George Washington’s Birthday

George Washington, often referred to as the ‘father of his country’, was born on 22nd February 1732.  In 1775 he became the Continental Army’s commander in chief and fought an arduous and lengthy war in order to free the US from British rule.

The long war finally came to an end in 1781, when the French intervened on behalf of the Continental Army, and Britain’s General Cornwallis was forced into surrendering at Yorktown.  Six years later, in 1787, Washington was elected as president by unanimous vote by the Constitutional Convention, which was based in Philadelphia.  Two years later he took the Oath of Office and he served two full terms in office from 1789 through to 1797.

Following his stint as president, Washington retired to his Mount Vermont home, where he died just two years later on 14th December 1799 from a throat infection.  The official federal holiday for Washington’s birthday always takes place on the third Monday in February.  In the majority of states it is also a state holiday; it is sometimes called Lincoln’s Birthday or Presidents Day and celebrates either Washington’s birthday, Lincoln’s birthday, or a variety of US presidents.

Celebrations are held throughout February in Alexandria in Virginia, which was Washington’s adopted home town.  The federal holiday in honor of Washington was first implemented in 1879 by an Act of Congress for government offices in Washington DC, expanding to include all federal holidays in 1885.