The oldest city in the United States
ESB Professional/Shutterstock Nope, America’s oldest city is not a city from the original 13 colonies. It’s not Boston, Philadelphia, or even Jamestown, Virginia. The oldest city in the United States is Saint Augustine, Florida. The Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilés established a settlement there in 1565. de Avilés reached shore on August 28, the feast day of St. Augustine, and decided to name the city accordingly. To be fair, though, it was controlled by the Spanish, and then the British, and then the Spanish again, before it was technically American. The United States acquired the region by treaty in 1821. Find out how every state got its nickname.
The first capital of the United States
Sean Pavone/Shutterstock Washington, D.C. didn’t become the nation’s capital until 1790. The first city to hold the title was Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, when the First Continental Congress met there in 1774. In the 16 years between then and 1790, a total of seven—yes, seven—other cities held the title. Some, like Baltimore, Maryland, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, only held the title very briefly as the Continental Congress moved around to avoid the British. New York was the last pre-D.C. city to hold the title. Congress met there for about four years, and George Washington himself was inaugurated as president there. Which is ironic, considering that he’s the president Washington, D.C. is named after. Check out the full list of capital cities on Mental Floss, and learn 18 more things you never knew about our nation’s capital.
The first president born in a hospital
Nir Levy/Shutterstock Jimmy Carter, our 39th president, was the first to be born in a hospital. He was born in 1924. Not all of Carter’s successors were born in hospitals; post-Carter presidents Reagan and H. W. Bush were not. Meanwhile, seven previous presidents, including Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln, were born in log cabins, meaning more U.S. presidents have been born in log cabins than hospitals.