Virginia is a southeastern state and one of the original 13 colonies. It stretches from the Chesapeake Bay to the Appalachian Mountains and borders the Atlantic Ocean.
It’s also one of the most historic states in the nation: home to many U.S. presidents, Civil War battlefields, and the oldest British settlement on North American soil.
The state features gorgeous beaches and mountains too, plus other popular natural wonders.
Population: 8.5 million
Nickname: Old Dominion
Key Cities: Richmond, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Arlington
Postal Abbreviation: VA
Major Industries: Agriculture, aerospace, mining, technology, military
How did Virginia get its name: The state of Virginia was named in honor of Queen Elizabeth I of England. The state’s name inspired many parents to name their daughters “Virginia.”
Date admitted to the Union: Wednesday, June 25, 1788
Size: 42,775 sq. miles
Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean at sea level
Highest point: Rogers at 5,729 ft.
Famous locations: Shenandoah National Park, Arlington National Cemetery, Mount Vernon, Monticello, Jamestown, Chincoteague and Assateague
Pharrell Williams- rap artist/singer/producer
Allen Iverson- basketball player
Arthur Ashe- tennis player
Rob Lowe- actor
George Washington– president
Gabby Douglas- Olympic gymnast
More U.S. presidents were born in Virginia than any other state, including four of our first five presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson.
Related: US President biographies
Virginia is sometimes called the “Mother of Presidents.”
Both the American Revolution and the Civil War ended in Virginia (the Revolution in Yorktown and the Civil War at the Appomattox Courthouse in Appomattox, Virginia).
In fact, more than half of Civil War battles were fought in Virginia.
The Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia is the world’s largest office building. It has seven floors and covers nearly 600 acres of land!
It also contains 68,000 miles of telephone lines, enough to stretch from Florida to Washington more than 22 times.
Virginia is sometimes called the “Internet Capital of the World” because it handles 70% of the world’s Internet traffic.
Two of Virginia’s most popular tourist attractions are president’s homes: George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.
Virginia claims to have had the first true Thanksgiving (sorry, Pilgrims). In Berkeley, Virginia on December 4, 1619, British settlers who had just arrived in the area called the day “a day of thanksgiving.”
This was two years before the other first Thanksgiving in Plymouth. Because the day was mostly focused on prayer and not feasting, it’s still debated which Thanksgiving was truly first.