6 Nicknames for Virginia State and the History Behind Them

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Bronze statue of soldiers carrying an American flag
Historical events in Virginia State were the basis for many of its nicknames

Virginia is one of the USA's most historical states. It was home to the first colony, the birthplace of multiple presidents, and the tenth official Union state. One way to get to know this complex territory a little better is to learn the meaning behind some of its most important monikers.

Mother of Presidents and Old Dominion are two of the most well-known nicknames for this part of the country because of their links to history. However, there are multiple others that can help you get to know the state a little better.

Whether you're trying to improve your US history knowledge or you're planning a VA trip in the near future, keep reading. Here are six nicknames for Virginia State you'll want to remember.

6 Virginia Nicknames

Virginia Nicknames Video

Check out our highlights video of Virginia nicknames.

Statues of men on an elevated pedestal surrounded by buildings
Virginia State served as home to many US presidents, including George Washington

Mother of Presidents

Virginia has been dubbed the Mother of Presidents numerous times throughout US history, and for a good reason. Since the birth of the country, eight presidents have called this state home, including four of the first men to hold the office.

Perhaps the most famous president to come out of Virginia was the nation's first, George Washington. The most recent president to hail from the territory was Woodrow Wilson, who served between 1913 and 1921.

This fact has been a great point of pride for the state and its citizens. So, it's not uncommon to see the moniker on promotional material and souvenirs, particularly those at historic sites.

Cavalier State

During the mid-17th century, an English Civil War took place. This conflict saw King Charles and the parliament disagree on how the kingdom's territories should be ruled. This conflict reached the colonies in the New World.

Those who fought for the king were dubbed Virginia Cavaliers, and Virginia was a largely loyal territory during that time. This part of the state's history inspired the later creation of the moniker Cavalier State.

Though this nickname isn't used in much official state literature, it has been adopted by various organizations. The University of Virginia has dubbed its athletic teams the Virginia Cavaliers, with a swordsman as its official mascot.

Down Where the South Begins

Though less used today, when radio broadcasting was at its peak, Down Where the South Begins was a popular VA nickname. Referencing the state's location, Virginia is often considered the official separation point between the northern and southern parts of the US.

This distinction as a Southern state was particularly evident during the American Civil War when Virginia fought for the Confederacy. However, the nickname didn't come into use until decades later.

Today, this moniker can occasionally be found adorning souvenir items. However, it's largely fallen into disuse, as even at its most popular, it was typically just used as a title among those in the radio industry.

One of the nicknames for Virginia State is Mother of Statesmen
Mother of Statesmen is one of the nicknames for Virginia State about its leaders

Mother of Statesmen

As one of the original 13 colonies, it's not surprising that Mother of Statesman has become an alternate Virginia name. Four of the first US presidents, including Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington, all came from this part of the country. Being the homeplace of so many important statesmen also means that many of Virginia's most important landmarks are presidential homes.

Virginia was additionally where many of the US founding fathers got their start in politics since it was one of the country's original states. However, this particular moniker isn't quite as popular as similar alternatives like Mother of States and Mother of Presidents. As such, it's not commonly heard today and is mainly used in historical literature.

Mother of States

Mother of States is another name for Virginia that's been used throughout its history. This moniker has a few different origins. Perhaps the most famous derives from the VA fact that it was the first colony in the future US. However, the title of the first state officially belongs to Delaware.

Another reason for the moniker is its geography. Initially, the Virginia territory was much larger. As the US grew, parts of the state were carved out to create other borders. Today, eight states, including Kentucky, still contain parts of Virginia's original land.

A final cause for the nickname is Virginia's role in settling the frontier. As the US expanded its territories, many of the pioneers who went out west were Virginians. Today, the nickname can be found on state souvenirs, postcards, and other tourist information. It's also a title used in some historical texts.

Old Dominion State

The title Old Dominion State is perhaps the most well-known title for the Commonwealth of Virginia. As the home of the first permanent British settlement of Jamestown, it has the longest connection to the British Crown. Additionally, it also created the foundation of the future US nation.

However, while this is one of the most popular nicknames for the state, the exact date the term was coined is unknown, as well as the context. For that reason, the meaning of this nickname is an educated guess by US historians.

Despite its murky start, Old Dominion has gone on to become one of Virginia's official state nicknames. As such, it can be found in official state tourism information as well as private organizations. There's even an Old Dominion University in Norfolk.

In Summary

Clearly, Virginia has a long and complex history that has inspired multiple different monikers. You might have already heard of the more typical nicknames like Mother of Presidents, but others, like Down Where the South Begins, may have been a little more surprising.

Whether you knew one, two, or all of the Virginia State nicknames on this list, hopefully, you learned a little more about this great US state!

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Written by Gabrielle T

ggtraveler1213 FORMER WRITER Gabrielle loves all things travel and culture. She is originally from the USA, but she has lived in Italy for over a decade. She's always ready to pack her bags, grab her passport, and head out on an adventure!

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