How the States Got Their Shapes

  • 2010
  • TV Show
  • TV-PG

The origins of the shapes of America's states are traced, with examinations of the geographical, political and social factors that determined the borders.

Where to Watch

Available to Stream

How The States Got Their Shapes Season 2
The U.S. is like a giant jigsaw puzzle, where every line on the map tells a different story.
Season 2 Sneak Peek
02:01 — The new season of How The States Got Their Shapes premieres on Saturday, September 29 at 8/7c, but a special sneak peek is available now!
Cumberland Gap
02:32 — Brian Unger explores the Cumberland Gap and the mysteries behind it.
Season 2 - Sneak Peek
02:00 — The new season of How The States Got Their Shapes premieres on Saturday, September 29 at 8/7c, but a special sneak peek is available now!
Montana
02:42 — The discovery of gold drew prospectors and gave the territory the financial wherewithal to become a state. Montana may have even used this gold to buy (more…)
Utah
03:02 — Originally called Deseret by its Mormon founders, the territory stretched across much of the West. A suspicious Congress cut the state down to size, r (more…)
California
01:52 — With the discovery of gold in 1848, thousands of prospectors poured into California. When it came time to create a state, the new residents wanted to (more…)
The Fur Trade Shapes the West
Beaver furs were one of the first commodities settlers traded with Europe.
Drake's Folly
Oil was once just a disposable byproduct of the water drilling process.
Shaping Washington D.C
Washington D.C. was designed as a square before Congress gave Virginia back its portion in 1846.
Blue Laws
Get the full story of Blue Laws, which restrict alcohol sales in certain cities.
Texas Joins the Union
Texans are known for their independent spirit, but joining the Union might have saved the state from disaster.
Maine's Healing Springs
Are Maine's fresh-water springs the cure for what ails you. In the 1800s, some people were convinced they did.
Setting Time Zones
Time zones regulated how towns kept time so railroads could stay on schedule.
North Carolina Gold Rush
Though California is known for its gold rush, prospectors first struck it rich in North Carolina.

Coming Soon

Because it's never too early to plan Thursday night... two months from now.

Cast & Details

  • Premiered: April 6, 2010
  • Rating: TV-PG
  • Premise: The origins of the shapes of America's states are traced, with examinations of the geographical, political and social factors that determined the borders.