Holding down the middle of the country is the next entry of CAPITALS: Des Moines, Iowa.
If you take this one literally and happen to speak French, you might think this is a mistake. “Des Moines” actually means “monks” or “of the monks.” However, one common explanation of the name is that it came from the Native American word “moingona” which means “river of the mounds.”
The explanation I like to believe, however, is that the name comes from the tribal name “Moingoana,” derived from the word “mooyiinkweena.” Why do I like this explanation? Simple. The word “mooyiinkweena” essentially means s#!&-faces (“mounds” of a different kind). The theory is that when French explorers asked the Peoria tribe about other tribes in the area, they gave the name “Moingoana” as the name of a rival tribe. The explorers didn’t question the name, which stuck and eventually resulted in the naming of Des Moines.
Whatever the explanation, the name does sound better in French.