Useless Facts [Part 13]–State Edition

  • Pennsylvania is named for Admiral Penn, father of the Quaker William Penn, who was granted the land by Charles II in 1681. The name means “Penn’s Woods.”
  • Delaware was named for Lord De La Warr, an early governor of Virginia.
  • Georgia was named for King George II of England.
  • The District of Columbia was named for Christopher Columbus.
  • North and South Carolina’s names are derived from the Latin for Charles (I)–Carolus.
  • The islands of Hawaii stretch out for more than 1500 miles.
  • Hawaii is the only state that has a royal residence–Iolani Palace, in Honolulu.
  • New York was named for the Duke of York, the brother of Charless II of England, who sent an expedition to capture it from the Dutch in 1664.
  • Louisiana is named for King Louis XIV of France.
  • Maryland was named for Queen Henrietta Maria, the wife of Charles I and mother of Charles II of England.
  • One half of all U.S. State names are derived from Native American words.
  • Washington Irving first used the nickname “Gotham,” an anglo-saxon word meaning “goat’s town,” for New York City in 1807.
  • As of 2009, Hawaii, California, New Mexico, and Texas are the only states where minorities outnumber white people.
  • West Virginia was temporarily named Kanawha after it seceded from Virginia.
  • Virginia extends 95 miles further west than West Virginia.
  • Vermont declared itself an independent nation in 1777. It was admitted to the Union as a state in 1791.
  • For more than three hundred years, Virginia and Maryland were involved in an interstate conflict known as the “Oyster Wars,” fought over Virginia’s right to harvest oysters from the Potomac River and Bay. The often bloody dispute wasn’t actually resolved until compromise laws were passed in 1962.

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