Welcome to Fun Facts About the 50 States, where – week by week – I’ll be taking you on a tour around this great nation of ours, providing you with interesting, yet completely useless and probably untrue, information about each of the 50 states.
This week, we’ll be scammed into buying a “genuine” George Washington cherry-tree-choppin’ ax as we visit Virginia. So let’s get started…
* Virginia became the 10th state on June 25, 1788. The northern part of it was originally used by the British as a penal colony for thieves and con artists, which may explain Washington, D.C.
* The state motto of Virginia is “Sic Semper Tyrannis”, which is Latin for “No, seriously, the Waltons were fictional. Stop asking about them”.
* George Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia in 1732. He’s famous for being the first President, the father of his country, and the first white man to rap under the name Vanilla Ice.
* Thomas Jefferson was born in Shadwell, Virginia in 1743. His first draft of the Declaration of Independence was blunt but concise: “King George – You suck. We’re outta here. – The Colonies”.
* Considering they used the letter “f” instead of “s” back in those days, it’s probably better that he went with the longer version.
* 28th President Woodrow Wilson was born in Staunton, Virginia in 1856. Despite the fact that his administration brought income taxes, WWI, Prohibition, and the horrors of women’s suffrage, history still remembers him kindly. Probably because he never violated the Constitutional separation of intern and cigar.
* Being the largest of the colonies, Virginia was named in honor of England’s “Virgin Queen”, Elizabeth I. The tiny state to the north was named for her slutty cousin, Mary.
* The state song of Virginia is “Carry Me Back to Old Virginia”, which was chosen by one vote over “Like A Virgin”.
* Virginia’s early settlers got the idea to plant tobacco after they were first welcomed ashore by Indians holding up signs saying “You’ve come a long way, baby!”
* The colony of Jamestown, Virginia, was founded for the purpose of producing silk, which was shipped to England to help King James indulge his not-as-secret-as-he-thought fetish for women’s underwear.
* The first peanuts grown in the US were grown in Virginia. Trust me, you DON’T want to know what King James did with THOSE.
* Three of the first four US presidents were born in Virginia. They were the original Patriots’ Dynasty.
* The state capital of Virginia – Richmond – was also the capital of the Confederacy. Most of the people in Virginia wish it still were.
* The Dogwood is Virginia’s state tree, state flower, and state euphemism for a canine erection.
* The American Revolution ended with the surrender of Cornwallis in Yorktown, Virginia. The terms of the surrender included having Cornwallis stand in the town square naked and shout “I stink! I am a senile, bucktoothed old mummy, with bony girl arms and I smell like an elephant’s butt!”
* Some historians cite this as the root cause of the war of 1812.
* Two iron-clad ships, the Monitor and the Merrimac, fought for 12 hours at Hampton Roads, Virginia on March 9th, 1862. The battle was inconclusive, but proved one thing: getting a cannonball through metal armor was like trying to get a tax cut through a Democratic congress.
* 2000 of the Civil War’s battles were fought in Virginia…. 3000, if you count the times Robert E. Lee’s wife whacked him with a rolling pin.
* In Virginia, more people work for the US government than any other industry.
* Um… well… leastwise they have more people listed on their payroll.
* The world’s largest shipyard is in Newport News, Virginia. Their drydock facility alone is large enough to hold 3 aircraft carriers, or a week’s supply of donuts for Michael Moore.
* The Pentagon building in Arlington, Virginia is the largest office building in the world. It has over 5000 fax machines, all which are destined to someday be taken out into a field and smashed with a baseball bat as angry hip-hop music plays in the background.
* Contrary to the popular story, the first Thanksgiving was actually held in Virginia’s Berkley Plantation colony in 1619. 90 Indian braves were invited to the feast as thanks for their help during the previous year’s harsh winter. Those 90 later burned the village to the ground as revenge for being made to sit at the kiddie table.
* The Great Dismal Swamp is a wasteland of foul muck located near Virginia’s border with North Carolina, and is NOT a nickname for Washington, D.C.
* Don’t feel bad. A LOT of people make that mistake.
* Thomas Jefferson designed the home where he spent his final years – Monticello – which can be seen on the back of the nickel. If you look closely, you can see Jefferson yelling at some kids to get off his lawn.
* George Washington’s home – Mount Vernon – is NOT shown on the back of the quarter since all the pink flamingos on his lawn were deemed “too un-presidential”.
* The world’s only oyster museum is located on Chincoteague Island, Virginia. It celebrates history’s greatest oysters, including playwright Oyster Wilde and Supreme Court Justice Oyster Wendell Holmes.
* On April 9, 1865, at the Appomattox, Virginia courthouse, the Civil War ended when General Robert E. Lee was forced to surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant after Lee foolishly chose rock to Grant’s paper.
* St. John’s church in Richmond, Virginia, was where Patrick Henry famously said “Give me liberty, or give me death!”. Some historians consider this story a mere legend, however, and insist that what he actually said was “Give me freedom, or give me severe nasal congestion with a headache and slight fever!”
* The Atlantic headquarters of NATO is located in Norfolk, Virginia. For those who don’t know, NATO is sorta like the UN, except with weapons and testicles.
That wraps up the Virginia edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week we’ll be paying 35 dollars for one stinking martini at the top of the Space Needle as we visit Washington.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go… Hey! Look!… Dogwood!.
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