Virginia December 08, 2016
7 Insane Things That Happened In Virginia You Won’t Find in History Books
When it comes to history, you’d be hard pressed to find a group more savvy than Virginians. It’s engrained in us from an early age, whether through history classes or field trips. But there are some other stories that won’t be found in history books, and they might just surprise you. Here are 8 incredible, lesser-known facts from Virginia’s history:
1. Virginia is the site of the First Thanksgiving; not Plymouth.
While the Plymouth Thanksgiving took place in 1621, the "very first" Thanksgiving happened two years earlier in December of 1619. The site was Berkely, Virginia, and was more a religious day of prayer than a feast.
2. The Chincoteague Pony Swim has been taking place for nearly a century.
The great migration from Assateague Island to Chincoteague takes place each year and has been a tradition for 91 years. Visitors from all over the country travel to this remote part of the state to admire the ponies.
3. "Virginia" was the name given to any newly discovered land.
Much of the present U.S. was once considered "Virginia," as was the named coined by Sir Walter Raleigh in the 16th century to honor the "Virgin Queen," Elizabeth I.
4. Virginia was the first state to house college fraternities.
The first college fraternity was started at William and Mary in 1776 under the name of Phi Beta Kappa. And, according to legend, the first lawn streaking happened at Washington College (present day W&L) in 1804 by George William Krump.
5. Elections used to involve more food and alcohol.
Elections that took place in Colonial Virginia were often swayed by the amount of free alcohol and food candidates would provide. When Washington first ran for House of Burgess, he believed his election loss was partially due to the fact that he forgot to provide beer.
6. The state's school calendar was based on theme parks.
In 1986, the state tourism industry lobbied for public schools to open after Labor Day. That way, students would be able to freely attend the state's theme parks without having to miss any school.
7. The state was once broken up into shires.
Before counties had been established in the 17th century, the state was broken up into shires. Virginia was the only colony to use this Tolkien-esque organization process.
7. In 1999, Virginia was deemed the "Internet Capital."
Few people realize that much of the country's internet traffic is processed in Northern Virginia's data centers. In fact, nearly 70% of internet data flows through this part of the state. 1999 was also the year the state released a special "Internet
" vanity plate.
What do you think about these 7 bizarre facts about Virginia history? Feel free to share your thoughts with us!