Virginia

Virginia, officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions of the United States, between the Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains. 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 population in 2020 was over 8.65 million, with 36% of them living in the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area.

Virginia
Commonwealth of Virginia
Nickname(s): 
Old Dominion, Mother of Presidents
Motto(s): 
Sic semper tyrannis
(English: Thus Always to Tyrants)[1]
Anthem: "Our Great Virginia"
Map of the United States with Virginia highlighted
CountryUnited States
Before statehoodColony of Virginia
Admitted to the UnionJune 25, 1788 (10th)
CapitalRichmond
Largest cityVirginia Beach
Largest metro and urban areasWashington–Baltimore (combined)
Washington (metro and urban)
Government
  GovernorGlenn Youngkin (R)
  Lieutenant GovernorWinsome Sears (R)
LegislatureGeneral Assembly
  Upper houseSenate
  Lower houseHouse of Delegates
JudiciarySupreme Court of Virginia
U.S. senators
U.S. House delegation
  • 7 Democrats
  • 4 Republicans
(list)
Area
  Total42,774.2 sq mi (110,785.67 km2)
  Rank35th
Dimensions
  Length430 mi (690 km)
  Width200 mi (320 km)
Elevation
950 ft (290 m)
Highest elevation5,729 ft (1,746 m)
Lowest elevation0 ft (0 m)
Population
 (2020)
  Total8,654,542[3]
  Rank12th
  Density206.7/sq mi (79.8/km2)
   Rank14th
  Median household income
$71,535[4]
  Income rank
10th
Demonym(s)Virginian
Language
  Official languageEnglish
  Spoken language
  • English 86%
  • Spanish 6%
  • Other 8%
Time zoneUTC-05:00 (Eastern)
  Summer (DST)UTC-04:00 (EDT)
USPS abbreviation
VA
ISO 3166 codeUS-VA
Traditional abbreviationVa.
Latitude36° 32′ N to 39° 28′ N
Longitude75° 15′ W to 83° 41′ W
Websitewww.virginia.gov
Virginia state symbols
Living insignia
BirdCardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)
ButterflyTiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus)
Dog breedAmerican Foxhound (Canis familiaris)
FishBrook trout, striped bass
FlowerFlowering dogwood
InsectTiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus)
TreeFlowering dogwood
Inanimate insignia
BeverageMilk
DanceSquare dance
FossilChesapecten jeffersonius
RockNelsonite
ShellEastern oyster
Slogan"Virginia is for Lovers"
TartanVirginia Quadricentennial tartan
State route marker
State quarter
Released in 2000
Lists of United States state symbols

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 English colony in the New World. Virginia's state nickname, the Old Dominion, is a reference to this status. Slave labor and land acquired from displaced native tribes fueled the growing plantation economy, but also fueled conflicts both inside and outside the colony. As one of the original Thirteen Colonies, during the American Revolution, it became part of the United States in 1776. During the American Civil War, Virginia was split when the state government in Richmond joined the Confederacy, but many of the state's northwestern counties wanted to remain with the Union, helping form the state of West Virginia in 1863. Although the Commonwealth was under one-party rule for nearly a century following the Reconstruction era, both major political parties are competitive in modern Virginia.

Virginia's state legislature is the Virginia General Assembly, which was established in July 1619, making it the oldest current law-making body in North America. It is made up of a 40-member Senate and a 100-member House of Delegates. The state government is unique in how it treats cities and counties equally, manages local roads, and prohibits governors from serving consecutive terms. Virginia's economy has many sectors: agriculture in the Shenandoah Valley; high tech and federal agencies, including the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency, in Northern Virginia; and military facilities in Hampton Roads, the site of the region's main seaport.


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