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General background about this state

Virginia Flag     Virginia Great Seal


  Newport News
  Virginia Beach

Virginia, officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state located in the South Atlantic region of the United States. Virginia is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth and is the birthplace of five Presidents; 1st-George Washington, 3rd-Thomas Jefferson, 4th-James Madison, 5th-James Monroe, and 10th-John Tyler.

  • NICKNAME: The Old Dominion State
  • POPULATION: 8,260,405 (2013 est.)
  • CAPITAL: Richmond
  • STATE BIRD: Cardinal
  • STATE FLOWER: American Dogwood
  • AREA: 42,774 sq. mi.
  • TIME ZONE: Eastern
  • ENTERED UNION: June 25, 1788
  • ALTITUDE: High, 5,729 ft. Mount Rogers
  • CLIMATE: Hot summers, short winters with some snow. Moderate rainfall.


The land the English colonists came upon in 1607 stirred feelings of wonder. Green pines stood high by the sea. Cedars looked as impressive as those of Biblical Lebanon. Wild grapes were abundant and the streams pure and cool.

To this day the state retains much of the pristine beauty that led settlers to name the colony in honor of their Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I.  The Old Dominion rises slowly from the placid tidewater lowlands by the Atlantic, through the rounded hills of the Piedmont Plateau, to the crowning Blue Ridge Mountains. In the Shenandoah National Park, which straddles the Blue Ridge, Virginia rejoices in one of America's natural wonders. From the park's 105-mile-long-Skyline Drive, visitors can look west toward a horizon that evokes a sense of the wilderness that confronted the pioneers.

Blue Ridge Mountains
Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia

The land remains as prolific as it is beautiful. Here tobacco was first cultivated by white men in North America and once was the state's largest cash crop, today greenhouse/nursery, and soybeans are more lucrative, with livestock products now generating more than 2/3 of the state's total agricultural receipts. Virginia ranks fifth among apple-growing states, and is a major manufacturer of  paper, furniture and communication satellites. The Pentagon, the headquarters of the CIA, and seven military bases are all located in Virginia.



  • In 1989, Virginia voters elected the country's first African-American governor, Douglas Wilder.
  • Arlington County was a portion of the land surveyed in 1791 to be part of the District of Columbia, but the land was returned to Virginia by the U.S. Congress.
  • Virginia provided four of the first five presidents of the United States, and eight total (as of 2015).
  • Wild ponies have lived on Assateague Island for centuries. The ponies that live on the Virginia end of the island are owned by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department. Each year in a roundup, young ponies swim to Chincoteague where they are auctioned off as a fund-raising event.
  • Over 2,200 of the 4,000 battles in the Civil War were fought in Virginia.
  • The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg is the second oldest in the United States, it was founded in 1693.


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