Virginia, officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States located between the Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains. 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. The geography and climate of the Commonwealth are shaped by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay, which provide habitat for much of its flora and fauna. The capital of the Commonwealth is Richmond; Virginia Beach is the most populous city, and Fairfax County is the most populous political subdivision. The Commonwealth's estimated population as of 2017 is over 8.4 million.
The area's history begins with several indigenous groups, including the Powhatan. In 1607 the London Company established the Colony of Virginia as the first permanent New World English colony. Slave labor and the land acquired from displaced Native American tribes each played a significant role in the colony's early politics and plantation economy. Virginia was one of the 13 Colonies in the American Revolution. In the American Civil War, Virginia's Secession Convention resolved to join the Confederacy, and Virginia's First Wheeling Convention resolved to remain in the Union; that led to the creation of West Virginia. Although the Commonwealth was under one-party rule for nearly a century following Reconstruction, both major national parties are competitive in modern Virginia.
The Virginia General Assembly is the oldest continuous law-making body in the New World. The state government was ranked most effective by the Pew Center on the States in both 2005 and 2008. It is unique in how it treats cities and counties equally, manages local roads, and prohibits its governors from serving consecutive terms. Virginia's economy has many sectors: agriculture in the Shenandoah Valley; federal agencies in Northern Virginia, including the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); and military facilities in Hampton Roads, the site of the region's main seaport.
||June 25th, 1788
||Total: 42,774.2 sq mi (110,785.67 km2)
Width: 200 miles (320 km)
Length: 430 miles (690 km)
% Water: 7.4
||Mt. Rogers (5,729ft or 1,746m)
|State Quarter Issued
||October 16th, 2000
||Sic semper tyrannis (Thus always to tyrants)
||Old Dominion, Mother of Presidents, Mother of States
||276, 434, 540, 571, 703, 757, 804
||Virginia is the most populous U.S. state without a major professional sports league franchise. The reasons for this include the lack of any dominant city or market within the state, the proximity of teams in Washington, D.C. and North Carolina, and a reluctance to publicly finance stadiums. However, in recent years, the city of Virginia Beach has proposed a new arena designed to lure a major league franchise. Norfolk is host to two minor league teams: The AAA Norfolk Tides and the ECHL's Norfolk Admirals. The San Francisco Giants' AA team, the Richmond Flying Squirrels, began play at The Diamond in 2010, replacing the AAA Richmond Braves, who relocated after 2008. Additionally, the Washington Nationals, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees, and Toronto Blue Jays also have Single-A and Rookie-level farm teams in Virginia. The state is also home to United Soccer League club, the Richmond Kickers.
The Washington Redskins have Redskins Park, their headquarters, in Ashburn and their training facility is in Richmond, and the Washington Capitals train at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston. Virginia has many professional caliber golf courses including the Greg Norman course at Lansdowne Resort and Kingsmill Resort, home of the Kingsmill Championship, an LPGA Tour tournament. NASCAR currently schedules Sprint Cup races on two tracks in Virginia: Martinsville Speedway and Richmond International Raceway. Virginia natives currently competing in the series include Denny Hamlin and Elliott Sadler.
||What is the climate like in Virginia?
The climate of Virginia is humid subtropical and becomes increasingly warmer and more humid farther south and east. Seasonal extremes vary from average lows of 26 °F (-3 °C) in January to average highs of 86 °F (30 °C) in July. The Atlantic Ocean has a strong effect on eastern and southeastern coastal areas of the state. Influenced by the Gulf Stream, coastal weather is subject to hurricanes, most pronouncedly near the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. In spite of its position adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean, even the coastal areas have a significant continental influence with quite large temperature differences between summer and winter, particularly given the state climate's subtropical classification, which is typical of states in the Upper South.
Virginia has an annual average of 35-45 days of thunderstorm activity, particularly in the western part of the state, and an average annual precipitation of 42.7 inches (108 cm). Cold air masses arriving over the mountains in winter can lead to significant snowfalls, such as the Blizzard of 1996 and winter storms of 2009-2010. The interaction of these elements with the state's topography creates distinct microclimates in the Shenandoah Valley, the mountainous southwest, and the coastal plains. Virginia averages seven tornadoes annually, most F2 or lower on the Fujita scale.
What is agriculture like in Virginia?
As of 2007, agriculture occupied 32% of the land in Virginia and about 357,000 Virginian jobs were in agriculture, with over 47,000 farms, averaging 171 acres (0.27 sq mi; 0.69 km2), in a total farmland area of 8.1 million acres (12,656 sq mi; 32,780 km2). Though agriculture has declined significantly since 1960 when there were twice as many farms, it remains the largest single industry in Virginia. Tomatoes surpassed soy as the most profitable crop in Virginia in 2006, with peanuts and hay as other agricultural products. Although it is no longer the primary crop, Virginia is still the fifth-largest producer of tobacco nationwide.
Virginia is the largest producer of seafood on the East Coast, with scallops, oysters, blue crabs, and clams as the largest seafood harvests by value, and France, Canada, and Hong Kong as the top export destinations. Eastern oyster harvests have increased from 23,000 bushels in 2001 to over 500,000 in 2013. Wineries and vineyards in the Northern Neck and along the Blue Ridge Mountains also have begun to generate income and attract tourists. Virginia has the fifth-highest number of wineries in the nation.