Nicknames are common for people and sports teams, but why would a U.S. state have a nickname? The 50 States in the U.S. all have special and different qualities that they like to highlight, some of which are used to attract people looking to move to the state, while others act as a draw for those looking to vacation in the state. Other state nicknames are generally rooted in long-standing history.
All these factors culminate into several interesting facts about Virginia, with one of the more notable ones being that the state itself used to be much bigger. During the time of the American Revolution War, Virginia’s area spanned its colony through parts of what are Kentucky and West Virginia today.
Many states developed an initial state nickname after they entered the union 200+ years ago, but not all state nicknames have stuck with each state over the years, and many have developed additional nicknames or primary nicknames that they identify with the most or that set them apart from other states. States take their nicknames from various sources so let’s take a look at the Virginia nickname.
What is the Virginia Nickname? It is “The Old Dominion”.
The Old Dominion is situated on the East coast of the United States, bordering the Atlantic Ocean. Virginia borders 5 other states, West Virginia from the West and North-West, Maryland from the North, Kentucky from the South-West, and Tennessee and North Carolina from the South.
When did Virginia adopt its nickname? The Virginia nickname originates all the way back to the Colonial days. “Dominion” is in reference to owning an area of land or a territory. King Charles II would refer to Virginians (natives of Virginia) as “the best of his distant children” during the 1660s, King Charles II evolved Virginia to the position of “domain” along with England, Scotland, Ireland, and France.
The new status of Virginia and the people of Virginia went down extremely well, this subsequently caused many Virginians to believe they were the most faithful of the King’s settlements in America. Due to Virginia being one of the oldest of King Charles II’s settlements in America, they adopted the nickname “The Old Dominion”. If you are interested in seeing the US state nicknames for all 50 states, including the date each state was entered into the Union, then head over to our page that lists them in alphabetical order.
Nicknames for Virginia
Much like many other states, there have been multiple nicknames for Virginia that have been adopted over the years, not just one. Although the Virginia nickname, “The Old Dominion” is by far the most popular and significant one, there’s a multitude of other nicknames associated with Virginia – let’s take a look at them.
- Mother of Presidents – Virginia is sometimes referred to as “Mother of Presidents” due to the abundance of early presidents originating from Virginia.
- Mother of Statesmen – as far as nicknames for Virginia go, this nickname was adopted due to the number of statesmen Virginia has produced over the years.
- Mother of States – the Virginia nickname, “Mother of States” was derived from Virginia being the first state to be settled and many states were “born” from the Virginia territory. The original Virginia territory consisted of many states today, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and, even a part of Minnesota.
- Cavalier State – Cavaliers were supporters of King Charles I during the English Civil War, these Cavaliers left England and resided in Virginia during the reign of King Charles I.
- Down Where the South Begins – a Virginia nickname that references the state’s geographical location, also mentioned by radio broadcasters when referring to Virginia.
- The Big Bend State – this nickname was adopted from the Indian name for the Tennessee River, “The River with the Big Bend”.
Now that you know the nicknames for Virginia, it makes sense to take a look at Virginia’s motto. All states have a unique state motto/slogan, usually derived from an event linked with the state’s historical past, mottos tend to be given to the state as a representation of the people past and present.
Virginia’s motto, “Sic Semper Tyrannis”, was adopted as a feature on the Virginia state seal. The nickname originates from 1776 and symbolizes victory over tyranny. This Latin phrase when translated to English reads, “Thus ever unto tyrants”.
If you are interested in learning about the abbreviation for Virginia, take a look at our page on this. Unlike some other states, the Virginia abbreviation is easier to remember. However, knowing these state abbreviations is highly recommended for many different reasons.