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Commonwealth of Virginia
State flag of Virginia State seal of Virginia
(Flag of Virginia) (Seal of Virginia)
State nickname: Old Dominion
Map of the U.S. with Virginia highlighted
Other U.S. States
Capital Richmond
Largest city Virginia Beach
Governor Mark R. Warner
Official languages


Area (rank) 110,862 km² (35th)
 - Land 102,642 km²
 - Water (%) 8,220 km² (7.4%)
Population as of 2000 Census
 - Population (rank) 7,196,750 (12th)
 - Density (rank) 69.03 /km² (14th)
Admittance into Union
 - Date (order) June 25, 1788 (10th)
Time zoneEastern: UTC-5/-4
Latitude36°31'N to 39°37'N
Longitude75°13'W to 83°37'W
Width : Length 320 km : 690 km
 - Highest 1,746 meters
 - Mean 290 meters
 - Lowest 0 meters
ISO 3166-2US-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 (8) 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, John Tyler, and Zachary Taylor round out the list of American Presidents from the Commonwealth of Virginia. (Historical footnote: both Harrison and Taylor died while in office.)



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 explored by the 1584 expedition of Sir Walter Raleigh along 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. It 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. Patrick Henry served as the first Governor of Virginia, from 1776-79, and again from 1784-86. 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 by Virginia was returned, 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.

Law and government

The capital is Richmond: the current Governor is Mark Warner, a Democrat.

In colonial Virginia, the lower house of the legislature was called the House of Burgesses. 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 (200,000 m²) of land in order to vote.

Today, the General Assembly is made up of the Senate and the House of Delegates.


Map of Virginia
Map of Virginia

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 'Eastern_Shore_of_Virginia" title ="Eastern Shore of Virginia">Eastern Shore of Virginia'Delmarva_Peninsula" title ="Delmarva Peninsula">Delmarva Peninsula, completely separate (an exclave) from the rest of the state.

Virginia is divided into the following 3 regions:
Tidewater - Stretching from the Atlantic coast to the fall line
Piedmont - East of the Appalachian Mountains to the Tidewater Region
Ridge and Valley - West of the Appalachian Mountains

Virginia - topographic map
Virginia - topographic map


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2003, Virginia's population was estimated at 7,386,330 people.

The racial makeup of the state is:

The 5 largest ancestry groups in Virginia are African American (19.6%), German (11.7%), American (11.2%), English (11.1%), Irish (9.8%).

The 5 largest religious denominations in Virginia are Baptist (32%), Roman Catholic (15%), Methodist (7%), "Christian" (7%), Presbyterian (3%). 13% of the population is nonreligious.

6.5% of Virginia's population were reported as under 5, 24.6% under 18, and 11.2% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 51% of the population.

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:

Miscellaneous information

USS Virginia was named in honor of this state.

Virginia is the last state to have split its electoral vote in a Presidential Election, in 1916.

Other places

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

External links

Regions of Virginia Flag of Virginia
Appomattox Basin | Baltimore-Washington Metro Area | Eastern Shore | Middle Peninsula | Northern Neck | Northern Virginia | Piedmont | Ridge-and-valley Appalachians | Richmond-Petersburg | South Hampton Roads | 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

Political divisions of the United States Flag of the United States
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Federal district District of Columbia
Insular areas American Samoa | Baker Island | Guam | Howland Island | Jarvis Island | Johnston Atoll | Kingman Reef | Midway Atoll | Navassa Island | Northern Mariana Islands | Palmyra Atoll | Puerto Rico | Virgin Islands | Wake Island

bg:Вирджиния da:Virginia de:Virginia eo:Virginio es:Virginia et:Virginia fr:Virginie ja:バージニア州 ks:वर्जिनिया nl:Virginia pl:Wirginia (stan w USA) sa:वर्जिनिया sr:Вирџинија fi:Virginia sv:Virginia, USA uk:Вірджинія zh:维吉尼亚州

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