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Commonwealth of Virginia
(In Detail) (Full size)
State nickname: Old Dominion

Other U.S. States
Capital Richmond
Largest City Virginia Beach
Governor Mark R. Warner
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water
 - % water
Ranked 35th
110,862 kmē
102,642 kmē
8,220 kmē
 - Total (2000)
 - Density
Ranked 12th
Admittance into Union
 - Order
 - Date
June 25, 1788
Time zoneEastern: UTC-5/-4
36°31'N to 39°37'N
75°13'W to 83°37'W
320 km
690 km
1,746 meters
290 meters
0 meters
FIPS Code:51
ISO 3166-2:US-VA

Virginia is one of the original 13 states of the United States that revolted against British rule in the American Revolution and is generally classified as part of the South. Its official name is the Commonwealth of Virginia; it is one of four Commonwealths out of the fifty United States.

Kentucky and West Virginia were part of Virginia at the time of the founding of the United States, but the former was admitted to the Union as a separate state in 1792 while the latter broke away from Virginia during the American Civil War.

Virginia is known as the "Mother of Presidents", as more U.S. Presidents (7) were born in this state than in any other. Five of them were re-elected to a second term: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and Woodrow Wilson. William Henry Harrison (died while in office) and John Tyler round out the list of American Presidents from the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Law and Government
3 Geography
4 Demographics
5 Important cities and towns
6 Colleges and universities
7 Professional sports teams
8 Miscellaneous information
9 Novel
10 Other places
11 External links


Among Native American people living in what now is Virginia were the Powhatan, Nottaway, Meherrin, Monacan, Saponi, and Cherokee.

At the end of the 16th century when England began to colonize North America, "Virginia" was the name Queen Elizabeth I of England gave to the whole area Sir Walter Raleigh's 1584 expedition explored on the coast of North America, eventually applying to the whole coast from South Carolina to Maine. The London Virginia Company became incorporated as a joint stock company by a royal charter drawn up on April 10, 1606. They swiftly financed the first permanent English settlement in the New World which was at Jamestown in the Virginia Colony in 1607. Its Second Charter was officially ratified on May 23, 1609.

Virginia was given its nickname "The Old Dominion" by King Charles II of England at the time of the Restoration for remaining loyal to the crown during the English Civil War. On June 12, 1776, the Virginia Convention adopted the Virginia Declaration of Rights, a document that influenced the Bill of Rights added later to the United States Constitution. On June 29, 1776, the convention adopted a constitution that established Virginia as a commonwealth independent of the British Empire. In 1790 both Virginia and Maryland ceded territory to form the new District of Columbia, but in an Act of Congress dated July 9, 1846, the territory that had been ceded was returned to Virginia, and is now Arlington County and part of the City of Alexandria. Virginia is one of the states that seceded from the Union to become the Confederacy during the Civil War. When it did, some counties were separated as West Virginia, an act which was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in 1870.

Virginia formally rejoined the Union on January 26, 1870 after a period of post-war military rule.

On January 13, 1990 Douglas Wilder became the first African American governor of a US state to serve as Governor after Reconstruction when he was elected Governor of Virginia.

In 2004, Virginia took the extraordinary step of banning any recognition whatsoever of homosexual relationships, extending even to matters such as private wills and joint ownership of property (the state was one of 13 that still had sodomy laws on their books at the time the United States Supreme Court declared such laws unconstitutional in 2003). This has led to a campaign by supporters of gay rights to boycott the state in areas such as tourism and urging people not to buy products or services from companies headquartered in the state or having a substantial presence there.

Law and Government

The capital is Richmond. See: List of Virginia Governors

House of Burgesses: The lower house of the legislature in colonial Virginia. The House of Burgesses made up the other part of the General Assembly. Its members were chosen by all those who could vote in the colony. Each settlement chose two people or burgesses to represent it. The Burgesses met to make laws for the colony and set the direction for its future growth. The idea of electing burgesses was important and new. It gave Virginians a chance to control their own government for the first time. At first the burgesses were elected by all free men in the colony. Women, indentured servants, and Native Americans could not vote. Later the rules for voting changed, making it necessary for men to own at least fifty acres of land in order to vote.



See also:
List of Virginia counties, List of Virginia rivers

Virginia is bordered by West Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia (across the Potomac River to the north, by Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, by North Carolina and Tennessee to the south, and by Kentucky to the west.

Chesapeake Bay divides the state, with the eastern portion (called 'the Eastern Shore"), a part of the Delmarva Peninsula, completely separate from the rest of the state.


As of 2001, the population is 7,196,750.

Important cities and towns

Under the laws in effect in Virginia, all municipalities incorporated as cities are independent of any county. Of the approximately 43 independent cities in the United States, 39 are in Virginia. The complete list of Virginia independent cities follows:

Some other municipalities incorporated as towns, which are not independent of a county, include:

Finally, Arlington County, which lies across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C, is a completely urbanized community, but has no incorporated area within its borders.

Colleges and universities

Professional sports teams

The Minor League Baseball Teams are:

The minor league soccer teams are:


USL Pro Soccer League


Miscellaneous information

State motto: "Sic semper tyrannis." (Ever thus to tyrants.)
State bird: Cardinal
State flower: Dogwood
State tree: Dogwood
State insect: Tiger swallowtail
State song: "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny"

USS Virginia was named in honor of this state.


A 1913 novel by Ellen Glasgow is entitled Virginia.

Other places

There are also places named Virginia in the States of Illinois and Minnesota: see

External links

Regions of Virginia
Appomattox Basin | Baltimore-Washington Metro Area | Hampton Roads | Middle Peninsula | Northern Neck | Northern Virginia | Southside Virginia | Tidewater | Virginia Peninsula
Accomack | Albemarle | Alleghany | Amelia | Amherst | Appomattox | Arlington | Augusta | Bath | Bedford | Bland | Botetourt | Brunswick | Buchanan | Buckingham | Campbell | Caroline | Carroll | Charles City | Charlotte | Chesterfield | Clarke | Craig | Culpeper | Cumberland | Dickenson | Dinwiddie | Essex | Fairfax | Fauquier | Floyd | Fluvanna | Franklin | Frederick | Giles | Gloucester | Goochland | Grayson | Greene | Greensville | Halifax | Hanover | Henrico | Henry | Highland | Isle of Wight | James City | King and Queen | King George | King William | Lancaster | Lee | Loudoun | Louisa | Lunenburg | Madison | Mathews | Mecklenburg | Middlesex | Montgomery | Nelson | New Kent | Northampton | Northumberland | Nottoway | Orange | Page | Patrick | Pittsylvania | Powhatan | Prince Edward | Prince George | Prince William | Pulaski | Rappahannock | Richmond | Roanoke | Rockbridge | Rockingham | Russell | Scott | Shenandoah | Smyth | Southampton | Spotsylvania | Stafford | Surry | Sussex | Tazewell | Warren | Washington | Westmoreland | Wise | Wythe | York
Independent Cities
Alexandria | Bedford | Bristol | Buena Vista | Charlottesville | Chesapeake | Colonial Heights | Covington | Danville | Emporia | Fairfax | Falls Church | Franklin | Fredericksburg | Galax | Hampton | Harrisonburg | Hopewell | Lexington | Lynchburg | Manassas | Manassas Park | Martinsville | Newport News | Norfolk | Norton | Petersburg | Poquoson | Portsmouth | Radford | Richmond | Roanoke | Salem | Staunton | Suffolk | Virginia Beach | Waynesboro | Williamsburg | Winchester

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