The exact origin of the nickname, "The Empire State," for New York is not known, but by 1820 it was renowned. George Washington had used the name, empire, as early as 1785, when he used it in the following way when referring to the state of New York; "the Seat of the Empire." The author, Alexander Flick, who wrote, History of New York State, stated that "The Empire State" was "universally acknowledged and accepted" by 1825 and used as early as 1819. Some say the nickname was given due to New York's wealth and resources, or to New York exceeding Virginia in population. Regardless of its exact origin, the nickname has been continued to be used all throughout the state of New York; Empire State Building, The Empire State Plaza, The Empire State Express (train route), Empire Service (Amtrak route from NYC to Buffalo), SUNY Empire State College in Saratoga Springs, and Empire State Games.
From 1957 - 1963, the vehicle license plates used "Empire State" as a slogan. In 1964-1965, the slogan was changed to "World's Fair." From 1966 - April of 2001, no slogan was used. Then, in April 2001, "The Empire State" slogan was used until April of 2010 when it changed to "Empire State." on the New York state license plates.