What Time Is The Uva Football Game On Saturday University of Virginia (UVA) Cavaliers – Nickname Explained

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University of Virginia (UVA) Cavaliers – Nickname Explained

The University of Virginia Cavaliers share a nickname with the NBA franchise Cleveland Cavaliers, but that’s where the similarities end. The explanation for the University of Virginia Cavaliers nickname actually involves a story of historical significance to the region.

Located in Charlottesville, Virginia, the school with a total student population of close to 20,000 is often referred to simply as UVA for short (based on the VA post office state abbreviation for Virginia). The orange and navy now worn by the Cavaliers first took effect in 1888 when the athletic teams representing the college negotiated with local IMCA teams for lack of more formal competition. Many people are interested to know that in the earliest days of collegiate athletics, playing games against local IMCA groups was the norm across the country. In fact, the University of Kentucky basketball program that currently has the most wins of any college team in history began its run with a single win in the 1903 season against an IMCA team (the UK team finished a disappointing 1-2 that first season).

The origin of the nickname Cavaliers comes from what happened in this part of the world during the seventeenth century when England was involved in a civil war that pitted supporters of the parliamentary system of government against King Charles I who asserted absolute power in the sense of ruling. The use of the word Cavalier predates the formation of the United States of America with a very similar version of the word used by William Shakespeare in his famous play Henry IV. Shakespeare chose the word to describe a swashbuckler not unlike the current mascot of the University of Virginia, which is a guy holding a sword on a horse. Before Shakespeare wrote it in the last years of the sixteenth century, the historical nature of the word Cavaliers dates back to the Spanish word caballeros (translation: horseman) which is actually a derivative of the Latin term caballarius – which has a similar meaning to the Spanish term.

With a solid foundation of etymology behind the term Cavaliers, it is important to understand how it relates to Virginia’s program in Charlottesville. Before the days of the American Revolutionary War, the modern state of Virginia was known as the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Commonwealth of Virginia had a reputation for being home to a large number of Loyalists who were very supportive of the British Crown. When the University of Virginia officially adopted the name Virginia Cavaliers in 1923, it was to honor a bygone era when, during the tumultuous British Civil War of the seventeenth century, the good men of the Commonwealth of Virginia sided with the royalist supporters who were often referred to as the Cavaliers.

The next time you’re watching the University of Virginia Cavaliers take on the University of North Carolina Tar Heels (the South’s oldest rivalry – dating back to 1892), feel free to lean in and impress your buddies with your thorough knowledge of the seventeenth-century British Civil War and its subsequent role which that era played into the final choice of the UVA Cavaliers nickname.

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