Virginia Facts

Poet Eugene Fitch Ware wrote:

…. Of all U.S. states, only three will live on in story,
Old Virginia with all of her noble stock
Old Massachusetts with her pretty Plymouth Rock,
And sunny Kansas with all her woes and glory….

Before all the Europeans settlers arrived, the region that we know as Virginia was the territory of Powhatan, the great and influential Indian emperor. In its epic years, the state Virginia became both the ‘Mother of the Frontier’ and the ‘Mother of Presidents’ as it had produced eight presidents.

Many people also refer to Virginia as the ‘Mother of the States’ as it had given up its claims to Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, and portions of Minnesota.

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The state of Virginia was a forefront state during the Revolutionary War, that came to an end when, in Yorktown, Lord Cornwallis was surrendering to Washington.

More battles were fought out on Virginia land that on soil of another U.S. state at the time of the Civil War, and the state is known as the land of battlefields, stately mansions, colonial homes, and old churches.

Virginia was the first U.S. state since the Reconstruction area to elect a governor of African-American descent, L. Douglas Wilder.

Quick Facts about Virginia

– Most U.S. presidents, eight in total.
– First manufacturing factory in the U.S. a 1608 glass factory.
– In 1619, the first iron furnace.
– Leading the synthetic fiber production in America.
– Tobacco farming Pioneer.
– Nation’s first canal (1790), 7 miles long from Westham to Richmond.

Thomas Jefferson wrote his own epitaph:
…. Here is buried Thomas Jefferson, author of the American Declaration of Independence, of the Religious Freedom Statute of Virginia, and father of the University of Virginia….

Virginia brief history

– Around 1580, the early Spanish explorers sailed along Virginia’s beautiful shores.
– In Aquia Creek (the Potomac area), a few Jesuit missionaries had established a mission, but they were all killed by the Indians.
– In 1607, on May 14th, a couple of English ships went for anchor in what we now know as the James River, and they set up a settlement the next day. They named it James Town, and it became the very first permanent American English settlement.
– The settlement was led by John Smith who struck a deal with the powerful Indian Chief Powhatan. He most probably got some help of Powhatan’s daughter named Pocahontas. In 1609, Smith went back to England due to severe injuries.
– The period 1609 – 1610 was the “starving time”, and the 65 James Town survivors were rescued by Thomas West, 3rd Baron De la Warr, who was bringing new settlers and new supplies.
– The settlers and the colonists organized “the House of Burgesses” in 1619 which is considered the first American legislative body that was democratically elected.
– Chief Powhatan died in 1618, and that’s when Indian troubles really started. The troublesome time lasted till 1646, when Indian King Opechancanough got shot.
– In 1676, Nathaniel Bacon was rallying the people against Sir William Berkeley’ government through his “America’s 1st declaration of independence.” When Bacon died not so much later, William Berkeley hanged a few dozen of Bacon’s followers.
– 1658: Virginia passed a bill into  law that was expelling all attorneys from the colony.


Colorado Facts

Colorado is truly a skier’s paradise, a state of great heights. The state’s mountain ranges offer America’s most beautiful and dramatic scenery, and the Colorado vistas were the inspiration for ‘America the Beautiful.’ The Colorado mountains feed many rivers and the state is among the nation’s best vacation destinations. The summers are pleasantly cool, and the winters supply plenty of powdered snow.

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But Colorado is also the leading Rocky Mountain state when it comes to manufacturing, and an important mining and agricultural state. The story of Colorado’s silver- and gold mining days was actually the theme of several popular musicals, the Ballad of Baby Doe, and The Unsinkable  Molly Brown.

Quick Facts about Colorado

– Of all U.S. states, Colorado has the highest mean altitude.
– The State has most U.S. mountains that rise above 14,000 feet.
– Grand Mesa is the largest flat-top mountain the world.
– In Colorado, three of America’s greatest river systems arise.
– Colorado has oil shales, believed to contain more oil than the world’s reserves.
– Colorado has the world’s highest suspension bridge (1,053 ft. over the Arkansas River).

Check Also: Richest People in Colorado

Colorado brief history

In the 16th century, the region that we know as Colorado was explored by the Spanish, but the first written records (as far as we know) of the Colorado region were by Diego de Vargas (in 1694) when he was pursuing Indians who escaped from Taos Pueblo (New Mexico).

In 1763, the Spanish gained control of the region, but in 1803, only 3 years after the French conquered the eastern portions of Colorado, the region fell under the Union’s control after the Louisiana Purchase.

In 1806,  Zebulon Pike, a U.S. Lieutenant, explored the Colorado region, and in 1832, William Bent constructed massive Fort Bent that has 4-feet thick walls. This U.S. stronghold then became the trade center for an enormous region. After the Mexican War, the western portions of Colorado, that Mexico had controlled from 1821, turned into U.S. territory again 1848. In 1851, settlers that came from Mexican lands established San Luis, which is Colorado’s oldest residential community.

Thousands of pioneers were rushing to Cherry Creek in 1858 to find gold, encouraged by the words ‘Pike’s Peak or bust’, but already in June of that year, the ‘bust’ had already come. Hardly any gold was found and the desperate fortune hunters left the area.

Also in 1858 (in November), William Latimer, together with his son, founded Denver at Cherry Creek, and the named the town for the territory’s governor. John Gregory, though, found real gold in May 1859, and soon after, Gregory Gulch became bustling Central City. Abe Lee then discovered gold in 1860 in the canyon, and it wasn’t long before Leadville developed into a major center.

A group of irregular pioneers, in retaliation for a ranch killing, massacred a group of Indians by surprise in 1864, which slaughter is known as the Battle of Sand Creek. The Indians were furious about the Sand Creek massacre, so they went on the attack causing a killing spree. After the Battle of Beecher Island, Indian power was practically broken, and the last Colorado battle with Indians was in 1869, on July 11th (the Battle of Summit Springs).

Colorado was allowed into the Union in 1876, on August 1st., and just as it seemed that Colorado’s gold was running out, the find of Leadville in 1877, brought new wealth to the region. In 1891, Cripple Creek caught the world’s attention as it appeared that the estimated value of gold from that area was the world’s second, and only surpassed by South Africa’s Witwatersrand mines. In 1893, Colorado women gained voting rights.

Some 43,000 Colorado residents served in World War I, and in 1929, the Royal Gorge was spanned by what was then the highest suspension bridge in the world. The 1930’s Great Depression was even more tragic in Colorado due to dust storms and drought that were the worst in history.

In early 1942, some 10,000 Americans of (partly) Japanese descent were transferred to resettlement camps at Grenada’s Arkansas Valley area, as they were mistakenly feared to help Japan in World War II. In 1955 the Air Force Academy moved to Colorado Springs, and the headquarters of the North American Air Defense Command started its operations in 1965 hidden deep in Cheyenne Mountain.

The nuclear weapons plant at Rocky Flats was closed in 1988 after it appeared that 3 workers had been exposed to radiation. In 1992, on the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, a bus with Ku Klux Klan members returning from a Denver Klan rally, was attacked by demonstrators.

President Theodore Roosevelt once said:
…When I passed through your wonderful canyons and mountains I became aware this gorgeous state will be more and more the best playground for the entire republic … You will see in Colorado the real American Switzerland…

Louisiana Facts

Artist and ornithologist John James Audubon wrote once:

…. But where in this great continent is this oh-so favored Land….
… It is, oh dear reader, in Louisiana that all these fine bounties of nature are showing in its greatest perfection….

Historian Charles Gayarre wrote (about the Marquis de Vaudreuill, governor of French Louisiana from 1743):

…. The Marquis’ administration was for the region of Louisiana what Louis XIV’s reign had meant for France. He liked to maintain a miniature court, a far distant Versailles imitation. Old people likes to talk in an exquisite and refined manner. All the splendid uniforms of the troops, all those splendid balls, … all those other unparalleled activities they had witnessed in the glory days of the Marquis de Vaudreuill….

The state of Louisiana houses the famous and notorious Mardi Gras which is held in Nawlins, New Orleans, the Big Easy, the historic, charming old town with its oh so rich French and Creole heritage. Quite a few southern Louisiana’s residents are directly descending from French settlers who had fled eastern Canada’s Acadia region.

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Louisiana belongs to the busiest industrial and commercial areas in America. The shipping industry is crucial, and petroleum production, fishing, and farming play also an important role in the state’s economy. You can marvel at the numerous white-columned beautiful mansions dating back to before the Civil War, they are true symbols of Louisiana’s glorious past.

The state of Louisiana is often called the land of historic charm, unparalleled beauty, and bountiful resources. New Orleans had it’s setbacks, but is continuing to flourish as one of the nation’s leading tourist destinations.

Quick Facts about Louisiana

– More than any other state was Louisiana claimed by more nations at a given time
– This is the true birthplace of jazz
– The state has one of the countries leading ports
– The state has four major deep-water harbors
– Louisiana contains the largest U.S. iron ore reserves
– The state is first in sulfur production
– Leads the nation in production of fur pelts

Louisiana brief history

It was in 1519 that Alonso de Pineda, a Spanish explorer, was claiming that he had reached the mouth of the Mississippi River, and he called the site ‘el Rio del Espiritu Santo’ (the River of the Holy Spirit). Despite Pineda’s claims, in general Hernando de Soto is thought of as having discovered the Mississippi during his 1541-1542 expedition to the region.

Not so many visitors came to the region until 1682, when a Frenchman (Robert Cavalier, Sieur de La Salle) was putting a claim on the entire Mississippi region for the King of France. He named the region for King Louis XIV. In 1699, explorations of the brothers Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d’Iberville and Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville were strengthening the French claims, and in that same year, the French King proclaimed Louisianacrown colony.

In 1714, Juchereau de St. Denis was founding what we now know as Natchitoches, and this was the first time there was a permanent European settlement founded in the state of Louisiana. In the year 1718, Bienville established the city of New Orleans, and in 1743, Marquis de Vaudreuil became governor of French Louisiana.

In the year 1762, all the portions of land west of the Mississippi River were given by King Louis XV to his cousin Charles II of Spain so the area could be kept out of the hands of the British. The Louisiana colonists started to rebel against the Spanish rule in 1768, and they managed to govern an Independent Louisiana Republic for nearly a year. In 1769, Spanish rule got re-established, though.

A huge fire destroyed the city of New Orleans in 1788, on Good Friday, but the city was rapidly rebuilt. In 1801, French rule was restored after the Treaty of San Il Defonso.  In 1803, though, on November 30th, the United States overtook the Cabildo, the capitol, in New Orleans, and they bought the complete Louisiana territory (The Louisiana Purchase) from the French in what we know was among the best historical real estate deals.

Eastern Louisiana continued to be claimed by Spain but in 1810, that portion of land was conquered by the United States. The folks in eastern Louisiana feared the new “foreigners” but on April 1812, the entire territory was allowed in the union as the 18th state. In 1815, on January 8th, Andrew Jackson was scoring a landslide victory during the Battle of New Orleans. Jackson had never learned that the War of 1812 had already come to an end.

Louisiana was heavily depending on slavery, so in 1861, the state quickly joined the Confederacy, but in 1862, on April 29th, David Farragut (a Union Admiral) captured the city of New Orleans. When in 1865, Edmund Kirby-Smith, a Confederate general, surrendered at Shreveport , the last big army of the South laid down their arms. After the war was ended, chaos was reigning in Louisiana for over a decade, until in 1877, government control was brought back.

Around 1915, the famed New Orleans jazz was spreading to the Chicago area, and it didn’t take long before the whole world could enjoy the popular sound. In 1929, Huey Long became governor and he soon turned out to be one of America’s most powerful and best known politicians. He was famous for his great eloquence, his excellent, sharp, and brilliant mind and he, at times, left his opponents flabbergasted with quotations from Shakespeare, the Bible, or other sources, In 1935, though, Huey Long, by then a United States Senator, was shot and killed in the state capitol.

Pennsylvania Facts

To a lot of people, Pennsylvania is our most historic state. It is the birthplace of U.S. Independence and also of our Constitution. Pennsylvania claims more historic firsts and events than any other U.S. state, and is often called ‘The Birthstate of the Nation’.

All of America’s hard coal is mined in the state of Pennsylvania, and the city of Pittsburgh is renown for producing steel and pig iron. Pennsylvania was originally a refuge for Quakers as they were persecuted, but the state is as well home to the Mennonites and the Amish, religious groups that are often characterized by their simple lifestyle and distinctive way of dressing.

Many of these religious groups speak a specific variation of German that’s called ‘Pennsylvania Dutch’.

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Quick Facts about Pennsylvania

– The state was the first to have an art museum (Philadelphia Academy of Arts).
– First museum on natural history.
– First hospital in the U.S. (Pennsylvania Hospital).
– First U.S. scientific society (Franklin Institute, enabled by Benjamin Franklin).
– First American circulating library.
– First U.S. medical college (founded by John Morgan in 1765).
– First American chamber of commerce.
– Greatest American anthracite reserves.
– First state in magnetite ore.
– First steamboat run in America.
– First rail-based steam locomotive in America.
– First computer was built at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1940’s.

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Pennsylvania brief history

In 1608, the area that we now call Virginia was first visited by Europeans (Captain John Smith). Smith’s impressive 1608 journals offer compelling eyewitness views of the Chesapeake Bay, and Henry Hudson’s 1609 voyage resulted in Dutch claims to the area.

In the year 1643, Johan Printz set up the first permanent settlement of Swedish Europeans on Tinicum Island, but in 1655, the Dutch conquered the Swedish settlement, followed by a British takeover in 1664.

In 1682, William Penn first came the region and he established the Province of Pennsylvania, a British North American colony which later became the state of Pennsylvania.

Penn’s Great Law was one of the first official documents to safeguard liberty, life, and property by jury trial (1682).

The Charter of Privileges (1701) included the majority of the principles that are used for present-day constitutions.

In 1754, George Washington won the Battle of Laurel Mountain, the first battle of the French & Indian War, in what now is Fayette County.

After Edward Braddock, a British General who had come to Virginia to deal with the French in North America, suffered major defeat on July 9th, 1755, much of Pennsylvania came under French rule, but in 1763, the French relinquished their claims after widespread losses.

Upon increased tensions related to the Revolutionary cause, James Smith captured Fort Bedford in 1769. This was the first stronghold to fall into the hands of the American rebels. In 1774, the first Continental Congress congregated in Philadelphia, and that marked the city as a national capital.

The signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776 in Philadelphia formally started the Process of Revolution. In 1777 (on September 26th), Philadelphia had fallen to Lord William Howe, and by early 1778, all Valley Forge hardships were left behind.

Pennsylvania had contributed to the Revolution in every possible way. The state provided funds, men, and ordnance, and even created a state-organized and state-financed Navy in 1775.

In 1783, the first westward wagon trip was organized and this expedition paved the way for the impressive exodus of settlers to the western portions of Pennsylvania. When the Articles of Confederation were failing, delegates from all around came to Philadelphia in 1787 (May – September) to write a brand new Constitution.

Partly due to the skill and will of Benjamin Franklin, they stuck together and later formed the new nation. In 1787, on December 12th, Pennsylvania became the second state of the union.

During the 1830’s through the 1850’s, Pennsylvania was leading the nation in culture and science. Pennsylvania gave its vote to Abraham Lincoln in the 1860 elections and played a crucial role in the Underground Railroad.

Pennsylvania was actually the single Northern state where a major battle was fought during the Civil War, and the Union’s successes at the 3-day lasting Battle of Gettysburg marked (1863) marked the war’s turning point.

Philadelphia’s 1876 Centennial Exposition was celebrating the Declaration of Independence’s 100th birthday, and the flood at Johnstown (May 1889) cost over 2,200 people their lives and was one of the worst disasters ever to hit the nation.

During World War I, over 660,000 Pennsylvanian residents served in the regions affected by the war, and a record 1.2 million Pennsylvanians served in World War II, and only New York State sent more residents to that war.

In the year 1972, Hurricane Agnes caused the state’s worst flood damage ever to be recorded in Pennsylvania’s history. 1991 was the year when Harris Wofford was the first Pennsylvanian Democrat to be elected to the U.S. Senate since 1962.

Author and journalist  Richard Harding Davis wrote:

…. Nowhere in our great country, from sea to sea, has nature comforted us with such assurance of plenty, such rich & tranquil beauty as in these unsung and unpainted hills of beautiful Pennsylvania….

New Jersey Facts

New Jersey has been giving America not only baseball and football but also the Republican’s elephant, the Democratic donkey of Thomas Nast, as well as Santa Claus. New Jersey was also the state where several of American History’s greatest inventors lived. Thomas Edison invented here electric light bulbs, Samuel Morse invented the electric telegraph, and John Holland invented the so important submarine.

When Washington took his mighty forces to the Jersey shores when he made his famous crossing of the Delaware River. New Jersey had become the so-called ‘pathway of the Revolution’ and was suffering heavily through four crucial battles.

The state is leading the nation in quite a few areas of science and manufacturing and has for a long time already been proving that it is far more than just an easy route for those who travel to the South.

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Quick Facts about New Jersey

– New Jersey offers the nation’s largest variety of manufactured goods.
– The state is an important center of glass manufacturing.
– Leads the nation in flag manufacturing.
– Leads the nation in chemical industry.
– Newark is the national jewelry center.
– The first 4-lane highway in the world (between Newark and Elizabeth).
– New Jersey had the first charter for a railroad in America.

It was in 1497 that explorer John Cabot was sailing along the shores of what now is New Jersey, and in 1524, explorer Giovanni de Verrazzano did exactly the same thing. In the year 1609, Henry Hudson was the first European to set foot on the land. He wrote: …this land is a pleasant land to see, and seems very good to get ashore…

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New Jersey brief history

The Dutch had already founded a trading post in 1618 at present-day Bergen, and in 1638, Swedish explorers had set up a community they called ‘New Sweden’ on the lower Delaware River. But in 1643, a 7-foot tall Dutch giant named Johan ‘Big Tub’ Printz, weighing some 400 pounds, conquered the Swedish settlement and took control of the area.

In the year 1664, though, the British took control of the colony again and they founded the city of Elizabeth. New Jersey actually became a British crown colony in the year 1702, under the rule of the Governor of New York.

The state of New Jersey then had its own government in 1738, and in 1763, William Franklin (Benjamin Franklin’s son), became the state’s Governor. Some people were, however, so dissatisfied with the British Crown that they formed the (not so known) ‘New Jersey Tea Party’ on December 22nd, 1774. A regional Congress took over control after the Declaration of Independence, however, and Governor Franklin was arrested.

The Revolution reached also New Jersey, and the state had to endure four big battles and some ninety minor skirmishes, and all this became known as ‘the pathway of the Revolution’. In total, New Jersey was crossed four times by the armies of General George Washington, who made his famous Delaware River crossing onto the Jersey shore in 1776, and his glorious victory at the Battle of Trenton at the end of that year provided a lot of hope to the American Independence cause.

When the Revolution came to an end, some 17,000 New Jersey residents had been fighting for their new country, and the state of New Jersey was named the ‘Garden State’ as it had been supplying all sort of war provisions. In the year 1783, Princeton was chosen as the new country’s temporary capital, and in 1787, on December 18th, New Jersey had become the third U.S. state. The new 1844 constitution granted the people a lot of new rights, and in 1864, many slaves were granted a certain degree of freedom.

The year 1869 marks that the first American intercollegiate football game in history was played in New Brunswick between Princeton and Rutgers, which, by the way, was won by Rutgers. Governor Woodrow Wilson was responsible for bringing about important reforms as the opposition was growing against the power and influence of big business in the years 1911 – 1913, and thanks to Thomas Edison’s inventions in New Jersey, the state became known as the ‘motion picture capital of the world’ till around 1916.

World War I made that New Jersey was leading the nation in the production of artillery shells and shipbuilding and Hoboken had become the most important embarkation point during the war. In 1921, the world saw the first Miss America contest in Atlantic City, and in 1931, construction of the impressive George Washington Bridge was completed, turning Bergen County into the so-called ‘New York’s bedroom’. In 1937, passenger transportation came to an abrupt end when the Hindenburg was spectacularly destroyed at Lakehurst.

During World War II, the state was predominantly engaged in the production of warships, airplane engines, and other war equipment, and Camp Gilmer had become an important debarkation center. In the period 1940 – 1960, a number of hurricanes hit New Jersey hard (most notorious were Donna, Diane, and Hazel) and the storms destroyed for billions worth of property, and took many lives, as did Sandy more recently.

Illinois Facts

Illinois, the Land of Lincoln, was nourishing the future U.S. president and it gave him his early start toward great world fame. Illinois offers many archaeological treasures such as the most extensive primitive earthworks in the nation, and the one-of-a-kind Piasa bird.

Because it is so centrally located, and as it has easy access to both the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, the state of Illinois boasts the most impressive concentration of transportation facilities by water, land, or air, in the entire world.


Illinois’ Chicago area is ranking as the number one U.S. region for manufacturing, and the state is also leading the nation when it comes to producing foodstuffs, in particular soybeans and corn. Of the world’s tallest structures, three are rising high above Chicago’s skyline which has often been praised as the most beautiful in the world.

The vast concentration of great attractions on Michigan Avenue’s northern section has given Chicago, the Windy City, also the nickname of “Magnificent Mile.’

As Nathaniel Pope (Illinois territorial delegate to Congress) said:
…. This state will have a government that has better prospects than in any other state. We have the world’s best soil, a fine and mild climate, a big state that has ample funds in order to be able to educate all children in our state…

Quick Facts about Illinois

– World’s biggest transportation center.
– World’s busiest airport (Chicago’s O’Hare).
– World’s very first skyscraper tower.
– World’s highest building for a long time (Sears Tower).
– Principal U.S. printing center.
– Pioneer city of commercial TV.
– Nation’s leader city in mail-order sales.

Author and Journalist Clyde Brion Davis wrote:
…. Of all U.S. states, Illinois may be the most American. The state is like the entire U.S.A in one capsule. Illinois’ capacity for all that’s related to greatness is just as limitless as its undulating corn fields sweep…


In 1673, the Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet expedition took the first European settlers to Illinois.
– In 1699, a few French priests established Cahokia, Illinois’ the oldest European settlement.
– Upon surrendering North America, in 1765, the French Fort de Chartres Flag was the last that would be lowered on the North American continent.
– In the period 1765 – 1778, the British had a very weak rule, and Illinois was becoming a lawless “Wild West” state.
– In 1778, at the time of the Revolution, General Rogers Clark and his men captured Kaskaskia.
– The Territory of Illinois was established in 1809, and the governor was the highly popular Ninian Edwards.
– The small settlement of Fort Dearborn (the area now known as Chicago), was ordered to evacuate during the War of 1812. All residents were then massacred by the Indian Potawatomi Tribe.
– Illinois was allowed in to the Union on December 3, 1818, as the 21st state.
– When in 1932, Sauk and Fox Chief Black Hawk was trying to reclaim tribal lands, the Black Hawk War started of. In April of that year, his tribal forces initially were winning the small Battle of Stillman’s Run, but later, he was defeated in Wisconsin.
– In 1837, Chicago became an incorporated city with a population of around 4,000.
– when in 1844 Joseph Smith (the leader of the Mormon movement) was killed there, the city of Nauvoo was Illinois’ largest. The Mormons went West, and the city of Nauvoo slowly was turning into a ghost town.
– Around 1845, the region around Galena was America’s leading lead supplier, and the town itself now was Illinois’ largest city, but by 1850, the boom of the mining industry had about died out.
– 1858 was the year that Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln got engaged in a number of debates that directly resulted in Lincoln’s national prominence, and in 1861, Lincoln, as President-elect, left Springfield. In 1865, on February 14th, President Lincoln was shot, and he had died the next day. Lincoln in Illinois, was actually the only city named for Lincoln while he was living.
– In 1868, Ulysses S. Grant from Galena was elected president. He was re-elected in 1872.
– In 1871, a great fire destroyed Chicago for the major part, but before all ashes had the chance to die down, the citizens already started to rebuild it.
– The 1893 Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition was a magnificent happening that drew visitors from all across the world.
– In 1900, a feat of world-class engineering occurred when the Chicago River was reversed so the city could dispose of all it’s sewage water. Another idea was the creation of a water route that went all the way from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes.
– During World War I, more than 350,000 Illinois residents had served in the American armed forces.
– In 1942, on December 2nd, University of Chicago scientists, for the first time in the world, mastered the power of the nuclear chain reaction of atoms.
– The Democratic National Convention’s riots of 1968 brought Chicago notoriety.
– In 1974, Chicago’s Sears Tower was opened as the world’s tallest construction.
– 1978 was the year that Hannah Gray became president of the University of Chicago. This was the first time that a woman became president of a leading U.S. university.
– In 1987, on November 25th, Chicago’s first colored mayor, Harold Washington, died in his office of a heart attack.
– In 1992, African-American Carol Moseley-Braun, was the first woman of color that was elected to the U.S. Senate.

Louis Jolliet wrote:
…. Definitely suitable and most beautiful land for a settlement. Settlers won’t need to devote many years of their lives to cut down and burn the trees. The same day they would arrive, they could use their plows in this land, giving them more time for finding food and clothing in this country….

New York Facts

New York boasts many dramatic contrasts. You can marvel at Niagara Falls, located in the state’s western region, or enjoy the more rugged northeastern Adirondacks. And of course the ethnically diverse and culturally rich “Big Apple”, Manhattan’s nickname, in the state’s southeastern portions.

Though New York no longer is ranking first in manufacturing or population, it still needs to be seen as the “Empire State” because of the combination of cultural institutions, historical tradition, industry, commerce, finance, international influence, and notable natives.

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Quick Facts about New York

– World’s largest deep water sea port
– The Verrazano-Narrows is the world’s longest suspension bridge
– World leading financial center
– Biggest in publishing, photography industry, furs, and the garment industry
– Historical Indian power center
– New York City was the first U.S. capital
– Leading tourism center in the world

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New York brief history

1524 was the year that Giovanni de Verrazano, as first European probably, set foot on what we now know as New York. In the same year, a black explorer, the Portuguese Estabale Gomez, may have done the same.

Sir Henry Hudson, the British sea explorer, sailed up the Hudson River in 1609, and he went up all the way to where now Albany is. Later that year, Samuel de Champlain discovered the region around Lake Champlain.

What Hudson discovered was supporting Dutch claims. The Dutch built Fort Nassau in 1614 at a site that now is Albany, and in 1624 the first settlers were arriving at what now is New York City.

In the year 1664, the English Duke of York directed 2 big fleets over to the region in order to conquer the area for Britain, and the Dutch had no choice but to surrender.

In 1735, a New York jury acquitted publisher John Peter Zenger, who had been printing the New York Weekly Journal from 1733. Zenger had published several articles that were pretty critical of William Crosby, the colonial governor. Zenger had become an American freedom of press hero, and his acquittal of libel charges was crucial to maintaining the right to freedom of the press.

In the year 1761, there came an end to more than a century of warfare between England and France. Both nations had been fighting for absolute control of the region, but finally, in 1761, that era ended as the British took full control. 1775 was the year that 225 Coxsackie residents were signing a important declaration of independence, and this happened actually more than one year before the agreement of American national independence came in to effect.

The state of New York was among the young nation’s key Revolutionary battlegrounds. The state suffered one third of all battles, 92 in total. In October and August 1776, the city of New York had fallen in the battles of Fort Washington and Long Island.

Henry Hudson said, upon visiting an Indian village:
….As we entered the house, two nice mats were spread out to us to sit upon, and some fine foods were also immediately being served in red, well-made, wooden bowls. Later they likewise were killing a fatty dog, and they skinned it in great haste….

Explorer Giovanni de Verrazano wrote:
….We had found an agreeable place between little but steep hills… and coming from those hills, a deep mouthed and mighty river was running into the sea….

Alabama Facts

Alabama truly is ‘The Heart of Dixie’. This is the place where they put together the Confederate Constitution, but at the same time, Alabama is looking towards the future. The state has always been an iron and steel production giant, and already early on, Alabama was leading the South in manufacturing.

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Alabama also was an early leader in the ‘Space Age’. Huntsville is nicknamed ‘Rocket City – U.S.A.,’ and the city has become a leading research center on space vehicles and rockets. Alabama additionally boasts beautiful forests rising up from the northern red clay soil, rolling grasslands and pine forests, and its southern bayous and swamp lands.

Alabama is a football-crazy state, and the University of Alabama’s football squad has won quite a few national championships. The state definitely no longer is the rural area it was back in the day and has turned in to an increasingly modern and cosmopolitan state.

….I really had no idea that Alabama had such a lot of good things to offer. We have sailed across the blue Gulf waters, we stayed in majestic historic rooms, we’ve been swimming in pine-ringed lakes, and we heard our voices echoing from the most beautiful mountain tops and resonating in mammoth caverns. We admired historical Indian lands, we saw where the French, the Spanish, and the Brits ruled, and also witnessed the Space Age’s roar. What a great land that offers you all this, the beautiful star-studded state of Alabama….

Quick Facts about Alabama

  • Alabama has Introduced Mardi Gras to the Western World.
  • Alabama had the first railroad west of the Alleghenies, the Tuscumbia Railroad.
  • The rocket that put first men on the moon was built in Huntsville.
  • First in U.S. steel pipe and cast-iron production.
  • The only U.S. state that has all required raw material to produce iron and steel.
  • Montgomery had, in 1886, the first electric trolley system in the world.

Alabama brief history

Hernando de Soto, a Spanish explorer, together with his army, first set foot on the land that we know as Alabama in 1540. They enslaved or had killed practically all native peoples before they went on.

In 1704, the Parish of Mobile was established. Later that century, the American Revolution was not really affecting the region that is present-day Alabama, but the Spanish captured Mobile Bay in 1780 to keep it for Spain for the duration of the war.

After the American Revolution, and after battles were fought with the British in the War of 1812, portions of Alabama became possession of the United States, and the victory of Andrew Jackson in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend (1814) brought the rule of the great Creek Confederacy to an end. Near Russellville, the pioneer built enormous smelters in 1818 that were the real forerunners of Alabama’s leadership in iron & steel in later days.

The 1830’s marked the beginning of one of Alabama’s saddest periods in history. In those days, the state forced the Five Civilized Tribes to move westwards and to give up their fine homes. They were forced to go the ‘Trail of Tears’ without getting any sort of compensation for their valuable property.

Alabama broke away from the Union in 1861, on January 11th, and on the 4th of February that year, Montgomery was the city where delegates from six states were meeting to form the Confederate States of America, and Montgomery became the capital. This was also the year that the Confederate flag for the first time was shown in Alabama. Mobile, Selma, Montgomery, and Tuscaloosa were falling to Union troops in the Civil war.

When the Civil War had come to an end, Alabama was refusing to agree with the 14th Amendment, and during the period of Reconstruction, it suffered enormous hardships. The Federal forces stayed in Alabama till 1876, and only thereafter began a modest recovery in the state. The living and working conditions of freed slaves was not improving significantly, but Booker T. Washington had taken over the Tuskegee Institute in 1881, and he was working hard to enhance education and living standards of African-Americans.

George Washington Carver was Director of the Tuskegee institute’s Agricultural Research Department, and he wrote:
…taking pride in progress and privileges coming to us should be the result of severe and constant struggle instead of artificial forcing… It is just and crucial that all privileges provided by the law become ours, though it is extremely important at the same time that we will be prepared to exercise these privileges….

The first time steel was produced in Alabama was in 1888, and in 1898 a totally black battalion of volunteers was teaming up with the state’s recruits during the Spanish-American War.

1932 is an important year in Alabama’s history. The U.S. Supreme court ruled that the Alabama Supreme Court had to redo its work in the famous Scottsboro case as nine black men were trialed were in an unfair and prejudiced way. The men were trailed again, and later five were convicted, and four were released.

While in World War I almost 87.000 Alabama residents saw military service in the conflict, in World War II some 288,00 Alabamans served in the U.S. armed forces.

In 1950, German scientist  Werner von Braun, and with him a small army of over one hundred German rocket scientists, settled in relatively small Huntsville, giving the town the name ‘Rocket Capital of the World’, and it was in 1955 that Rosa Parks contested the state’s segregation rules as she refused to go to the back of a bus.

In 1972, on May 15th, Governor George Wallace got shot as he was campaigning to secure the presidential nomination for the Democratic party. He became partially paralyzed, and lost the nomination. He was reelected Governor though in 1974, and won a fourth Governor term in 1982.

In 1991, Alabama was ordered by a federal district judge that the state’s universities must employ more instructors and other staff and change their admission and financial.


Rhode Island Facts

Rhode Island is the smallest of all states and it would fit into the enormous state of  Alaska 425 times. Despite its limited size, the state has of all states the longest official name (‘The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations’).

Rhode Island has always been a key industrial state, particularly in jewelry and textile production. The state is situated on the wonderful Narragansett Bay, part of the Atlantic Ocean, and a very attractive vacation area.

During the warm summer months, fisherman, boaters, and other water-sports enthusiasts have the time of their lives.

See also our 50 states quiz

Quick Facts about Rhode Island

– Rhode Island is known as the birthplace of the America’s industrial revolution.
– Relatively the heaviest industrialized state.
– Has the biggest jewelry center in the world.
– This is the poultry industry’s birthplace.
– The Touro Synagogue (Newport) is America’s oldest synagogue.
– Rhode Island’s capitol contains the largest unsupported dome in America.
– Providence has America’s oldest indoor shopping center.

Rhode Island brief history

In 1524, Giovanni de Verrazano visited the area what is now Rhode Island, and he is said to have come ashore at present-day Narragansett Bay. The first European explorer to have settled in area was William Blackstone in 1635, in Valley Falls. The year after, in 1636, Providence was established by Roger Williams on a piece of land that the Narragansett Indians had let to him.

After the English monarchy was restored, Williams acquired a royal charter for the colony in 1644, and from King Charles II he obtained a second, more liberal charter in 1663. Rhode Island was the first state to enact a law against slavery in North America in 1652, on May 18th.1652.

A Wampanoag Indians Chief (King Philip) led his warriors during the war that bears his name (1675-1676). He got captured and later executed on August 12th. The King Philip’s war strongly reduced Indian power all across the region.

Rhode Islanders were very actively opposing the English tax laws, and in 1772, on June 9th, a British war vessel, the Gaspee, was captured by residents who later burned it in Narragansett Bay.

One man even went so far that he crossed out the word ‘tea’ on every single sign he could find in Providence where they celebrated their own ‘tea party’ in 1775 as they burned an impressive mound of tea that was captured.  In 1776, on May 4th, Rhode Island established the ‘New World’s first free republic’ as the Rhode Island Development Council reported.

At the times of the Revolutionary War, many of Rhode Island’s communities got captured, and the state witnesses very heavy fighting in 1778 at the ‘Battle of Rhode Island’ (August 28 & 29).

Rhode Island was strongly opposed to the new U.S. government and the new constitution, and the state held out as long as it could, but in 1790, on May 29th, and as last of all original 13 colonies, it joined the Union.

1824 is a noteworthy year as it marks the first American strike by women when the weavers of Pawtucket laid down their hands and refused to continue with their work. Over 24,000 Rhode Island residents took part in the Civil War during which more than 250 died in combat while more than 1,250 succumbed to disease.

President Rutherford Hayes made a historically important conversation in 1876, on a recent invention called the telephone. The call was all the way from Providence to Rocky Point, a distance of over 8 miles.

During World War I, some 28,800 Rhode Island residents went under the arms, and in 1930, the yacht race The America’s Cup visited Newport. At the time of World War II, the U.S. Navy Seabees worked near Davidsville (at Quonset Point) and they created a structure that later became world famous, the Quonset hut.

In 1954, the city of Newport organized for the first time its celebrated jazz festival, and in 1983, American lost The America’s Cup for the first time as well, to Australia.

Massachusetts Facts

As far as area is concerned, Massachusetts comes only as the 44th state in the nation, yet all through the centuries, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has always played a prominent role as a national leader. In Massachusetts, the nation’s first printing press, the first regularly published newspapers, the first U.S. college, and the first secondary school in America were established.

The beautiful state of Massachusetts also provided the nation with four presidents, and has, for a long time, been among the top states regarding all sorts of manufacturing. The thriving and historic city of Boston contains one of America’s biggest seaports and Logan Airport is a major international hub. The region around Boston boasts many colleges and universities, making this area world-class research, education, and cultural center.

See also our 50 states quiz

Massachusetts is the place where the American Revolutionary War really started, and probably all Americans some knowledge of the Boston Massacre, the battles of Lexington & Concord, the Boston Tea Party, or the Battle of Bunker Hill. The state of Massachusetts also has been producing more than its fair share of thinkers, writers, and statesmen. The important city of Boston is continuing to progress in cultural, economic, and political diversity.

Quick Facts about Massachusetts

– The first governing document, the Mayflower Compact.
– First American Popular election.
– The ‘town hall meeting’ was institutionalized here.
– In 1621, the first Thanksgiving.
– The American Revolution began here.
– Birthplace of American iron and steel industry.
– First U.S. state to have a public school.
– Home of the oldest U.S. University, Harvard.
– Mather School in Boston is the oldest U.S. private secondary school.
– Phillips Academy in Andover is the nation’s oldest boys’ boarding school.
– America’s first pipe organ.

Check Also: Richest People in Massachusetts

Massachusetts brief history

In the period 1497 – 1498 John Cabot made a voyage as probably the first European pioneer in what we now know as Massachusetts, and Bartholomew Gosnold noted in 1602 so many codfish in that specific area that he named the region “Cape Cod”.

Around 100 dissenters of the Church of England were seeking their religious freedom in this New World. They sailed from England on a ship called the Mayflower in 1620. On November 11 of that year, the ship reached the Cape Cod shores, in what is now Massachusetts, close to what is present-day Provincetown.

They sent out a scouting party and later, in December, landed at Plymouth Harbor. Here they established the first permanent European settlement in the New England area. These first settlers of Plymouth Colony are also referred to as the ‘Pilgrim Fathers’, or simply ‘the Pilgrims’.

But, as often, there is some controversy. A well-reputed Harvard historian is contending that the ship, the Mayflower, could never have landed at the site of Plymouth Rock. He is sure the direction of the strong current would have made that an impossibility.

1621. In April that year, Wampanoag chief Massasoit and the Pilgrims made an important treaty regarding the Pilgrims’ settlement. This treaty was kept by the Indian Chief for the remainder of his life. In the fall of that year, the Pilgrims Fathers, together with all of their Indian friends, held a great celebration which later became understood as the nation’s first Thanksgiving.

One Night Stands With American History reveals that in old colonial Massachusetts, observing or celebrating Christmas was illegal. Everybody who did observe the day was violating this rule and was to be fined five shillings…

Governor Michael S. Dukakis wrote:
…. This is a spirit that’s as American as apple pie. The spirit of Massachusetts truly is the real spirit of America….

Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote:
…. Massachusetts is really the cornerstone of a nation….

Statesman and orator Daniel Webster wrote:
…. Upon Massachusetts, I shall enter on no encomium as she is in need of none. There Massachusetts is. Behold her and just judge for yourself…..