Why Is Virginia Known As the Mother of Presidents and Which U.S. Presidents Were Born In Virginia?

More U.S. presidents were born in Virginia than in any other state. The eight presidents were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson. The largest city in Virginia is not its capital, Richmond, but Virginia Beach. It had a population of 425,257 in 2000, … Read more

Who Is Washington, D.C. Named After and When Did It Become the Capital of the United States?

The city of Washington was planned in detail before the first building was constructed, a rarity among world cities at that time. In the late 1700s, northern and southern leaders disagreed strongly about where to build a new permanent national capital, but they finally reached a compromise and agreed on a location along the Potomac … Read more

What Is an Aquifer and How Did the Ogallala Aquifer In Nebraska Get Its Name?

Aquifers are like huge underground lakes, geologists define them as being a layer of water-bearing rock through which groundwater travels. The Ogallala Aquifer, also known as the High Plains Aquifer, supplies Nebraska and several other states with water for homes, farms, and industry. Almost all of Nebraska sits above this huge aquifer, which extends from … Read more

Why Is Minnesota Called the Land of 10,000 Lakes and How Were the Lakes In Wisconsin and Minnesota Formed?

Minnesota’s license plate reads “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” but it really has almost 12,000 lakes. And with more than 15,000 lakes, Wisconsin, especially the northern part, is a water lover’s paradise. Lake Winnebago is the largest, covering 215 square miles (559 sq km). Like so many other lakes in this part of the world, these … Read more

Who Carved the Jeffers Petroglyphs In Minnesota and Where Did the Carvings Come From?

Archaeologists believe that Native Americans carved pictures of people, deer, elk, turtles, spearthrowers, and other designs into areas of rock in southwestern Minnesota between 5,000 and 2,500 years ago. About 2,000 images can be seen in outcrop of red Sioux quartzite bedrock that juts out of the middle of a wide prairie. More than 50 … Read more

What Does the Gateway Arch In St. Louis, Missouri Symbolize and When Was the Gateway Arch Built?

The Gateway Arch, which sits on the Mississippi riverfront, was constructed in the early 1960s as a monument to the American pioneers who settled the western frontier. The giant stainless steel arch rises 630 feet (192 m) and is the tallest man-made monument in the United States. Visitors can ride trams through the arch to … Read more

How Many Caves Are There In the State of Missouri and Where Are They Located?

The state of Missouri has about 1,450 caves. Most lie below the Ozark Mountains in southern Missouri, where they were formed by underwater streams carving away the rock. Southern Missouri rises to the Ozark Mountains, a dissected plateau surrounding the Precambrian igneous St. Francois Mountains. The Bootheel region of Missouri was the epicenter of the … Read more

What Is North Dakota’s Most Abundant Natural Resource and When Was Crude Oil Discovered In North Dakota?

North Dakota leads all the states in the number of coal reserves. Most of the coal is lignite, though, which does not produce as much energy as other types of coal. The state also began producing crude petroleum when reserves were discovered near Tioga in 1951. Farmers in North Dakota produce enough wheat each year … Read more

What Was the Worst Flood In the Mississippi Valley and What Caused the Great Flood of 1993?

The most devastating flood in recent American history hit the upper and middle Mississippi Valley between late June and mid-August 1993. Flood records were broken along the Mississippi River and most of its tributaries from Minnesota to Missouri. The states worst hit were Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, and Missouri. A wet fall and winter had caused … Read more

Why Did Ohio Become Such An Important Manufacturing State and Why Was Ohio Called the Gateway State?

Geographic advantages made Ohio an ideal place for making various products. First, it has important minerals used in manufacturing, especially coal. It also has ample supplies of water. Second, products could be easily transported to other parts of the country via Lake Erie and the Erie Canal as well as by other canals, railroads, and … Read more

Why Is Illinois So Flat and Why Is the Chicago River Known As the River That Flows Backward?

The highest point in Illinois, Charles Mound, near Apple River, rises only 1,235 feet (376 m) above sea level. During the last Ice Age, glaciers spread across the region and flattened it. But those same glaciers left behind materials that became the fertile soils that have made Illinois a leading agricultural state. The Chicago River, … Read more

Why Is Wisconsin Called America’s Dairyland and How Much Dairy Does the State of Wisconsin Produce?

Wisconsin, is the leading milk producer in the United States. Its 1.6 million dairy cows produce a year’s supply of milk for 42 million people. Wisconsin also leads the states in butter and cheese production, supplying about a fourth of the nation’s butter and a third of its cheese. In 2009 Wisconsin had about 5.6 … Read more

Who Are the Pennsylvania Dutch People and Where Did the Pennsylvania Dutch People Come From?

The people called Pennsylvania Dutch are not Dutch at all, but rather descendants of the many German immigrants who settled in the central part of the state beginning in the 1700s. The German word for German is Deutsch, which was mispronounced as “Dutch.” Today, many Pennsylvania Dutch people still live in the central part of … Read more

Why Don’t the Old Order Amish People In Pennsylvania Believe In Driving Cars Or Using Electricity?

About 18,000 of the Old Order Amish (pronounced Ab-mish) people in the United States live in and around Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The Amish religion is an offshoot of the Mennonite faith. People of both these denominations came to America in the early 1700s, with many settling in Pennsylvania, to escape religious persecution in Europe. The Amish … Read more

How Did the Delmarva Peninsula Get Its Name and Which Towns Are Named After Delaware?

A few interesting geographic names have come from combining Delaware’s name with those of its neighbors. The strip of land that extends between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean contains all of Delaware and parts of Maryland and Virginia. The popular name for the entire area is the Delmarva Peninsula, formed from DELaware, MARyland, … Read more

Why Is Delaware Called the First State and When Did Delaware Ratify the United States Constitution?

Delaware was the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, which it did on December 7, 1787. That’s why Delaware is represented first in presidential inaugurations and other national events. Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia share the Delmarva Peninsula. If you look at a map, you’ll notice that Delaware’s northern boundary with Pennsylvania is formed by … Read more

Who Were the First Europeans To Settle In Delaware and When Was the New Sweden Colony Established?

People from Sweden and Finland settled near present-day Wilmington, Delaware in 1638, calling their colony New Sweden. These settlers built log cabins much like those they had in Scandinavia. Later that century, the Dutch and then the English took over the colony. Since local forests offered a plentiful supply of logs for building, the log … Read more

How Did the Chesapeake Bay Get Its Name and Where Does the Name “Chesapeake” Come From?

The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States, and lies off the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by Maryland and Virginia. The Native Americans who once lived along the bay gave it an Algonquian name, Chesepiook, meaning “great shellfish bay.” It is the seventh oldest surviving English place-name in the U.S., and was explored … Read more

How Many U.S. Presidents Were Born In Ohio and Why Is Ohio Called the Buckeye State?

Seven U.S. presidents were born in Ohio, more than any other state except Virginia. They were Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, and Warren G. Harding. Although he was born in Indiana, William Henry Harrison was living in Ohio when he became president. Ohio’s nickname, … Read more

Why Has Aquaculture Supplemented Traditional Fishing In Chesapeake Bay Maryland Over the Past Few Decades?

Traditional fishing is being supplemented by the practice of aquaculture in Maryland. Aquaculture is the practice in which growers use ponds or special tanks to raise millions of pounds of trout, striped bass, catfish, and tilapia, and lesser amounts of oysters and soft crabs each year. Overfishing and pollution have resulted in smaller fish and … Read more

Why Are There Skyscrapers In Lower Manhattan and Midtown But Very Few Tall Buildings In Between?

manhattan building

There are very few tall buildings in between Lower Manhattan and Midtown because of the geology of Manhattan Island. Very tall buildings need a very solid foundation, and Manhattan Island’s bedrock of schist, which is a granite-like rock, is particularly solid and stable. In lower Manhattan the schist is about 80 feet (24 m) below … Read more

What Are the Names of Five Boroughs In New York City and Which Borough Is the Largest In Population?

The five boroughs in New York City are also counties. The names of the five boroughs are: Bronx (Bronx County) Brooklyn (Kings County) Manhattan (New York County) Queens (Queens County) Staten Island (Richmond County) Queens is the largest borough in area, with 108 square miles (281 sq km), while Brooklyn (Kings County) is the largest … Read more

What Is the Indian Name For Lake Webster In Massachusetts and What Does It Mean?

The Indian name for Lake Webster in Massachusetts is Lake Chaubunagungamaug. And that’s the short form. The long form is Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaug. Translated, it means “You fish your side of the lake. I fish my side. Nobody fishes the middle.” About half the cranberries grown in the United States come from southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod, and … Read more

Which U.S. State Was the First To Enter the Union After the Original 13 States?

Vermont was the first state to enter the Union after the original 13 states. It was an independent republic until 1791, when it joined the Union. The original 13 states were New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. The original 13 colonies … Read more

Why Is Massachusetts Called a Commonwealth and What Is the State Fish of Massachusetts?

Massachusetts and three other states, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, are called commonwealths, but they are also states of the United States. There is no legal difference between the terms “commonwealth” and “state,” and they are used interchangeably. The only true U.S. commonwealth, meaning a self-governing, autonomous political unit voluntarily associated with the United States, is … Read more

How Did Rhode Island Get Its Name and Why Is Rhode Island Known As the Ocean State?

The smallest U.S. state has the longest official name: “Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.” Providence Plantations refers to the towns on the mainland. The island of Rhode Island, now more commonly called Aquidneck, is the largest of thirty six islands, most of which are in Narragansett Bay, that also make up the state. The city … Read more

Why Is Connecticut Known As the Insurance State?

Connecticut is often called the Insurance State because it is the headquarters for more than 100 insurance companies. In the 1790s companies there began insuring ships and cargo that left its ports. These companies prospered, and by 1810 people could buy insurance that would cover them for “loss of life or personal injury while journeying … Read more

What Do You Call a Person From Connecticut and Why Is Connecticut Known As the Nutmeg State?

A person from Connecticut is called a “Connecticuter,” says Webster’s New International Dictionary, although there is no official state term to describe a person who was born in or lives in Connecticut. In the 1700s two other words were seen in print: “Connecticotian” and “Connecticutensian.” At one time, “Nutmegger” was used to refer to a … Read more