
"Gold and silver" motto
Find the meaning of the Motto and nickname
Meaning, History and Origin of the motto for kids
Meaning, origin and history of the nickname
Interesting facts, info and picture of the flag
Official Nickname "Treasure State"
Meaning of the motto and nickname for schools, kids and children

Abraham Lincoln

Montana State Motto and Nickname for Kids

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