The Surprising Story Behind How Wisconsin Got Its Name

Wisconsin state of United States flag textile cloth fabric waving on the top sunrise mist fog

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William Shakespeare didn't take much stake into what goes into a name. In "Romeo and Juliet," the famous writer had Juliet say, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose/ By any other name would smell as sweet." However, we would beg to differ with Shakespeare on how much a name matters.

That brings us to the whole purpose of this article: Have you ever wondered how your state got its name? The names of all the 50 states reflect their histories — From the tribes native of the region to the European countries who colonized. While some state names are unconfirmed or disputed, the vast majority of them have definitive etymologies. Insider graciously compiled a list of how each state got its name. Here's what they found out about the great state of Wisconsin:

"European explorer and missionary Father Jacques Marquette called the Wisconsin River the 'Meskonsing' in his journal during a voyage. Explorer Rene Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, misread Marquette's capital 'M' and reprinted it 'Ou.' Various misspellings eventually led to the most commonly used 'Ouisconsin.' After the War of 1812, Americans frequented the state and eventually dropped the French 'Ou' for the American 'W.'"

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