The first Alabamians were sometimes known as "lizards", which gave the state its earlier nickname of Lizard State back in 1845.
In more recent times the state has been known as the Yellowhammer State, from Civil War days, and many people believe that it derives from the species of woodpecker - in reality, it arose from the yellow colour of the home-dyed uniforms that the Alabama troops wore during the Civil War. While there is no official nickname for the state, The Heart of Dixie is the most commonly used.
Apart from various Almanacs, directories, dictionaries and official Web sites, my main reference source has been H. Where possible I've tried to specifically identify whether a state has a nickname which is officially recognised as such by the state's legislature.
When I've been able to do so, the details appear alongside the state's name (with the date it was adopted).
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It was introduced by the state's Chamber of Commerce in the 1940s for publicity purposes, and in 1951 was approved by the legislature for inclusion on licence plates, although the first of these did not appear until four years later.
Alaska has no official nickname although, when it joined the union in 1959 a number of suggestions were made.
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