The United States Postal service, the oft-maligned entity, is in fact quite systematic. One of its great innovations was the two-letter state codes back in 1963. This allowed for easier mail delivery.
At some point, the Canadian postal service also created a two-letter system for its provinces and territories, using something called the ISO 3166-2:CA. Exciting!
For some reason involving the international scope of the ABCW folks, I’m going to go through the list alphabetically each week. For those weeks that have NO state/province/territories with that letter, I’ll figure out something else.
AA Armed Forces Americas (except Canada)
AB Alberta, Canadian province. The use of the first letter in the second syllable avoids the clash with Alabama. The traditional English abbreviation was Alta., the traditional French Alb. Capital: Edmonton; largest city: Calgary.
AE Armed Forces Europe, the Middle East, and Canada
AK Alaska – first letter, 1st letter of the third syllable. Apparently, the tradition abbreviation was Alas. Capital: Juneau; largest city: Anchorage.
AL Alabama – in general, in case of a tie, the states that are oldest get those first two letters. When I was a kid, I mostly saw it as Ala. Capital: Montgomery; largest city: Birmingham.
AP Armed Forces Pacific
AR Arkansas – its traditional abbreviation was Ark. Capital and largest city: Little Rock
AS American Samoa – “Samoa was not reached by European explorers until the 18th century. International rivalries in the latter half of the 19th century were settled by an 1899 treaty in which Germany and the US divided the Samoan archipelago. The US formally occupied its portion – a smaller group of eastern islands with the excellent harbor of Pago Pago [the capital and largest city]- the following year.”
“As of April 2019, the population of American Samoa is approximately 55,689 people. Most of them are ‘nationals but not citizens of the United States at birth’. Most American Samoans are bilingual and can speak English and Samoan fluently. The total land area is 199 square kilometers (76.8 sq mi), slightly more than Washington, D.C.”
AZ Arizona – often previously listed as Ariz. Capital and largest city: Phoenix
“Jointly developed by the Postal Service and mailing industry, standardized address information enhances the processing and delivery of mail, reduces undeliverable–as–addressed mail, and provides mutual cost reduction opportunities through improved efficiency.”
For ABC Wednesday