05/07/2013 08:56 am ET

12 U.S. Place Names You Didn't Know Were Spanish (SLIDESHOW)

12 U.S. Spanish Place Names Explained

While many view Hispanic influence in the United States as something that came along with the era of mass immigration of the 1990s and early 2000s, Latino culture has been part of North America for a long time.

The Spaniards first began exploring the territory that would become the United States in the 16th century and had already established settlements throughout Florida and the U.S. southwest well before the English first settled Jamestown in 1607.

Part of that legacy is that a bunch of U.S. cities, counties and states retain Spanish names, or English-language versions. Colorado ("red-colored") and Montana ("mountain") are two frequently cited examples, but there are many others -- and many of them do not have such obvious origins.

Check out these 12 U.S. places you may not know had Spanish names in the slideshow above. Know any more? Let us know in the comments.

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