19 Can't-Miss Facts About Virginia

Here are 20 fun facts about Virginia, officially known as the Commonwealth of Virginia:

  • It is nicknamed "Old Dominion" due to its status as the first colonial possession established in mainland British America.
  • It is also nicknamed "Mother of States" because eight U.S. presidents were born there, more than any other state. Among them were four of the first five commanders-in-chief: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe.
  • Six future first ladies were born in Virginia.
  • It is the 35th largest state by area, being divided into 95 counties and 38 independent cities.
  • Virginia has five major airports.
  • The state has five different climate regions: the Tidewater, Piedmont, Northern Virginia, Western Mountain, and Southwestern Mountain regions.
  • Forests cover over 60% of the state.
  • The first people are estimated to have arrived in Virginia over 12,000 years ago.
  • Virginia was named for Elizabeth I, England's "Virgin Queen." 
  • Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement in the American Continent. It was also the first capital of Virginia. In 1699, Virginia’s capital was moved from Jamestown to Williamsburg. Richmond became Virginia’s state capital in 1779 and remains so to this day.
  • Founded in 1693, The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg is the second oldest college in the United States (after Harvard). Williamsburg was also home to the first theater in America, built in 1716. 
  • Because the American Revolution ended with the surrender of British General Cornwallis in Yorktown,Virginia has also been dubbed "the birthplace of a nation."
  • The Pentagon building in Arlington, Virginia, is the biggest office building in the world.
  • Arlington County was originally part of the ten-mile square parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be part of Washington, DC. The U.S. Congress returned that portion of the land to the Commonwealth of Virginia after a referendum among its citizens.
  • Virginia seceded from the Union in 1861, and Richmond served as the capital of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, Further, more Civil War battles were fought in Virginia than in any other state.
  • The Virginia House of Burgesses was the first legislative assembly of elected representatives in North America.
  • Virginia remained the most populous state until California surpassed it in population in 1805. Interestingly, Virginia is the most populous U.S. state without a major professional sports league franchise.
  • The Virginia State Capitol, designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960, was designed by Thomas Jefferson, who was known to be a superb architect. 
  • Move over, Silicon Valley: Virginia has the highest concentration of technology workers of any state.
Are there any facts you can add to the list? Have you ever visited this fabulous state?  If no, would you do so in the future?

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