Being known as the "birthplace of our nation," is one facts many people know about Virginia, which has seen its fair share of history. The Old Dominion has played a pivotal role in both the founding of our country and the wars that have threatened to tear it apart.
Here are seven facts you may not have known about the Commonwealth of Virginia:
1. Eight U.S. Presidents Born in Virginia:
Those presidents were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson.
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We all know George Washington is a Virginian through-and-through but Woodrow Wilson? He served as the governor of New Jersey prior to being elected president.
2. Named for England's "Virgin Queen," Elizabeth I:
While not a virgin in the literal sense, the queen garnered this nickname for her choice not to marry while sitting on the throne. In fact, for a time all North American lands occupied by English settlers were known as Virginia, in honor of the Queen.
3. Known as "The Old Dominion State:"
Its nickname has long been attributed to King Charles II of England. However according to Encyclopedia Virginia, its derivation is a little more complicated than that.
"There is no known documentary proof for the story that at the time of his restoration as king in 1660 Charles II gratefully called Virginia his faithful old dominion."
It is believed that the "Old Dominion" moniker came into the everyday parlance during the American Revolution, with soldiers erroneously crediting the King.
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4. The State Motto is "Sic Semper Tyrannis:"
The state motto was known to be uttered by John Wilkes Booth. It translates from the Latin to "thus always to tyrants." Frequently, its definition is misconstrued to mean "death to tyrants."
5. 10th State Admitted to the Union:
Many are quick to assume that Virginia was among the first states to be join the Union. However, it was 10th, after Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, and New Hampshire.
6. Site of First Thanksgiving in North America:
Despite popular belief, most historians assert that the first Thanksgiving transpired in Virginia and not Plymouth, Mass. Virginia's first Thanksgiving was in 1619, while Plymouth's was four years later in the fall of 1623.
7. Lord Cornwallis Surrenders in Yorktown:
Gen. George Washington ended the Revolutionary War and earned America's independence in the very state where he was born. Lord Charles Cornwallis surrendered his British troops to the French and American forces in Yorktown, officially assuring the country's victory.
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