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US State
NicknameOld Dominion; Mother of Presidents
MottoSic Semper Tyrannis (Latin)
Official languagesEnglish
Spoken languagesEnglish 94.6%, Spanish 5.9%
Largest cityVirginia Beach
Largest metro areaNorthern Virginia
Area Ranked35th
Total42774.2 sq mi 110785.67 km2
Width200 mi 320 km
Length430 mi 690 km
% water7.4
Pop. Rank12th
Density202.6 /sq mi 78 /km2
Median income$61,044 (8th)
Highest pointMount Rogers
5729 ft 1747 m
Mean950 ft 290 m
Lowest pointAtlantic Ocean
0 ft 0 m
Other information
Admission to UnionJune 25, 1788 (10th)
GovernorBob McDonnell (R)
Lieutenant GovernorBill Bolling (R)
LegislatureGeneral Assembly
Upper houseSenate
Lower houseHouse of Delegates
U.S. SenatorsJim Webb (D)
Mark Warner (D)
U.S. House delegation8 Republicans,
3 Democrats
Time zoneEastern: UTC−5/−4

     Home | State | Virginia

The Commonwealth of Virginia c-enaudio=en-us-Virginia.oggvərˈdʒɪnjə is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there. 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 the most populous political subdivision. The Commonwealth's population is over eight 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 and joined the Confederacy in the American Civil War, during which Richmond was made the Confederate capital and Virginia's northwestern counties separated to form the state of West Virginia. Although the Commonwealth was under conservative single party rule for nearly a century following Reconstruction, both major national parties are competitive in modern Virginia.

The Virginia General Assembly is the oldest legislature in the Americas. The state government has been repeatedly ranked most effective by the Pew Center on the States. 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 Department of Defense and CIA; and military facilities in Hampton Roads, the site of the region's main seaport. Virginia's public schools and many colleges and universities have contributed to growing media and technology sectors. As a result, computer chips have become the state's leading export.


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