Forget what you’ve been told. George Washington was not the first president of the United States.

George Washington, our celebrated “first” president, the guy who appears on the $1 bill, the quarter, and is the subject of numerous iconic paintings, was not the first person to preside over America. Now that your mind has been totally blown, you should know that there were actually eight other presidents before him! Life is a lie, friends.

The United States declared its independence from Great Britain in 1776, and the Revolutionary War ended in 1783. Washington wasn’t elected until 1789, so what was going on in the meantime? Our country’s first system of government was organized in 1781 under the Articles of Confederation, at which point officials from the Continental Congress elected presidents. The following eight gents sat at the helm of the U.S. government before George Washington came along.

1. John Hanson (1781-1782)

John Hanson (1781-1782)

Hanson was elected by Congress unanimously as the first president of the United States. He was a member of the Continental Congress and was elected to serve a one-year term.

2. Elias Boudinot (1782-1783)

Elias Boudinot (1782-1783)

This gentleman served as the second president. A delegate from New Jersey, Boudinot later led the United States Mint.