Interesting facts about Virginia

virginia flag

Virginia is a state in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States.

The official name of the state is the Commonwealth of Virginia.

It is bordered by Maryland and Washington, D.C. to the north and east, by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, by North Carolina to the south, by Tennessee to the southwest, by Kentucky to the west, and by West Virginia to the north and west.

As of January 2019, the population of Virginia was estimated to be about 8.5 million people. It is the 12th most populous state in the United States.

It is the 35th largest state in the United States in terms of total area with 110,786 square kilometers (42,774 square miles).

Richmond is the capital of Virginia. During the American Civil War, Richmond served as the second and permanent capital of the Confederate States of America. About 1/2 of all the people in the United States live within a 800-kilometer (500-mile) radius of Richmond.

richmond

Virginia can be divided into five geographical regions: the Atlantic Coastal Plain, the Piedmont, the Blue Ridge, the Appalachian Ridge and Valley Region, and the Appalachian Plateau.

The Atlantic Coastal Plain runs from north to south along the Atlantic Ocean. To the west of the Atlantic Coastal Plain is the Piedmont, Virginia’s largest geographical land region. To the west of the Piedmont, lies the Blue Ridge. Extending southwest to northeast along Virginia’s western border is the Appalachian Ridge and Valley Region. In the far southwestern portion of Virginia lies the Appalachia Plateau.

The spot with the highest elevation in Virginia is a remnant of ancient volcanic eruptions. Mount Rogers in Grayson County, Virginia’s tallest mountain, reaches 1,746 meters (5,729 feet) above sea level.

mount rogers

Virginia has over 180 kilometers (112 miles) of coastline.

Named for the wide expanse of golden sand that stretches from just east of Norfolk, Virginia Beach is a very popular and often crowded resort town with the expected hotels, amusements, and a long boardwalk.

virgini beach

The state has 22 national parks and 23 state parks.

Shenandoah National Park is a national park that encompasses part of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. The park is long and narrow, with the broad Shenandoah River and Valley on the west side, and the rolling hills of the Virginia Piedmont on the east. Although the scenic Skyline Drive is likely the most prominent feature of the park, almost 40% of the land area 32,305 square kilometers (79,579 acres) has been designated as wilderness and is protected as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System.

shenandoah national park

Luray Caverns is a cave just west of Luray, Virginia, which has drawn many visitors since its discovery in 1878. The underground cavern system is generously adorned with speleothems such as columns, mud flows, stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone, and mirrored pools. The caverns are perhaps best known for the Great Stalacpipe Organ, a lithophone made from solenoid-fired strikers that tap stalactites of various sizes to produce tones similar to those of xylophones, tuning forks, or bells.

luray caverns

Spread across 245 hectares (600 acres) overlooking Washington, D.C., Arlington National Cemetery is where some of the most famous people in the United States are buried. The most visited are the grave of President John F. Kennedy and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

arlington national cemetery

Mount Vernon was the plantation of George Washington, the first President of the United States, and his wife, Martha Dandridge Custis Washington. The estate is situated on the banks of the Potomac River in Fairfax County, Virginia. The Washington family had owned land in the area since the time of Washington’s great-grandfather in 1674.

mount vernon

One of the finest country houses in the United States and one of the most visited presidential homes, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello is a Palladian-style mansion he designed himself, inspired by a villa outside Vicenza, Italy. He continued altering and improving it over a period of forty years, from 1768 to 1809.

monticello

Located near Interstate 64 about halfway between Richmond and Norfolk, approximately 240 kilometers (150 miles) south of Washington, D.C., Colonial Williamsburg is the largest living history museum in the United States. Spread across a 122 hectar (301-acre) Historic Area, this fascinating 18th-century restored city encompasses 88 original buildings and close to 500 reconstructed buildings, most on the original foundations, including hundreds of homes, shops, public buildings, and other structures. Authentically costumed professional interpreters, reenactors, and tradespeople interact with visitors, bringing the experience to life 365 days a year.

colonial williamsburg

The History of Virginia begins with documentation by the first Spanish explorers to reach the area in the 1500s, when it was occupied chiefly by Algonquian, Iroquoian, and Siouan peoples.

In 1607 the London Company established the Colony of Virginia as the first permanent New World English colony.

The state was one of the 13 Colonies in the American Revolution.

Virginia was admitted to the Union on June 25, 1788, as the 10th state.

virginia map

Over 1/2 the battles fought in the civil war were fought in Virginia. Over 2,200 of the 4,000 battles.

The name “Virginia” may have been suggested then by Raleigh or Elizabeth, perhaps noting her status as the “Virgin Queen,” and may also be related to a native phrase, “Wingandacoa,” or name, “Wingina.”

Virginia is nicknamed the “Old Dominion” due to its status as the first English colonial possession established in mainland North America and “Mother of Presidents” because eight U.S. presidents were born there, more than any other state.

Virginia is also known as “the birthplace of a nation.”

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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