15 Interesting Facts About Virginia

Did you know that Virginia was named after Queen Elizabeth I by Sir Walter Raleigh in the 16th century?

Virginia, also known as the “Old Dominion” and the “Mother of Presidents,” became the 10th state to join the United States on June 25, 1788. As of 2019, it has a population of 8,535,519 people, making it the 12th most populous state in the US.

Virginia is bordered by West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Maryland, and Kentucky, and has a total area of 42,774 square miles (110,786 square kilometers), making it the 35th largest state.

The capital of Virginia is Richmond, located on the banks of the James River in the eastern part of the state.

Now, let’s take a look at some interesting facts about Virginia!

Virginia has been inhabited for over 11,000 years!

The Paleo-Indians were the first wave of human settlement in North America, and they settled in the region now known as Virginia some 11,200 years ago. They were a group of hunter-gatherers who crossed a land bridge from modern-day Russia to Alaska during the last great ice age.

When sea levels were much lower, this land bridge connected what is now Russia and Alaska. The Paleo-Indians crossed this bridge as they hunted further and further from home.

There were three main groups of tribes living in Virginia when Europeans first arrived.

By the time Europeans arrived in Virginia, the tribes that lived there had developed into increasingly complex societies with their own unique languages and cultural views. The tribes generally fit into three different language groups: the Algonquian, the Iroquoian, and the Siouan.

The Siouan tribes lived primarily to the west, including the Manahoac and Monaghan people. Inland, towards both the north and south, lived many Iroquoian tribes, including the Meherrin and the Nottoway. Along the coastline were the Algonquian people, including more than 30 tribes who were united under Chief Powhatan. These Algonquian tribes all spoke a dialect known as Virginia Algonquian, which is also known as Powhatan.

The first Europeans to set foot in Virginia were Spanish.

When North America was discovered in the 15th century, many major European powers rushed to stake out their claim of the New World. The first recorded case of Europeans reaching what is now Virginia goes back to 1540, when a party of Spanish explorers crossed into the westernmost point of the region. Sent by the famed explorer and conquistador Hernando de Soto, the party passed through while following rumors of gold in the region. Spain sent a number of expeditions into modern-day Virginia within the following few decades.

In 1567, a group left Fort San Juan in North Carolina to attack a Native American village near Saltville. Meanwhile, an attempt to establish a colony in Chesapeake Bay in 1566 was a failure. Virginia became England’s first North American colony in 1606, with the Virginia Company leading the way. They sent three ships with 104 colonists to the New World and founded Jamestown in 1607. The first Africans who came to Virginia were indentured servants, not slaves, but soon many were unjustly enslaved. George Washington, one of the Founding Fathers of the US, was born in the Virginia Colony in 1732. Virginia was a key member of the Confederate States of America due to its strong reliance on slavery for its economy.

Abraham Lincoln won the presidential election in 1861 with a promise to abolish slavery, which led Virginia to secede from the Union and join the Confederate States of America. However, not all of Virginia was against abolition or secession. The western part of the state was largely opposed to secession and became the state of West Virginia. Richmond, the capital of Virginia, developed into a major industrial city and was the only one of its size in the Confederacy, so it became the new Confederate capital. Virginia was a key player in many major battles during the Civil War, with the Confederacy knowing that they had to hold Richmond to win. The state was named after Queen Elizabeth I, and its original territory was much larger than the current state, stretching from Maine to South Carolina. The name “Virginia” is believed to have been suggested by Sir Walter Raleigh or Queen Elizabeth herself, as a nod to King Wingina’s name and Elizabeth’s nickname, the Virgin Queen. Virginia is also known as the Mother of Presidents, as eight US presidents were born in the state, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe. The American Foxhound is Virginia’s official state dog, which was likely bred by George Washington himself. The largest naval base in the world, the Naval Station Norfolk, is located on the outskirts of Norfolk and takes up 4 miles of waterfront.

The Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia has a total of fourteen piers that can hold up to 75 ships. It even has its own airfield, Chambers Field, that can accommodate 134 aircraft in 11 hangars. The station sees up to 3,100 ship arrivals and departures in a year. Virginia is also home to the Pentagon, which is one of the largest office buildings in the world. The Pentagon, located in Arlington, Virginia, is not just an office building but also serves as the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense. It was built in 1943 and has an astonishing 6.5 million square feet of office space, 17.5 miles of corridors, and over 7,000 windows. Despite its massive size, it only takes seven minutes to walk from one point to another in the entire building! The first-ever Thanksgiving was celebrated in Virginia on December 4, 1619, a year and 17 days before the Pilgrims arrived in North America. This is often disputed by people from Massachusetts. The Margaret landed on the north bank of the James River in Chesapeake Bay, and the settlers thanked God for two years before their settlement was abandoned. The first US bank run by an African American woman was founded in Richmond, Virginia. Maggie Lena Walker, the daughter of a slave, opened the St. Luke Penny Savings bank to help her community. She became the first African American woman to charter a bank in the US. Finally, John Smith and Pocahontas were real people who lived in Virginia. John Smith was an English Captain and one of the early settlers in Jamestown. Pocahontas, whose real name was Amonute, had encounters with John Smith, which led to the popular legends and stories we know today.

In reality, the name Pocahontas was just a nickname that meant “ill-behaved child.” It’s a fitting name, considering that she was only around 11 or 12 years old when she met Smith. Despite what Disney portrays, it’s been discovered that Pocahontas didn’t fall in love with Smith and reject her people. Instead, she acted as a translator and intermediary between her tribe and the English. If you want to experience what the English first saw when they arrived in North America, Virginia is the perfect place to go. With its charming old-world feel, unique place names, and lush forests, Virginia is a beautiful place to visit. While Virginia has had its dark moments in history, it is a wonderful place to be today.

FAQ

1. What is the capital city of Virginia?

The capital city of Virginia is Richmond. It is located in the central part of the state and is the fourth most populous city in Virginia.

2. What is the state bird of Virginia?

The state bird of Virginia is the Northern Cardinal. It is a common bird found throughout the eastern United States and is known for its bright red plumage.

3. What is Virginia’s nickname?

Virginia’s nickname is the “Old Dominion.” The nickname was given to Virginia by King Charles II of England in recognition of the colony’s loyalty to the English crown during the English Civil War.

4. What is the state flower of Virginia?

The state flower of Virginia is the American Dogwood. It is a small tree that produces beautiful white or pink flowers in the springtime.

5. What is the tallest mountain in Virginia?

The tallest mountain in Virginia is Mount Rogers. It is located in the western part of the state and rises to an elevation of 5,729 feet.

6. What is the oldest continuously operating college in the United States?

The oldest continuously operating college in the United States is the College of William and Mary. It was founded in 1693 and is located in Williamsburg, Virginia.

7. What is the state tree of Virginia?

The state tree of Virginia is the Dogwood. It is a small tree with beautiful white or pink flowers in the springtime and is known for its hard, dense wood.

8. What is the state song of Virginia?

The state song of Virginia is “Carry Me Back to Old Virginia.” It was written in 1878 and is a nostalgic tribute to the state’s history and culture.

9. Who is the most famous Virginian?

There are many famous Virginians, but one of the most well-known is George Washington. He was born in Virginia and was the first President of the United States. He is also known for his leadership during the American Revolution and for his role in drafting the United States Constitution.

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