Virginia is inspirational. Virginia was admitted to the Union of the United States of America on June 25, 1788. Virginia’s official name is the Commonwealth of Virginia. The state has four nicknames: Old Dominion, Mother of Presidents, Mother of States, and The Commonwealth. Old Dominion comes from the fact that it was the first colonial possession in mainland British America. Mother of Presidents comes from the fact that eight US Presidents were born in Virginia. The last two nicknames come from the state’s long history and status.
Virginia is in the South Atlantic region. To the north and east Virginia is bordered by Maryland and Washington, D.C. The Atlantic Ocean is to the east. The borders to the south are with North Carolina and Tennessee. Kentucky is to the west and West Virginia is to the north and west. The Potomac River borders Virginia to the north and east as well. Richmond is the state capital.
Virginia has a variety of geology and terrain. Many of the state’s rivers flow into the prominent Chesapeake Bay. The Tidewater area is a coastal plain. The Piedmont are foothills east of the mountains. The Southwest Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains are part of the Appalachian Mountains. The Ridge and Valley region is to the west of the mountains. Further in the southwest is the Cumberland Plateau and Cumberland Mountains.
Virginia has a subtropical climate with seasonal temperature changes. Thunderstorms occur yearly and significant snowfalls can occur during the winter. Forests cover 65% of the state, thus there is variation in flora and fauna. Freshwater fishing and saltwater fishing both offer variety. Virginia has 30 National Park Services units, 34 state parks, and 17 state forests.
People are thought to have arrived in the area over 12,000 years ago. Native American tribes had settlements 5,000 years ago. Algonquians had over 150 settlements by 1570. European expeditions explored the area during the 16th century. Jamestown was founded in May of 1607. More settlers and their servants arrived to farm tobacco. Indentured servants and African slaves were imported. France and Great British fought over the land. Virginia and other colonies began meeting in 1773. George Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights led to Thomas Jefferson drafting the Declaration of Independence. George Washington was selected to head the colonial army at the beginning of the American Revolutionary War. Virginians were key to the writing of the United States Constitution upon winning the war.
Slave labor was used in agriculture, mining, shipbuilding, and other industries. Virginia seceded and joined the Confederate States of America in 1861. Counties loyal to the Union formed West Virginia. Following the war Virginia was restored to the United States in 1870. Disenfranchisement and segregation became issues. Activists, lawsuits, and the Civil Rights Movement led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
National Defense government programs grew. The Central Intelligence Agency is in Langley, Virginia. Virginia has 95 counties and 38 independent cities. Local and federal government is a huge factor in its economy with farming and business. The service sector employs a third of Virginia’s working population. Tomatoes are the most profitable crop. Business includes the highest concentration of technology workers of any state.
The history of Virginia, its cuisine, roots in literature, fine and performing arts, county fairs and festivals, and sports all impact culture. The Virginia General Assembly is the oldest legislature in the Western Hemisphere. The state government has a legislative, executive, and judicial branch. Be inspired! Have a bright day!