Minnesota is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes. It says it right on the license plate. I always assumed this was created by the State of Minnesota government. I assumed it was the same as naming our state bird the Loon, or the state flower (Pink Lady Slipper), but that's not exactly the case.

Minnesota's Slogan Land Of 10,000 Lakes Started During WWI

I was recently watching an episode from Minnesota Historia from PBS North, and they offered the historical background of where the slogan started.

It goes all the way back to 1917. It's the same period as the First World War. It's been 107 years since the slogan first was used.

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Did Land Of 10,000 Lakes start as a tourist trap campaign?

According to Minnesota Historia, an association was formed to boost tourism in Minnesota. The association was called 'The Ten Thousand Lakes Association.' It was formed by over 50 communities who invested in the ad campaign.

PBS North YouTube
PBS North YouTube

They came up with the slogan 'Land Of 10,000 Lakes' and started using it on their pamphlets. They also came up with 'The Bread And Butter State.' That didn't stick as well.

Read More: Minnesotans Offered Gas Card To Travel To Michigan To Buy Weed

Land Of 10,000 Lakes Came During The First Automotive Boom

The rise in popularity of the automobile made it possible for middle-class Americans to travel. That's why the association was formed to bring tourists to Minnesota. That's also when roadside 'tourist traps' started popping up. They were designed to grab your attention and also some of your money. Who can blame them? It's not a bad thing.

It first appeared on license plates in Minnesota in 1950.

Minnesota adopted the tagline and put it on license plates starting in 1950, according to the Star Tribune. For the last 74 years, it has remained on every licensed vehicle in the state.

Minnesota has more than 12,000 lakes.

Minnesota has more than 12,000 lakes, but I guess 10,000 is a better round number. Still, tourists got the point and the advertising campaign was a massive success.

Quiz: Do you know your state insect?

Stacker has used a variety of sources to compile a list of the official state insect(s) of each U.S. state, as well as their unique characteristics. Read on to see if you can guess which insect(s) represent your state. 

Gallery Credit: Andrew Vale