20 Interesting Facts About George Washington

We all are well aware of the fact that George Washington was the first President of America. He was unanimously elected President of the United States twice and played an essential part in shaping the role and function of the President of the United States. But if you think you know everything about this great man, you might be in for some amazing surprises. Let’s unveil some of the interesting facts about George Washington:

George Washington

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image: i.ytimg.com

1. A self-taught prodigy!

George Washington started out school when he was six years old but had to quit soon as his mother lacked funds for his education. He was mostly self-taught in various disciplines and had about 8 years of formal schooling. At the age of 15, he became a surveyor.
Source: scholastic.com

2. A former friend turned foe!

1819 Passage Of The Delaware

Before fighting against the British, Washington actually fought for the British. Surprised? Washington led a British colonial force against the French in Ohio at the age of 21. Though he lost the battle, on the flip side, it helped spark the Seven Years War in North America.
Source: mentalfloss.com, image: wikimedia.org

3. Losingest Victorious!

Retreat from long island

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Who says that the no. of victories on the battlefield decides your military capabilities? Washington actually lost more battles than he ever won. But he still ranks as a great general as his greatness lay less in his talent on the battlefield, though he committed some major strategic blunders still managed to hold his frayed army together for more than eight years and kept the flame of revolution alive. He was truly a great leader.
Source: mountvernon.org, image: wikimedia.org

4. Father of the US military!

George washington by charles peale polk

Washington was a lieutenant general at the time of his death. Even today after centuries have passed nobody can outrank him. Washington had defeated not only the British but also established a framework for the American army. He was truly the father of the US military, so the three-star rank which he held was not compatible with his achievements. Hence, a law was passed and Washington was designated the highest ranking U.S. officer of all time: General of the Armies of the United States.
Source: wikipedia, image: wikimedia.org

5. The President on the Battlefield!

Well, if we don’t count Bill Pullman in Independence Day, Washington is the only President to took part in a battle while serving as a President on September 19, 1794, when he led the militia on a month-long march west over the Allegheny Mountains to the town of Bedford.
Source: mentalfloss.com

6. Strapped for cash

Washington was frequently out of credit, his revenues being tied up in land holdings. He even had to borrow money when he decided to relocate to New York to become President. Despite his financial crunch he refused to accept a salary as President. He had to cave in thinking, denying a salary would set an unfortunate precedent.
Source: mountvernon.org

7. Washington was the only president inaugurated in two cities

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Washington's Inauguration
Washington’s Inauguration

Washington’s first inauguration occurred in New York City on April 30, 1789, and the second inauguration was in Philadelphia on March 4, 1793. Washington’s second inaugural address is the shortest ever delivered in the history.
Source: history.com, image: wikimedia.org

8. A Trendsetter President!

Robert Edge Pine, Portrait of George Washington

Washington established the traditions for the social life of the president. He had signed the first copyright law. George Washington had also set a tradition of a cabinet of advisers. There have been speculations that Washington had set the trend of adding “So help me God” on to the Presidential Oath of Office at his inauguration. Greeting the President as “Mr. President” was his idea. He also established the two-term tradition for the Presidency.
Source: wikipedia, image: wikimedia.org

9. When he started the first reality contest ever!

Capitol Building

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson decided to have a contest for the architectural design of the Capitol building in which the winning designer would get a whopping $ 500. But after they didn’t like any of the 17 submitted designs, so they ended up accepting a bid from a Scottish doctor named William Thornton that came in after the deadline. It was the first reality contest ever.
Source: quirkytravelguy.com, image: aoc.gov

10. The Sickest President!

All through his life, Washington complained of a laundry list of diseases like Diphtheria, smallpox, dysentery, malaria, tuberculosis, quinsy (tonsillitis), carbuncle, pneumonia, and epiglottitis- to name a few.
Source: mentalfloss.com

11. Might be infertile!

painting

It is a well-known fact that Washington was childless and though it’s sad, people actually took solace in the fact that Washington didn’t have any kids of his own, as Americans didn’t have to fear that he might establish a monarchical system. In 2007, a study proposed that Washington was childless because he might be infertile, the reason being the infection caused by his tuberculosis. A study showed that Infection of the epididymis or testes frequently results in infertility in 20% of the individuals.
Source: mentalfloss.com, image: wikimedia.org

12. A passionate letter writer!

Washington was keen on writing letters. It is estimated that he penned around 18,000 to 20,000 letters. Going by the numbers, even if we write one letter every day for 50- 55 years, we still won’t stand a chance competing with Washington.
Source: mentalfloss.com

13. Canine Crush

George Washington Dog Lover

Washington was a dog lover, and he used to keep hound dogs that he treated like members of the family. He named his dogs Tarter, True Love, Sweet Lips, Drunkard, Tipler, and Tipsy. Washington is also known as the “Father of the American Foxhound.” He bred 30 Foxhounds.
Source: mountvernon.org, image: psychologytoday.com

14. Falling for best friend’s wife!

Sally Fairfax
Sally Fairfax

Several letters show that before Washington married Martha, he was in love with Sally Fairfax, who was the wife of his friend, George William Fairfax.
Source: mentalfloss.com, image: wikimedia.org

15. Moonshiner

 

Washington is nicknamed as the moonshiner. Well, the story behind is that he was a licensed distiller and had made a style of whiskey “moonshine.” He installed a distillery at Mount Vernon in 1798, and it was profitable. It is estimated that it distilled 12,000 gallons a year.
Source: biography.com

16. George growing hemp?

George Washington Hemp Grower

Shocking right? But it wasn’t that big deal in those times. Most farmers grew hemp as a cash crop which was used to make rope, paper, and other products. The hemp wasn’t smoked for pleasure. Washington was actually quite an agricultural innovator and used to grow corn and wheat along with the hemp. The credit of introducing the concept of crop rotation also goes to him.
Source: mountvernon.org, image: alexgrey.com

17. Teeth story

falseteeth

It is a well-known fact that George Washington had false teeth and the legend says his dentures were made of wood. But lemme tell you what they were actually made of. They were made out of carved animal bone and human teeth. The disheartening fact is that he bought the teeth out of the mouths of his enslaved workers. Well, he was a slave owner, and wasn’t required or expected—to pay a slave for a tooth at all!
Source: biography.com, image: mountvernon.org

18. The richest president ever!

GW painting

Washington was listed as the wealthiest president of all time by the research on website Wall Street 24/7 in 2010. Though he had some debt problems during his lifetime, he had significant land holdings and about 800 slaves. These assets would have been worth more than $500 million today.
Source: 247wallst.com, image: wikimedia.org

19. He did beat Napoleon!

George Washington vs Napoleon

In a poll conducted by the Great Britain in 2012, General Washington was voted as the greatest military enemy to face the British–beating even Napoleon and German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. Though it was posthumously it still counts, right?
Source: usnews.com, image: twistification.files.wordpress.com

20. He had a magnum heart!

eorge Washington as Farmer

Out of the 9 US Presidents who held slaves, George Washington stood out as the only one who freed all the slaves who were under his personal control.
Source: history.com, image: wikimedia.org