Author: Adam DuVander

A Map of U.S. State Mottos

What’s your personal motto? By definition, a motto is a phrase intended to formally describe the general motivation or intention of an organization or individual. Ours might be “Make a map from your data,” while the motto of the United States is “In God We Trust.” The U.S.’s is much more official, as it was proclaimed by Congress and signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956.

The nation as a whole aside, most U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and three territories have their own mottos, which can sometimes be found on state seals, flags, or even quarters.

So, looking at our motto map, let’s figure out the states with more than one, their languages, and the oldest of the bunch.

View U.S. State Mottos in a full screen map

Which States Have More than One Motto?

South Carolina state seal

Every U.S. state has at least one motto, though several states have multiple.

South Carolina is one of the four states with two official mottos: “Dum spiro spero” and “Animis opibusque parati.” Both are in Latin, though they can be translated to:

While I breathe, I hope

Ready in soul and resource

Kentucky also has two state mottos, one in Latin (“Deo gratiam habeamus” or “Let us be grateful to God”) and the other in English (“United we stand, divided we fall”).

The same goes for North Dakota and Vermont. North Dakota’s “Serit ut alteri saeclo prosit,” means “One sows for the benefit of another age” while its second English motto is “Liberty and union, now and forever, one and inseparable.” Vermont’s Latin motto is “Stella quarta decima fulgeat” or “May the fourteenth star shine bright,” followed by “Freedom and Unity.”

Except for Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, which are, unfortunately, motto-less, all other U.S. states and territories have one motto, though they’re in a variety of languages.

The 9 Languages of U.S. State Mottos

The 54 U.S. states and territories have 58 mottos in nine languages. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Latin: 26 states
  • English: 25
  • Chinook Jargon: 1
  • French: 1
  • Greek: 1
  • Hawaiian: 1
  • Italian: 1
  • Samoan: 1
  • Spanish: 1

Latin is the most-used language for state mottos, used by 26 states and territories, including the previously mentioned South Carolina, Kentucky, North Dakota, and Vermont. Also among those with a Latin motto is the District of Columbia (“Justitia Omnibus” or “Justice for all.”)

Meanwhile, the number of English state mottos isn’t far behind, especially in the Midwest (12 states). This includes Wisconsin’s, which is simply, “Forward.”

That leaves just seven states and territories that use another language for their motto, of which each is only used once. Chinook Jargon is the language of Washington’s state motto, which translates to “By and by” in English. Minnesota, California, Hawaii, and Maryland’s mottos are in French, Greek, Hawaiian, and Italian, respectively. Then there’s the Samoan motto for American Samoa and Spanish for Montana.

You can group the map by “Language” to learn more because we’re moving onto the age of these mottos.

The Oldest State Mottos

For most state mottos on the map, the year indicates the earliest date they were officially used. These range from as recent as 2015 to as old as 1511, so let’s take a closer look at the oldest among these in the table below:

Jurisdiction Motto Year
Puerto Rico Joannes Est Nomen Ejus 1511
Connecticut Qui transtulit sustinet 1662
Rhode Island Hope 1664
Massachusetts Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem 1775
Virginia Sic semper tyrannis 1776
South Carolina Dum spiro spero 1777
South Carolina Animis opibusque parati 1777
New York Excelsior 1778
Vermont Freedom and Unity 1779
Georgia Wisdom, Justice, Moderation 1798

The earliest use of a current motto is that of Puerto Rico’s “Joannes est nomen ejus”, which was granted to the island by the Spanish back in 1511. State-side, Connecticut has the oldest motto, “Qui transtulit sustinet,” first used in October 1662.

Of course, it’s no surprise that aside from Puerto Rico, the oldest among these are located in the East, both in the North (Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New York) and South (Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia).

To learn more about the U.S., we’ve created a flashcard map to help you master each state’s capital, flower, and bird.

A Map of the ​​346 U.S. Cities with Higher Elevations than the “Mile High City”

Dever, Colorado gets its “Mile High City” nickname for being 5,280 feet above sea level: exactly one mile. When the average elevation of the United States is 2,500 feet, that may seem high. Yet nearly 350 U.S. towns and cities have higher elevations than Denver, more than 115 of which are even located in Colorado.

So let’s highlight places such as Alma, Montezuma, and Leadville, Colorado that don’t have well-known nicknames pertaining to their elevation. The average of these ​​346 places with higher elevations than Denver is 6,649 feet. And the highest among these? It’s almost two miles above sea level.

View Highest U.S. Elevation Cities in a full screen map

The 10 Highest Elevation Cities Are All Above 9,500 Feet

Alma, Colorado

At over 5,000 feet, all of the 346 U.S. towns and cities on the map are already among the highest in elevation. Yet the 10 places that top even these are even more impressive. So let’s take a look at the 10 cities in the U.S. with the highest elevation.

  • Alma, Colorado – 10,361 feet
  • Montezuma, Colorado – 10,312
  • Leadville, Colorado – 10,158
  • Blue River, Colorado – 10,037
  • Fairplay, Colorado – 9,953
  • Brian Head, Utah – 9,800
  • Victor, Colorado – 9,708
  • Ophir, Colorado – 9,695
  • Breckenridge, Colorado – 9,603
  • Mountain Village, Colorado – 9,600

The 313 residents of Alma, Colorado live in the highest city or town in the U.S. Alma’s 10,361 feet (3,158 meters) elevation is just shy of 2 miles, which is perhaps why it isn’t referred to as the “Two Mile High City.” However, when only administrative boundaries are taken into account, instead of settled areas, the municipality of Winter Park, Colorado becomes the highest incorporated town due to its annexation of a ski area in 2006.

Regardless, Alma (and Winter Park) are far from the only places in Colorado with higher-than-average elevations in the top 10. Eight more Coloradian cities have elevations that range from 10,312 to 9,600 feet, not to mention the 110 other cities in Colorado with elevations higher than Denver.

And then there’s Brian Head, Utah, located at 9,800 feet (2,987 meters). It’s the only town outside of Colorado with an elevation in the top 10. Fittingly, Utah is also home to the second-most high-elevation cities (94). That’s followed by New Mexico (53), Wyoming (45), Arizona (13), Idaho (10), California (4), Montana (3), Nevada (2), South Dakota (1), Oregon (1), and North Carolina (1).

Be sure you check out the high-elevation cities in these states on the map before we move on to the temperatures of some of these cities.

Temperatures in the Highest Elevation Cities Average Are Just Over Freezing

More than just being the highest elevation towns and cities, sitting so far from sea level means these places can get pretty cold. While there was only data for 11 locations (all near the top 20), these temperatures are worth noting, especially as some could rank among the most extreme temps.

Freezing starts at 32 °F—and these 11 towns and cities average just above that at 35.5 °F:

City State Elevation (ft) Average yearly temp (°F) Average yearly temp (°C)
Alma Colorado 10,361 32.4 0.2
Breckenridge Colorado 9,603 33.5 0.8
Dillon Colorado 9,111 34.9 1.6
Fairplay Colorado 9,953 35 1.7
Leadville Colorado 10,158 35.1 1.7
Ophir Colorado 9,695 35.1 1.7
Silverton Colorado 9,318 35.3 1.8
Brian Head Utah 9,800 35.6 2
Silverthorne Colorado 9,035 35.7 2.1
Montezuma Colorado 10,312 37.5 3.1
Victor Colorado 9,708 39.9 4.4

Once again, Alma tops the charts. The average yearly temperature of the #1 highest-elevation town in the U.S. is just .4 °F above freezing.

But that’s where the similarities to our previous rankings, based on elevation, end. The second coldest high-elevation place is Breckenridge, Colorado, which averages 33.5 °F each year. As you might recall, Breckenridge was only ninth in elevation.

Meanwhile, Dillon, Colorado is a brand new mention. Though the 17th highest elevated town, it’s home to the third coldest average yearly temperatures (34.9 °F).

You’ll have to check out the other temps on the map.

The Lowest Summit Is Still Higher than the Highest Town

Charleston Peak in Nevada

While it’s clear Colorado is home to the highest towns and cities places, Alaska is the destination for the highest mountains.

No town nor city on our map surpasses any of the 200 highest summits in the U.S. The lowest is 11,916 feet (Charleston Peak in Nevada), 1,555 feet higher than Alma, Colorado.

Check out these massive mounts on our map of the highest United States summits.

The National Dances of 130+ Countries

Dancing transcends borders and cultures. While every country has its own unique dances that incorporate heritage, values, and traditions, have you ever wondered if any countries share the same national dances?

It turns out that out of the 289 unique national dances represented among 131 countries, some dances are shared by multiple nations.

Let’s put on our dancing shoes and explore the 18 national dances that are represented by more than one country. From Ardah, the most widely-practiced dance, to the traditional Al-Bar’ah in Oman and Yemen, we’ll take a closer look at the types of dances and which countries share them. Finally, we’ll take a look at the state dances throughout the U.S.—especially one very common dance that involves a shape. Yeehaw!

View National dances in a full screen map

The 18 National Dances Shared by Multiple Countries


Although there are 289 unique national dances represented among the 131 countries, there are a total of 313 dances. This means that some national dances are shared by more than one country. So let’s take a look at which dances are represented by multiple countries.

Dance # of countries with this dance Countries
Ardah 5 Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates
Dabke 4 Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria
Quadrille 3 Bahamas, Jamaica, Virgin Islands
Tango 2 Argentina, Uruguay
Sousta 2 Cyprus, Greece
Shota 2 Albania, Kosovo
Rake-and-scrape 2 Bahamas, Turks and Caicos
Pericón 2 Argentina, Uruguay
Peacock dance 2 Bangladesh, Cambodia
Liwa 2 Bahrain, Kuwai
Ländler 2 Austria, Switzerland
Kwadril 2 Dominica, Saint Lucia
Kurdish dance 2 Iran, Iraq
Khaleegy 2 Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates
Irish stepdance 2 Ireland, United Kingdom
Hora 2 Moldova, Romania
Bhangra 2 India, Pakistan
Al-Bar’ah 2 Oman, Yemen

As you can see from the table above, Ardah is the most widely practiced dance. It’s performed by two rows of men wielding swords or canes opposite each other, accompanied by drums and spoken poetry. Middle Eastern countries make up all five for which Ardah is a national dance. The second-most common dance, Dabke, is nearly as popular in Middle Eastern countries. It involves a mix of circle and line dancing and is widely performed at weddings and other joyous occasions.


More than just a region sharing the same dances, some are performed in two countries with similar cultural backgrounds or geographical proximity. For example, both Ardah and Liwa, a dance in which male participants arrange themselves into a circle while clapping and dancing in place, are performed in Bahrain and Kuwait, neighboring countries with shared cultural roots. Similarly, Shota is performed in both Albania and Kosovo, which are located in the same region of Europe, and the Kurdish dance is performed in both Iran and Iraq, two countries that share a border.

Check out the rest of the dances on the map before moving on to their classification, from folk to traditional and classical.

Folk Dances & More Types

Five folk dances

Even if countries don’t share the same dance, quite a few have something else in common: types. Moreover, the following 10 are the types of at least two national dances.

  • Folk dance: 225
  • Traditional dance: 41
  • Classical dance: 9
  • Partner dance: 7
  • Music and dance style: 6
  • Popular dance: 6
  • Square dance: 5
  • Native American dance: 3
  • Afro-Brazilian dance: 2
  • Latin American dance: 2

Folk dances, which reflect the life of the people of the country or region, are by far the most common type, with 225 instances across 98 countries. Examples include the Israeli folk dance, India’s Garba, and the Marma dance in Bangladesh, along with Armenia’s Armenian dance and Shalakho.

Meanwhile, traditional dances are the second most common type, with 41 instances, including Al-Bar’ah in Oman and Yemen, the Chinese ​​dragon dance, and Napal’s Newa dance.

You’ll also find multiple classical, partner, popular, and music and dance style dances on the map. Other less common types of national dances are Native American, Latin American, and Afro-Brazilian dances.

But we can’t forget square dancing, which is the type of national dance of five countries, including many states in the U.S.

How Square Dancers Campaigned in the U.S.

While not on the map, we thought we’d dive further into the most popular state dances of the United States—or should we say, dance.

Just 33 U.S. states have dance data, according to Wikipedia. Of these, 24 (or nearly 73%) are square dances: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington. This is a result of an apparent campaign by square dancers to make it the national dance of many states in the ‘70s.

Other than square dancing, the shag and clogging are more common than the rest. Specifically, the shag is the national dance of South Carolina while in North Carolina, the official popular dance is the Carolina shag. Clogging is representative of both North Carolina and Kentucky.

For more national statistics, don’t miss our maps of the 317 national foods, national drinks, animals,
sports, and flowers and trees.