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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
 - 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 zone Eastern: 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

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.

West Virginia is not a part of Virginia, but a separate state (see also below).

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 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, an ill-defined area including, at least, all or parts of the states of Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio. 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, Virginia, 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. 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 elected African American governor of a US state when he started his governorship of Virginia.

Law and Government

The capital is Richmond. See: List of Virginia Governors


See: list of Virginia counties

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

Unlike any other state of the Union, under the laws in effect in Virginia, all municipalities incorporated as cities are independent of any county. More than one-third of the approximately 112 independent cities in the United States 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

  • Appalachian School of Law
  • Averett College
  • Bluefield College
  • Bridgewater College
  • Christendom College
  • Christopher Newport University
  • College of Health Sciences
  • College of William and Mary
  • Eastern Mennonite University
  • Eastern Virginia Medical School
  • Emory and Henry College
  • Ferrum College
  • George Mason University
  • George Washington University Virginia Campus
  • Hampden-Sydney College
  • Hampton University
  • Hollins University
  • Institute of Textile Technology
  • James Madison University
  • Liberty University
  • Longwood College
  • Lynchburg College
  • Marine Corps University
  • Mary Baldwin College
  • Marymount University

Professional Sports Teams

The Minor League Baseball Teams are:

  • Bluefield Orioles
  • Bristol White Sox
  • Danville Braves
  • Lynchburg Hillcats
  • Martinsville Astros

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