The Origin and Meaning of the Virginia Nicknames
The American citizens who live in, or who come from Virginia, are referred to as Virginians. The history, origin and meaning of each of the state's nicknames are as follows:
The Old Dominion
The 'Dominion' was a name formerly applied to self-governing parts of Britain. The Old Dominion nickname originated in Colonial times. In 1663 King Charles II (1630–1685) elevated Virginia to the position of dominion along with England, Scotland Ireland.
The Mother of Presidents
The Mother of Presidents reflects the large number of Presidents who were born in the state. The names of these eight U.S. presidents were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Tyler. William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson.
Mother of States
Virginia was the first state to be settled, the lands were absolutely vast and included present day Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and a part of Minnesota. It is therefore not suprising that another nickname is 'Mother of States.
The Cavalier State
The Cavalier nickname is another reference to King Charles II who was supported by gallant and courtly gentleman known as Cavaliers. The term originated during the English Civil War when the royalist forces of King Charles I were opposed by the 'Roundheads' the parliamentarians led by Oliver Cromwell. The name originally meant an armed horseman, similar to the French chevalier.