How many of these facts do you know?
*Originally published on April 9, 2018:
Do you feel like you know your home state inside and out? If you’re already familiar with these fun facts, then perhaps you’ve taken one too many tours! Use these fun facts about Virginia to impress your out-of-state friends:
8 U.S. Presidents Were Born in Virginia
If you’ve ever overheard someone refer to a state as the “Mother of Presidents,” they’re talking about Virginia. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson were all born-and-bred Virginians. In addition, six of our nation’s First Ladies also hail from Old Dominion, including Martha Washington, Martha Jefferson, Rachel Jackson, Letitia Tyler, Ellen Arthur, and Edith Wilson. The state’s so great, some presidents wanted to stay even after death—such as Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Tyler, Taft, and Kennedy!
The First Peanuts Grown in the U.S. Were Grown in Virginia
It turns out, people were obsessed with peanuts way before anyone figured out how amazing they tasted in butter form! Though there are no records to prove it, it’s been speculated that the first peanuts were grown somewhere in Brazil or Peru as early as 950 B.C. Eventually, the industry made its way through Africa, where traders carried peanuts with them on their trek through what was then “The New World.” The first commercial crop was grown around the early-to-mid 1840s, in Sussex County (now Waverly), Virginia.
Virginia Is Considered the Internet Capital of the World
Silicon Valley, who? Virginia was deemed the internet capital of the world back in 1999, though in all honesty that was mostly a self-proclaimed title. Luckily, we were later able to live up to our reputation and now over five million square feet of data space occupy parts of Ashburn. Loudon County alone manages 70% of the world’s internet traffic. So, the next time you kill three hours laughing at memes on social media, maybe take a second to thank the state you live in for being so darn tech-savvy!
Virginia Really Likes Vanity License Plates
According to a study by The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, Virginia accounts for one out of 10 vanity plates in the nation. In other words, there are more personalized plates registered in this state than there are people in all of Rhode Island! Perhaps the next time you’re struggling to hold it together in traffic, you can distract yourself by seeing how many vanity plates you can spot on your way home!
The Actual First Thanksgiving Was Hosted in Virginia
Those pesky Pilgrims like to claim they were celebrating Thanksgiving before it was cool (or, at least, considered a national holiday), but we Virginians know the real first Thanksgiving took place two years prior in Berkeley, on December 4. Although, it wasn’t so much a feast as it was more a religious day of prayer. What’s more, this Thanksgiving was a bit more exclusive than the one we traditionally recognize, in that Native Americans weren’t invited to participate. Rather, the group consisted of 38 men led by Captain John Woodlief, who came together to thank God for a safe arrival to “The New World."
What’s your favorite Virginia fun fact? Do you know something about Old Dominion you think no one else does? Let us know in the comments!