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Virginia, city, United States


city (1990 pop. 9,410), St. Louis co., NE Minn., on the Mesabi range; inc. 1892. In addition to its iron mines—both open-pit and underground—the city has foundries, lumbering, and food-processing and manufacturing plants. Dairy cattle and poultry are raised and oats and alfalfa are grown. Tourism is economically important, and many recreational and ski areas are nearby. The Minnesota Museum of Mining is there.

Virginia, state, United States

See also: National Parks and Monuments (table)National Parks and Monuments

National Parks
Name Type1 Location Year authorized Size
acres (hectares)
Acadia NP SE Maine 1919 48,419 (19,603) Mountain and coast scenery.
..... Click the link for more information.


state of the S Middle-Atlantic United States. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean (E), North Carolina and Tennessee (S), Kentucky and West Virginia (W), and Maryland and the District of Columbia, largely across the Potomac River (N and NE).

Facts and Figures

Area, 40,817 sq mi (105,716 sq km). Pop. (2010) 8,001,024, a 13% increase since the 2000 census. Capital, Richmond. Largest city, Virginia Beach. Statehood, June 25, 1788 (10th of the original 13 states to ratify the Constitution). Highest pt., Mt. Rogers, 5,729 ft (1,747 m); lowest pt., sea level. Nickname, Old Dominion. Motto, Sic Semper Tyrannis [Thus Always to Tyrants]. State bird, cardinal. State flower, dogwood. State tree, dogwood. Abbr., Va.; VA


The most northerly of the Southern states, Virginia is roughly triangular in shape. The small section of the state that, along with Maryland and Delaware, occupies the DelmarvaDelmarva
, peninsula, c.180 mi (290 km) long, separating Chesapeake Bay on the west from Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean on the east; named for the three states (Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia) located in part on it.
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 peninsula between Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean is separated from the main part of Virginia and is called the Eastern Shore. The coastal plain or tidewatertidewater,
in U.S. history, that part of the Atlantic coastal plain between the shoreline and the farthest upstream points in rivers reached by oceanic tides. In many cases the fall line is given as the western boundary.
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 region of E Virginia, generally flat and partly swampy, is cut by four great tidal rivers—the Potomac (forming most of the border with Maryland and beyond which also lies Washington, D.C.), the Rappahannock, the York, and the James—all of which empty into Chesapeake Bay. In the tidewater region stretch vast forests of pine and hardwood, highlighted in early spring by flowering redbud and dogwood.

In the west the tidewater region rises to c.300 ft. (90 m) at the fall line (passing through Richmond) and gives way to the Piedmont—rolling, generally fertile country that broadens gradually as it extends south to the North Carolina line. Rising abruptly in the western Piedmont is the Blue Ridge range, carpeted with bluegrass and ablaze in spring with rhododendron and mountain laurel; the Blue Ridge rises to the state's highest peak, Mt. Rogers (5,720 ft/1,743 m). Between the Blue Ridge and the Allegheny Plateau, both part of the Appalachian range, lies the valley and ridge province. One of the most prominent of these valleys is the Valley of Virginia; another is the rich and historic Shenandoah Valley.

Virginia's shores, mountains, mineral springs, natural wonders, and numerous historic sites draw millions of visitors annually. Crowning the hilltops and river bluffs from the Chesapeake region west to the Blue Ridge and adding to the grace and elegance of the Virginia landscape are the classic Greek revival homes and public buildings with their stately porticoes. Major tourist attractions include Shenandoah National ParkShenandoah National Park,
198,081 acres (80,195 hectares), N Va., extending 80 mi (129 km) along the crest of the Blue Ridge. Authorized in 1926, it was fully established as a national park in 1935. Skyline Drive, a north-south highway, winds for 105 mi (169 km) through the park.
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; Colonial Williamsburg; and Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial. Other historic points of interest include Appomattox Court House National Historical Park; Manassas and Richmond national battlefield parks; Booker T. Washington and George Washington Birthplace national monuments; Colonial National Historical Park and Jamestown National Historic Site, both on Jamestown Island; and several national cemeteries and battlefields (see National Parks and MonumentsNational Parks and Monuments

National Parks
Name Type1 Location Year authorized Size
acres (hectares)
Acadia NP SE Maine 1919 48,419 (19,603) Mountain and coast scenery.
..... Click the link for more information.
, table).


1 City (1990 pop. 87,425), Contra Costa co., W Calif., on San Pablo Bay, an inlet of San Francisco Bay; inc. 1905. It is a deepwater commercial port and an industrial center with oil refineries and railroad repair shops.
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 is the capital, and Virginia BeachVirginia Beach,
resort city (1990 pop. 393,069), independent and in no county, SE Va., on the Atlantic coast; inc. 1906. In 1963, Princess Anne co. and the former small town of Virginia Beach were merged, giving the present city an area of 302 sq mi (782 sq km).
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 the largest city; other large cities are NorfolkNorfolk

1 City (1990 pop. 21,476), Madison co., NE Nebr., on the Elkhorn River; inc. 1881. A trade and railroad center in a fertile farming region, it has a livestock market. Its industries produce animal feeds, food and beverages, and electronic products.
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; Newport NewsNewport News,
independent city (1990 pop. 170,045), SE Va., on the Virginia peninsula, at the mouth of the James River, off Hampton Roads, near Norfolk; inc. 1896. It is a port for transatlantic and intracoastal shipping; commodities handled include coal, oil, tobacco, grain,
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; ChesapeakeChesapeake
, city (1990 pop. 151,976), formed independently by the merging of the city of South Norfolk and Norfolk co., SE Va.; inc. 1963. Within its vast area are residential sections; much farmland, with related agricultural industries; and a large part of the Great Dismal
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; Hampton; PortsmouthPortsmouth.

1 City (1990 pop. 25,925), Rockingham co., SE N.H., a port of entry with a good harbor and a state-owned port terminal at the mouth of the Piscataqua River opposite Kittery, Maine; inc. 1653.
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; and AlexandriaAlexandria.

1 City (1990 pop. 49,188), seat of Rapides parish, central La., on the Red River; inc. 1818. It is a trade, rail, and medical center for a rich agricultural and timber area.
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 and ArlingtonArlington,
county (1990 pop. 170,936), N Va., across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. Arlington is a residential and commercial suburb of Washington. Within its boundaries are Arlington National Cemetery; Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial; the Pentagon; the U.S.
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 (officially a county), both suburbs of Washington, D.C.


Virginia has an economy that is highly diversified. Agriculture, once its mainstay, now follows other sectors in employment and income generation. Tobacco, Virginia's traditional staple, is still the leading crop, and grains, corn, soybeans, peanuts, sweet potatoes, cotton, and apples (especially in the Shenandoah Valley) are all important. Wine production is also important; but the major sources of agricultural income are now poultry, dairy goods, and cattle, raised especially in the Valley of Virginia. The coastal fisheries are large, bringing in especially shellfish—largely oysters and crabs.

Coal is Virginia's chief mineral; stone, cement, sand, and gravel are also important. RoanokeRoanoke
, city (1990 pop. 96,397), independent and in no co., SW Va., on the Roanoke River; settled c.1740, inc. 1882, as a city, 1884. It is situated between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mts., at the southern end of the Shenandoah valley.
..... Click the link for more information.
 is a center for the rail transport equipment industry, and a high proportion of the nation's shipyards are concentrated at Hampton RoadsHampton Roads,
roadstead, 4 mi (6.4 km) long and 40 ft (12.2 m) deep, SE Va., through which the waters of the James, Nansemond, and Elizabeth rivers pass into Chesapeake Bay.
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, especially in Newport NewsNewport News,
independent city (1990 pop. 170,045), SE Va., on the Virginia peninsula, at the mouth of the James River, off Hampton Roads, near Norfolk; inc. 1896. It is a port for transatlantic and intracoastal shipping; commodities handled include coal, oil, tobacco, grain,
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. Norfolk is a major U.S. naval base, and Portsmouth is a U.S. naval shipyard; HamptonHampton,
city (1990 pop. 133,793), independent and in no county, SE Va., a port of Hampton Roads at the mouth of the James River, connected to Norfolk by bridge and tunnel; settled 1610 by colonists from Jamestown, inc. 1849.
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 is a center for aeronautical research. N Virginia has become the home of one of the largest concentrations of computer communications firms in the U.S. Other leading industries include tourism and the manufacture of chemicals, electrical equipment, and food, textile, and paper products. Tens of thousands of Virginians work in government, especially in the District of Columbia or in nearby "Beltway" suburbs like Reston and Langley.

Government, Politics, and Higher Education

Virginia is officially styled a commonwealth. The Virginia constitution was revised extensively in the late 1960s. The legislature (called the general assembly) consists of a house of delegates of 100 members and a senate with 40 members. The governor serves a four-year term and is ineligible for reelection. Mark R. Warner, a Democrat, was elected in 2001; he succeeded James S. Gilmore 3d, a Republican. Warner's lieutenant governor, Democrat Timothy M. Kaine, was elected governor in 2005. Republicans regained the governorship after Robert F. McDonnell was elected in 2009, but Democrat Terry McAuliffe won in 2013. Virginia sends 11 representatives and 2 senators to the U.S. Congress and has 13 electoral votes. Long a Democratic stronghold, the commonwealth now has highly competitive two-party politics.

Among Virginia's many institutions of higher learning are the College of William and Mary in Virginia, mainly at Williamsburg; George Mason Univ., at Fairfax; Hampton Univ. (formerly Hampton Institute), at Hampton; Mary Washington College, at Fredericksburg; Randolph College, at Lynchburg; Randolph-Macon College, at Ashland; Sweet Briar College, at Sweet Briar; the Univ. of Virginia, mainly at Charlottesville; Virginia Commonwealth Univ., at Richmond; Virginia Military Institute and Washington and Lee Univ., at Lexington; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ., at Blacksburg; and Virginia State College, at Petersburg.


Early Settlements of the Virginia Company

Virginia (named for Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen) at first included in its lands the whole vast area of North America not held by the Spanish or French. The colony on Roanoke IslandRoanoke Island,
12 mi (19 km) long and 3 mi (4.8 km) wide, NE N.C., off the Atlantic coast between Croatan (W) and Roanoke (E) sounds in the Outer Banks. Manteo is the chief town, and tourism and fishing are the principal industries.
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, organized by Sir Walter RaleighRaleigh or Ralegh, Sir Walter
, 1554?–1618, English soldier, explorer, courtier, and man of letters. Early Life

As a youth Raleigh served (1569) as a volunteer in the Huguenot army in France.
..... Click the link for more information.
, failed, but the English soon made another attempt slightly farther north. In 1606 James I granted a charter to the London CompanyLondon Company,
corporation composed of stockholders residing in and about London, which, together with the Plymouth Company (see Virginia Company), was granted (1606) a charter by King James I to found colonies in America.
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 (better known later as the Virginia Company), a group of merchants lured by the thought of easy profits in mining and trade. The company sent three ships and 144 men under captains Christopher NewportNewport, Christopher,
1565?–1617, English mariner, commander of early voyages to Virginia. He commanded a privateering expedition to the West Indies (1592) that returned to England with the Spanish vessel Madre de Dios,
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, Bartholomew GosnoldGosnold, Bartholomew
, fl. 1572–1607, English explorer and colonizer. In 1602 he commanded the Concord on a voyage of exploration. He navigated the coast from Maine to Narragansett Bay, naming Cape Cod and several islands and building a small fort on Cuttyhunk,
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, and John Ratcliffe to establish a base, and the tiny force entered Chesapeake Bay in Apr., 1607. On a peninsula in the James River they founded (May 13, 1607) the first permanent English settlement in America, which they called JamestownJamestown.

1 City (1990 pop. 34,681), Chautauqua co., W N.Y., on Chautauqua Lake; founded c.1806, inc. as a city 1886. It is the business and financial center of a dairy, livestock, and vineyard area.
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. It soon became clear that the company's original plans were unrealistic, and the Jamestown settlers began a long and unexpected struggle to live off the land.

By 1608, despite the firm and resourceful leadership of John SmithSmith, John,
c.1580–1631, English colonist in America, b. Willoughby, Lincolnshire, England. A merchant's apprentice until his father's death in 1596, he thereafter lived an adventurous life, traveling, fighting in wars against the Turks in Transylvania and Hungary, and
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, hunger and disease had reduced their numbers to 38. The company responded by sending supplies and men as well as new leadership in the person of Sir Thomas GatesGates, Sir Thomas,
fl. 1585–1621, English colonial governor of Virginia. He was knighted for his services under the 2d earl of Essex in the successful expedition against Cádiz in 1596.
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, who was to take charge as deputy governor under the authority of a new charter (1609). Gates arrived in 1610 to find that only a handful of settlers had survived the terrible winter (the "starving time") of 1609–10. He decided to take them back to England, but as they were about to abandon the colony in June, 1610, his superior, Governor Thomas West, Baron De la WarrDe la Warr, Thomas West, 12th Baron
, 1577–1618, English colonial governor of Virginia. He saw fighting in the Netherlands and was knighted when serving in Ireland. He succeeded to the peerage in 1602.
..... Click the link for more information.
, ordered them to reoccupy Jamestown. Although sickness and starvation continued to take a heavy toll, the settlement at last began to make headway under the harsh regimes of Sir Thomas DaleDale, Sir Thomas,
d.1619, acting governor (May–Aug., 1611, 1614–16) of the Virginia colony. Sent by the London Company to restore order, he arrived (1611) in Virginia with three ships of settlers and governed until another fleet under Sir Thomas Gates arrived four
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, De la Warr's successor in 1611, and later under that of Sir Samuel ArgallArgall, Sir Samuel
, d. 1626?, English ship captain, prominent in the early settlement of Virginia. He commanded a ship sent to Jamestown in 1609 and had charge of one of the ships Baron De la Warr brought to the failing colony in 1610.
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Tobacco, first cultivated by John RolfeRolfe, John
, 1585–1622, English colonist in Virginia. He reached the colony in May, 1610, and introduced (1612) the regular cultivation of tobacco, which became Virginia's staple.
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 in 1612, gave the company new hope of a profitable return on its investment. To encourage settlement and improve agricultural productivity it granted colonists (still technically employees and shareholders) the right to own private gardens, then, at the urging of Sir Edwin SandysSandys, Sir Edwin,
1561–1629, English statesman, leading promoter of the colony in Virginia; son of Archbishop Edwin Sandys. He studied law and was first returned to Parliament in 1586.
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, promised to give 100 acres (40 hectares) of its land to purchasers of stock and 50 acres (20 hectares) to settlers who brought over other settlers at his own expense (the "head-right" system). The company also set up smaller joint-stock companies to settle vast tracts known as "colonies" or "hundreds." In 1619, at the instruction of the company, Governor George YeardleyYeardley, Sir George
, c.1587–1627, British colonial governor of Virginia (1618–21, 1626–27). He was shipwrecked (1609) in the Bermudas but managed to reach Virginia in 1610.
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 provided additional incentives to settlers by forming a house of burgesses—the first representative assembly in the New World—and in 1620 by beginning to send women to the colony.

Although these various expedients did succeed in attracting new settlers and strengthening the colony, the company itself failed to prosper. Rolfe's marriage (1614) to PocahontasPocahontas
, c.1595–1617, Native North American woman, daughter of Chief Powhatan. Pocahontas, meaning "playful one" (her real name was said to be Matoaka), used to visit the English in Virginia at Jamestown.
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, daughter of chief PowhatanPowhatan
, d. 1618, Native North American chief of the Powhatan tribe in Virginia, whose personal name was Wahunsonacock. He greatly extended the dominion of the Powhatan Confederacy and after the marriage (1614) of his daughter Pocahontas to John Rolfe kept peace with the
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, secured good relations with the Native Americans for a time, but in 1622 Powhatan's son Opechancanough led the Powhatan ConfederacyPowhatan Confederacy,
group of Native North Americans belonging to the Algonquian branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). Their area embraced most of tidewater Virginia and the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay.
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 in a surprise attack on the colony, killing 350 settlers (about one third of the total community). English retaliation effectively ended Native American resistance, except for a final uprising of the Confederacy in 1644. However, the 1622 attack had delivered a fatal blow to the company, and in 1624, beset by internal dissension, it surrendered its charter to the crown.

A Royal Colony

After almost two decades as a private enterprise, Virginia became a royal colony, the first in English history. Partly because the English kings were occupied with affairs at home, the Virginia house of burgesses was able to continue its functions and won formal recognition in the late 1630s. Thus representative government under royal domain was assured. By 1641, when Sir William BerkeleyBerkeley, Sir William,
1606–77, colonial governor of Virginia. Appointed governor in 1641, he arrived in Virginia in 1642. Berkeley defeated the Native Americans and the Dutch, extended explorations, and encouraged agriculture, but so persecuted dissenters that many of
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 became governor, the colony was well established and extended on both sides of the James up to its falls.

Three fourths of the European settlers (about 7,500 in 1641) had come as indentured servants or apprentices, but many of them became freemen and small farmers. In 1641 there were also about 250 Africans (the first had arrived in 1619 on a Dutch ship), most of whom were indentured servants rather than slaves. The freeholders, together with the merchant class (from which were descended most of the "first families of Virginia"), controlled the government. Only white males were enfranchised, and property-owning qualifications for voting continued during and after the colonial period.

Most of the white settlers were Anglicans, and during the civil war in England, many well-to-do Englishmen (mainly Anglicans and supporters of Charles I, if not actually Cavaliers) came to Virginia. The colony was understandably loyal to the crown until 1652, when an expedition sent by Oliver Cromwell forced it to adhere to the Puritan Commonwealth. With the Commonwealth busy at home, Virginia was practically independent until 1660, engaging in free trade with foreigners, especially the Dutch, and enjoying the profits of the expanding tobacco and fur trade. This prosperous era came to an end with the Restoration in 1660.

The Navigation ActsNavigation Acts,
in English history, name given to certain parliamentary legislation, more properly called the British Acts of Trade. The acts were an outgrowth of mercantilism, and followed principles laid down by Tudor and early Stuart trade regulations.
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 forced the tobacco trade to use only English ships and English ports, which were at first insufficient to handle it; tobacco piled up in Virginia and in England, and prices plummeted. The wealthy planters weathered this depression, but the small farmers faced ruin. Serious discontent spread and was aggravated by Governor Berkeley's high-handed policies, by his favoritism toward the wealthy tidewater planters, and by his refusal to sanction a campaign against the Native Americans who had been attacking frontier settlements. These grievances brought the eruption of Bacon's RebellionBacon's Rebellion,
popular revolt in colonial Virginia in 1676, led by Nathaniel Bacon. High taxes, low prices for tobacco, and resentment against special privileges given those close to the governor, Sir William Berkeley, provided the background for the uprising, which was
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 in 1676. The unfortunate death of Nathaniel BaconBacon, Nathaniel,
1647–76, leader of Bacon's Rebellion in colonial Virginia. An aristocrat (he was kin to Francis Bacon, had been educated at Cambridge and Gray's Inn, and was a member of the governor's council), Bacon nevertheless became the champion of the discontented
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 left the yeomen leaderless, and they were put down so ruthlessly that Berkeley was recalled to England.

Tidewater Plantations and Westward Migration

Expansion of the plantation system was made possible only with the use of slave labor (first recognized in law in 1662), and tens of thousands of Africans were being imported every year by the end of the century. Small, independent cultivators, unable to compete with the plantation-slave system, formed the nucleus of a poor white class that drifted southward or pioneered to the west. Also contributing to westward settlement were the French Huguenots, who came to Virginia by the end of the 17th cent. and began to settle the Piedmont.

Westward movement was stimulated under Gov. Alexander SpotswoodSpotswood, Alexander,
1676–1740, colonial governor of Virginia, b. Tangier, Morocco. Appointed in 1710, he was officially lieutenant governor under the nominal governorship of George Hamilton, 1st earl of Orkney.
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, who himself discovered (1716) the Swift Run Gap in the Blue Ridge Mts., leading into the Shenandoah valley. Spotswood also imported (1714–17) Germans to work his iron furnaces in the Piedmont area, and numerous others followed their countrymen. They helped settle the Shenandoah valley (beginning c.1730) as did many newcomers from Pennsylvania—German Lutherans, English Quakers, Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, and a lesser number of Welsh Baptists.

Soil exhaustion from continuous tobacco cultivation hastened the westward march, as did the settlement activities of land speculators like Spotswood and William ByrdByrd, William,
1674–1744, American colonial writer, planter, and government official; son of William Byrd (1652–1704). After being educated in England, he became active in the politics of colonial America.
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 (d. 1744). Many of these speculators were indebted eastern planters attempting to salvage their fortunes. The Ohio CompanyOhio Company,
organization formed (1747) to extend settlements of Virginia westward. The members were mostly Virginia planters interested in land speculation and the fur trade.
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 grant (1749) furthered exploration beyond the Allegheny Mts. but brought conflict with the French.

The activities and interests of the new frontier settlements contrasted sharply with the plantation life of the tidewater region, where the lavish material life of the planter aristocracy was complemented by high cultural accomplishments and by the spread of the ideas of the Enlightenment. The last of the French and Indian WarsFrench and Indian Wars,
1689–1763, the name given by American historians to the North American colonial wars between Great Britain and France in the late 17th and the 18th cent.
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, in which Virginians—notably Col. George WashingtonWashington, George,
1732–99, 1st President of the United States (1789–97), commander in chief of the Continental army in the American Revolution, called the Father of His Country. Early Life

He was born on Feb. 22, 1732 (Feb. 11, 1731, O.S.
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—were prominent, ended the French obstacle to westward migration. After the war many indebted planters were disturbed by England's own limitations on westward settlement.

The American Revolution

Along with Massachusetts, Virginia was a leader in the movement that culminated in the American RevolutionAmerican Revolution,
1775–83, struggle by which the Thirteen Colonies on the Atlantic seaboard of North America won independence from Great Britain and became the United States. It is also called the American War of Independence.
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 although, despite the burning oratory of Patrick HenryHenry, Patrick,
1736–99, political leader in the American Revolution, b. Hanover co., Va. Largely self-educated, he became a prominent trial lawyer. Henry bitterly denounced (1765) the Stamp Act and in the years that followed helped fan the fires of revolt in the South.
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 and the enlightened political writings of Thomas JeffersonJefferson, Thomas,
1743–1826, 3d President of the United States (1801–9), author of the Declaration of Independence, and apostle of agrarian democracy. Early Life

Jefferson was born on Apr. 13, 1743, at "Shadwell," in Goochland (now in Albemarle) co.
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 and other brilliant native spokesmen, Virginia was never as politically discontent or radical as Massachusetts. In 1773 the burgesses at WilliamsburgWilliamsburg,
historic city (1990 pop. 11,530), seat of James City co., SE Va., on a peninsula between the James and York rivers; settled 1632 as Middle Plantation, laid out and renamed 1699, inc. 1722.
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 (the capital since 1699), led by Richard Henry LeeLee, Richard Henry,
1732–94, political leader in the American Revolution, b. Westmoreland co., Va.; brother of Arthur Lee, Francis L. Lee, and William Lee. He served in the house of burgesses (1758–75), where he favored ending the slave trade.
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, formed an intercolonial committee of correspondence. The Virginia leaders proposed (May, 1774) a congress of all the colonies, delegates were chosen at the First Virginia Convention (Aug.), and in September Virginia's Peyton RandolphRandolph, Peyton,
c.1721–1775, American political leader, first president of the Continental Congress, b. Williamsburg, Va. After a general education at the College of William and Mary, he studied law in England.
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 was elected president of the First Continental Congress. The next year, in June, George Washington was made commander in chief of the Continental Army.

After the patriots forced the royal governor, John Murray, earl of DunmoreDunmore, John Murray, 4th earl of,
1732–1809, British colonial governor of Virginia, a Scottish peer. Appointed governor of New York in 1770, he remained there for about 11 months before being transferred to
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, to flee, the Fifth Virginia Convention (May 6–June 29, 1776) declared the colony's independence, instructed the Virginia delegates to the Continental Congress to propose general colonial independence (resulting in the Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson), and adopted a declaration of rights and the first constitution of a free American state, both drawn up by George MasonMason, George,
1725–92, American political leader, b. Fairfax co., Va. He was one of the most affluent of the colonial Virginia planters. In his triple capacity as trustee of Alexandria (1754–79), justice of the Fairfax county court, and vestryman of Truro parish,
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. Patrick Henry was elected the first governor.

Although the British had burned Norfolk in Jan., 1776, they did not invade the state in full force until 1779, when they took Portsmouth and Suffolk. Continentals under Lafayette came to Virginia in 1780, and the British cause was lost as American land forces and a French fleet combined to bring about Cornwallis's surrender (Oct. 19, 1781) in the Yorktown campaignYorktown campaign,
1781, the closing military operations of the American Revolution. After his unsuccessful Carolina campaign General Cornwallis moved into Virginia to join British forces there.
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. Meanwhile, George Rogers ClarkClark, George Rogers,
1752–1818, American Revolutionary general, conqueror of the Old Northwest, b. near Charlottesville, Va.; brother of William Clark. A surveyor, he was interested in Western lands, served (1774) in Lord Dunmore's War (see Dunmore, John Murray, 4th earl
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 and his Virginians had wrested (1779) the Northwest Territory from the British, and in 1784 Virginia yielded its claim to this area to the federal government.

Virginia's Role in the New Nation

During the Revolution a degree of religious freedom had been instituted in Virginia under the lead of Jefferson. Other reforms had removed entail and primogeniture from land tenure, liberalized the legal code, and abolished further importation of slaves. A liberal law for formal emancipation of slaves was passed in 1782 and remained in force for more than 20 years. In 1786 a statute for religious freedom, championed by James MadisonMadison, James,
1751–1836, 4th President of the United States (1809–17), b. Port Conway, Va. Early Career

A member of the Virginia planter class, he attended the College of New Jersey (now Princeton), graduating in 1771.
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, completed the disestablishment of the Anglican Church and established complete religious equality for all Virginians.

In replacing the unsatisfactory Articles of Confederation with the Constitution of the United States, Virginians, especially James Madison, again played leading roles. Other leaders such as Patrick Henry, Edmund PendletonPendleton, Edmund,
1721–1803, American jurist and political leader in the American Revolution, b. Caroline co., Va. He began law practice in 1741 and was elected (1752) to the Virginia house of burgesses, where, although a leading conservative, he became an outstanding
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, and Edmund RandolphRandolph, Edmund,
1753–1813, American statesman, b. Williamsburg, Va.; nephew of Peyton Randolph. He studied law under his father, John Randolph, a Loyalist who went to England at the outbreak of the American Revolution.
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 at various times opposed the document, but the state ratified it (June 26, 1788) with both tidewater and western support. Later, another Virginian, Chief Justice John MarshallMarshall, John,
1755–1835, American jurist, 4th chief justice of the United States (1801–35), b. Virginia. Early Life

The eldest of 15 children, John Marshall was born in a log cabin on the Virginia frontier (today in Fauquier co., Va.
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, later gave the document much of its strength. The Old Dominion ceded (1789) a portion of its Potomac lands to the United States for the creation of the District of Columbia. In 1792, Kentucky, a Virginia county since 1776, was admitted to the Union as a separate state. After Madison and Jefferson raised an opposition to the financial program of Treasury Secretary Alexander HamiltonHamilton, Alexander,
1755–1804, American statesman, b. Nevis, in the West Indies. Early Career

He was the illegitimate son of James Hamilton (of a prominent Scottish family) and Rachel Faucett Lavien (daughter of a doctor-planter on Nevis and the estranged
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, Virginia supported the emerging Democratic-Republican party's struggle against the Federalists and became a hotbed of states' rights sentiment (see Kentucky and Virginia ResolutionsKentucky and Virginia Resolutions,
in U.S. history, resolutions passed in opposition to the Alien and Sedition Acts, which were enacted by the Federalists in 1798. The Jeffersonian Republicans first replied in the Kentucky Resolutions, adopted by the Kentucky legislature in Nov.
..... Click the link for more information.

Of the first 12 Presidents of the United States, seven were Virginians—Washington, Jefferson, Madison, James MonroeMonroe, James,
1758–1831, 5th President of the United States (1817–25), b. Westmoreland co., Va. Early Life

Leaving the College of William and Mary in 1776 to fight in the American Revolution, he served in several campaigns and was wounded (Dec.
..... Click the link for more information.
 (these four comprising the "Virginia Dynasty"), William Henry HarrisonHarrison, William Henry,
1773–1841, 9th President of the United States (Mar. 4–Apr. 4, 1841), b. "Berkeley," Charles City co., Va.; son of Benjamin Harrison (1726?–1791) and grandfather of Benjamin Harrison (1833–1901).
..... Click the link for more information.
, John TylerTyler, John,
1790–1862, 10th President of the United States, b. Charles City co., Va. Early Career

Educated at the College of William and Mary, he studied law under his father, John Tyler (1747–1813), governor of Virginia from 1808 to 1811, and was
..... Click the link for more information.
, and Zachary TaylorTaylor, Zachary
, 1784–1850, 12th President of the United States (1849–50), b. Orange co., Va. He was raised in Kentucky. Taylor joined the army in 1808, became a captain in 1810, and was promoted to major for his defense of Fort Harrison (1812) in the War of 1812.
..... Click the link for more information.
. Later, in the 20th cent., the name of Woodrow WilsonWilson, Woodrow
(Thomas Woodrow Wilson), 1856–1924, 28th President of the United States (1913–21), b. Staunton, Va. Educator

He graduated from Princeton in 1879 and studied law at the Univ. of Virginia.
..... Click the link for more information.
 was to further lengthen the generally distinguished list of Virginian presidents.

The native sons who led the country during the 1800s sometimes expanded national power and national development to an extent that many states' rights Virginians deemed unconstitutional. However, Virginia itself, stimulated by western complaints, embarked on a vigorous policy of internal improvements in the second and third decades of the 19th cent. The tidewater majority made few concessions to western demands for male suffrage and other reforms in the constitution of 1830. Economically, however, the whole state benefited from transportation improvements, from the growth of scientific agriculture and the spread of wheat cultivation, and from the growth of such industries as tobacco processing and iron manufacture.

Slavery, Insurrection, and Civil War

As the cotton economy grew in the newer Southern states the tidewater became a breeding ground for the slaves they needed. Elsewhere in the state, especially in the west, antislavery sentiment was strong in the early 19th cent., and following the slave insurrection (1831) led by Nat TurnerTurner, Nat,
1800–1831, American slave, leader of the Southampton Insurrection (1831), b. Southampton co., Va. Deeply religious from childhood, Turner was a natural preacher and possessed some influence among local slaves.
..... Click the link for more information.
 the house of delegates voted down a bill to abolish slavery by the narrow margin of seven votes. The insurrection did result in harsher laws and more conservative policies regarding African Americans. The constitution of 1851, granted suffrage to "every white male citizen," and thus effected reapportionment of representation.

For the most part Virginians labored to avert conflict between North and South. But "fire-eaters" such as Edmund RuffinRuffin, Edmund
, 1794–1865, American agriculturist, one of the Southern fire-eaters, b. Prince George co., Va. His interest in improving impoverished land led him to become a pioneer in soil chemistry.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and abolitionists such as John BrownBrown, John,
1800–1859, American abolitionist, b. Torrington, Conn. He spent his boyhood in Ohio. Before he became prominent in the 1850s, his life had been a succession of business failures in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New York.
..... Click the link for more information.
 of Harpers FerryHarpers Ferry,
town (1990 pop. 308), Jefferson co., easternmost W Va., at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers; inc. 1763. The town is a tourist attraction, known for its history and its scenic beauty. John Brown's seizure of the U.S. arsenal there on Oct.
..... Click the link for more information.
 fame, shaped the course that led to the Civil War. Secession came (Apr. 17, 1861) only after all attempts to keep peace had failed. Virginia joined the Confederacy, and Richmond became the Confederate capital. Robert E. LeeLee, Robert Edward,
1807–70, general in chief of the Confederate armies in the American Civil War, b. Jan. 19, 1807, at Stratford, Westmoreland co., Va.; son of Henry ("Light-Horse Harry") Lee.
..... Click the link for more information.
 entered the military service of the South's new government, but not a few Virginians such as Winfield ScottScott, Winfield,
1786–1866, American general, b. near Petersburg, Va. Military Career

He briefly attended the College of William and Mary, studied law at Petersburg, and joined the military.
..... Click the link for more information.
, George H. ThomasThomas, George Henry,
1816–70, Union general in the American Civil War, b. Southampton co., Va. He served in the Seminole War and in the Mexican War. Later he taught at West Point and served in Texas.
..... Click the link for more information.
, and David G. FarragutFarragut, David Glasgow
, 1801–70, American admiral, b. near Knoxville, Tenn. Appointed a midshipman in 1810, he first served on the frigate Essex, commanded by David Porter, his self-appointed guardian, and participated in that ship's famous cruise in the Pacific
..... Click the link for more information.
 remained loyal to the Union. Most Virginians who lived west of the Appalachians also opposed secession, and on June 20, 1863, this section was admitted to the Union as the new state of West Virginia. As the conflict progressed, Virginia emerged as the chief battleground of the Civil War.

In the beginning the Union armies repeatedly suffered setbacks—at the first battle of Bull RunBull Run,
small stream, NE Va., c.30 mi (50 km) SW of Washington, D.C. Two important battles of the Civil War were fought there: the first on July 21, 1861, and the second Aug. 29–30, 1862. Both battlefields are included in Manassas National Battlefield Park (est. 1940).
..... Click the link for more information.
 (July 21, 1861), in the Seven Days battlesSeven Days battles,
in the American Civil War, the week-long Confederate counter-offensive (June 26–July 2, 1862) near Richmond, Va., that ended the Peninsular campaign. After the battle of Fair Oaks the Union general George B.
..... Click the link for more information.
 of the Peninsular campaignPeninsular campaign,
in the American Civil War, the unsuccessful Union attempt (Apr.–July, 1862) to capture Richmond, Va., by way of the peninsula between the York and James rivers. The Plan

Early in 1862, Gen. George B.
..... Click the link for more information.
 (April-July, 1862) after the Monitor and MerrimackMonitor and Merrimack,
two American warships that fought the first engagement between ironclad ships. When, at the beginning of the Civil War, the Union forces abandoned the Norfolk Navy Yard at Portsmouth, Va., they scuttled the powerful steam frigate Merrimack.
..... Click the link for more information.
 had clashed in Hampton Roads, and in lesser but related campaigns such as the triumph of Thomas J. (Stonewall) JacksonJackson, Stonewall
(Thomas Jonathan Jackson), 1824–63, Confederate general, b. Clarksburg, Va. (now W.Va.), grad. West Point, 1846. Like a Stone Wall
..... Click the link for more information.
 in the Shenandoah valley. The second battle of Bull Run (Aug., 1862) was a smashing victory for Lee, but in the Antietam campaignAntietam campaign
, Sept., 1862, of the Civil War. After the second battle of Bull Run, Gen. Robert E. Lee crossed the Potomac to invade Maryland and Pennsylvania. At Frederick, Md., he divided (Sept.
..... Click the link for more information.
 (Sept., 1862) he fared no better than Union Gen. George B. McClellanMcClellan, George Brinton,
1826–85, Union general in the American Civil War, b. Philadelphia. After graduating (1846) from West Point, he served with distinction in the Mexican War and later worked on various engineering projects, notably on the survey (1853–54) for
..... Click the link for more information.
 in invading enemy country. However, in the battles of FredericksburgFredericksburg, battle of,
in the Civil War, fought Dec. 13, 1862, at Fredericksburg, Va. In Nov., 1862, the Union general Ambrose Burnside moved his three "grand divisions" under W. B. Franklin, E. V.
..... Click the link for more information.
 (Dec. 13, 1862) and ChancellorsvilleChancellorsville, battle of,
May 2–4, 1863, in the American Civil War. Late in Apr., 1863, Joseph Hooker, commanding the Union Army of the Potomac, moved against Robert E.
..... Click the link for more information.
 (May 2–4, 1863), the Federals under Gen. Ambrose E. BurnsideBurnside, Ambrose Everett,
1824–81, Union general in the U.S. Civil War, b. Liberty, Ind. He saw brief service in the Mexican War and remained in the army until 1853, when he entered business in Rhode Island.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and then under Gen. Joseph HookerHooker, Joseph,
1814–79, Union general in the American Civil War, b. Hadley, Mass. After fighting the Seminole and serving in the Mexican War, Hooker resigned from the army in 1853 and was for several years a farmer in California.
..... Click the link for more information.
 were again repulsed.

Thus encouraged, Lee and his lieutenants—James LongstreetLongstreet, James,
1821–1904, Confederate general in the American Civil War, b. Edgefield District, S.C. He graduated (1842) from West Point and served in the Mexican War, reaching the rank of major. At the outbreak of the Civil War he resigned from the U.S.
..... Click the link for more information.
, R. S. EwellEwell, Richard Stoddert,
1817–72, Confederate general, b. Georgetown, D.C., grad. West Point, 1840. Ewell rose rapidly in the Confederate army, becoming a major general by Oct., 1861. In 1862 he fought under T. J.
..... Click the link for more information.
, A. P. HillHill, Ambrose Powell,
1825–65, Confederate general in the American Civil War, b. Culpeper, Va. He served briefly in the Mexican War and had a varied army career until he resigned in Mar., 1861, to support the Confederacy.
..... Click the link for more information.
, and J. E. B. StuartStuart, James Ewell Brown
(Jeb Stuart), 1833–64, Confederate cavalry commander in the American Civil War, b. Patrick co., Va. Most of his U.S. army service was with the 1st Cavalry in Kansas.
..... Click the link for more information.
—undertook another invasion of the North but failed against George G. MeadeMeade, George Gordon,
1815–72, Union general in the American Civil War, b. Cádiz, Spain. Graduated from West Point in 1835, he resigned from the army the next year and became a civil engineer. In 1842, Meade reentered the army in the corps of topographical engineers.
..... Click the link for more information.
 in the Gettysburg campaignGettysburg campaign,
June–July, 1863, series of decisive battles of the U.S. Civil War. The Road to Gettysburg

After his victory in the battle of Chancellorsville, Confederate general Robert E. Lee undertook a second invasion of the North.
..... Click the link for more information.
 (June–July, 1863). That campaign marked the beginning of the end for the Confederacy, although it took considerable bloody pounding by Gen. U. S. GrantGrant, Ulysses Simpson,
1822–85, commander in chief of the Union army in the Civil War and 18th President (1869–77) of the United States, b. Point Pleasant, Ohio. He was originally named Hiram Ulysses Grant.
..... Click the link for more information.
 in the Wilderness campaignWilderness campaign,
in the American Civil War, a series of engagements (May–June, 1864) fought in the Wilderness region of Virginia. Early in May, 1864, the Northern commander in chief, Grant, led the Army of the Potomac (118,000 strong) across the Rapidan River into the
..... Click the link for more information.
 (May–June, 1864) and the siege of PetersburgPetersburg,
city (1990 pop. 38,386), politically independent and in no county, SE Va., on the Appomattox River; inc. 1850. A port of entry and an important tobacco market, it has industries producing chemicals, pharmaceuticals, furniture, structural steel, lumber, paper goods,
..... Click the link for more information.
 (1864–65) before Lee surrendered what remained of his Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Courthouse (see under AppomattoxAppomattox
, town (1990 pop. 1,707), seat of Appomattox co., central Va.; inc. 1925. Confederate general Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union general Ulysses S. Grant at nearby

Appomattox Courthouse on Apr. 9, 1865. After Gen.
..... Click the link for more information.
) on Apr. 9, 1865. President Jefferson Davis had already fled Richmond, and the Confederacy soon collapsed.

Postwar Political Reform and a New Economy

The war left its marks on the land and the people. The Shenandoah Valley was particularly desolate after the campaigns of Confederate Gen. Jubal A. EarlyEarly, Jubal Anderson,
1816–94, Confederate general, b. Franklin co., Va., grad. West Point, 1837. After fighting against the Seminole in Florida he resigned from the army (1838), studied law, and practiced at Rocky Mount, Va. He fought briefly in the Mexican War.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and Union Gen. Philip H. SheridanSheridan, Philip Henry,
1831–88, Union general in the American Civil War, b. Albany, N.Y. Although not a brilliant general, Sheridan's flair for leadership and his ready fighting ability made him the outstanding Union cavalry commander.
..... Click the link for more information.
 in 1864. But poverty-stricken as it was after the war, the state, under Gov. Francis H. PierpontPierpont, Francis Harrison,
1814–99, Union leader in Virginia during the American Civil War, "Father of West Virginia," b. near Morgantown, Va. (now W.Va.). When Virginia seceded, he became a leader of the disaffected Unionist forces in the western part of Virginia and was
..... Click the link for more information.
, escaped the worst aspects of ReconstructionReconstruction,
1865–77, in U.S. history, the period of readjustment following the Civil War. At the end of the Civil War, the defeated South was a ruined land. The physical destruction wrought by the invading Union forces was enormous, and the old social and economic
..... Click the link for more information.
. Radical Republicans were but briefly in power. On the recommendation (1869) of President Ulysses S. Grant, Congress allowed Virginia to vote without coercion, and the state passed the essential clauses of a constitution that the Radicals had drafted (1868), providing for free public schools and heavy taxes on land. More importantly, Virginia was allowed to elect to office its own moderate party, the "white Republicans," led by Gen. William MahoneMahone, William
, 1826–95, Confederate general in the American Civil War and Virginia politician, b. Southampton co., Va. He was president, chief engineer, and superintendent of the Norfolk-Petersburg RR when the Civil War broke out.
..... Click the link for more information.
. Radical sway was ended. In 1870, after the Virginia assembly had ratified the 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution, the state was readmitted to the Union.

The abolition of slavery and the hard agricultural times of postwar decades ended the plantation system in Virginia and brought some increase in farm tenancy, but the economy benefited from diversification as fruit farming and the tobacco industry became important. To offset declines in demand for dark Virginia tobacco, the bright-leaf variety was increasingly grown.

Politics and Industry in the Early Twentieth Century

In 1902 a new state constitution demanded rigorous literacy tests for voters, thus completing the long process of reducing the black electorate. During the years preceding World War I, Virginia's prosperity grew as dairy farming in particular gained importance. During the war agriculture boomed, as did industry. Especially prosperous were the important shipbuilding works at Hampton Roads.

In the mid-1920s, Harry Flood ByrdByrd, Harry Flood
, 1887–1966, U.S. senator from Virginia (1933–65), b. Martinsburg, W.Va.; brother of Richard E. Byrd. Educated at Shenandoah Academy in Winchester, Va.
..... Click the link for more information.
 assumed direction of the state's powerful Democratic organization, formerly headed by U.S. Senator Thomas S. Martin and Methodist Episcopal Bishop James Cannon, Jr. Byrd, governor from 1926 to 1930 and U.S. Senator from 1933 until 1965, became the most influential figure in the state. As chief executive he initiated a sound reorganization of the state government, brought about the passage of the first antilynching law adopted by any state, and improved the highway system. However, the organization's chief boast was that the state was entirely free of debt due to a rigid "pay-as-you-go" policy. Liberals criticized this financial policy for scrimping on public education and welfare.

In the Great Depression of the 1930s Virginia fared better than many states. Its industries had not been overexpanded, and, more important, the state's economy was built around consumer goods—foods, textiles, and tobacco—that remained in relatively high demand. Farmers benefited from the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, but conservative Virginians resisted some of the economic policies of the New Deal. In World War II Virginia was the scene of much military training, and the shipyards at Hampton Roads and other industries again aided the war effort. In the prosperous postwar period the conservative Byrd organization maintained its power.

Desegregation and Growth

After the 1954 Supreme Court decision on public school integration, attempts at desegregating Virginia's schools proceeded slowly. After Virginia courts and federal courts ruled illegal the order by Gov. J. Lindsay Almond, Jr., to close public schools in nine counties, a lame compromise of "local option" was adopted. With the exception of Prince Edward County, where schools remained closed from 1959 until 1964, all parts of Virginia had accepted at least token integration by the mid-1960s. In 1989, L. Douglas WilderWilder, L. Douglas
(Lawrence Douglas Wilder), 1931–, American political leader, b. Richmond, Va. The grandson of slaves, Wilder studied law at Howard Univ. A Democrat, he was elected a state senator in 1969, becoming the first African American to serve in the Virginia
..... Click the link for more information.
, a Democrat, became the first African American elected governor in Virginia.

Virginia has benefited in recent decades from increased federal spending. In the 1980s the Hampton Roads area saw a naval shipbuilding boom. The greatest growth, however, has come in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., where expanded federal offices and hundreds of quasi-official and private organizations engaged in lobbying, communications, and other businesses that owe their existence to proximity to the seat of the government have in turn spawned trade and service hubs like Dale City and Tysons Corner.


See F. B. Simkins et al., Virginia: History, Government, Geography (1957); C. H. Ambler, Sectionalism in Virginia from 1776 to 1861 (1910, repr. 1964); P. A. Bruce, Social Life of Virginia in the Seventeenth Century (1907, repr. 1964), Economic History of Virginia in the Seventeenth Century (2 vol., 1896; repr. 1966), and Institutional History of Virginia in the Seventeenth Century (2 vol., 1910; repr. 1964); H. J. Eckenrode, The Political History of Virginia during the Reconstruction (1904, repr. 1971); J. Gottmann, Virginia in Our Century (1969); C. C. Pearson, The Readjuster Movement in Virginia, 1847–1861 (1917, repr. 1969); E. S. Morgan, American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia (1975); V. Dabney, Virginia, the New Dominion (1971, repr. 1983); D. Staff, Virginia Atlas and Gazetteer (1989); G. Milton, Big Chief Elizabeth: The Adventures and Fate of the First English Colonists in America (2000).

Virginia, ship


Confederate name for the ironclad Merrimack. See Monitor and MerrimackMonitor and Merrimack,
two American warships that fought the first engagement between ironclad ships. When, at the beginning of the Civil War, the Union forces abandoned the Norfolk Navy Yard at Portsmouth, Va., they scuttled the powerful steam frigate Merrimack.
..... Click the link for more information.

Virginia, in Roman legend


in Roman legend, daughter of the centurion Virginius. Her father stabbed her to save her from the lust of Appius ClaudiusClaudius,
ancient Roman gens.

Appius Claudius Sabinus Inregillenis or Regillensis was a Sabine; he came (c.504 B.C.) with his tribe to Rome.
..... Click the link for more information.
 Crassus, decemvir. This precipitated the fall of the decemvirs. The story occurs often in literature.

Virginia State Information

Phone: (804) 786-0000

Area (sq mi):: 42774.20 (land 39594.07; water 3180.13) Population per square mile: 191.10
Population 2005: 7,567,465 State rank: 0 Population change: 2000-20005 6.90%; 1990-2000 14.40% Population 2000: 7,078,515 (White 70.20%; Black or African American 19.60%; Hispanic or Latino 4.70%; Asian 3.70%; Other 4.40%). Foreign born: 8.10%. Median age: 35.70
Income 2000: per capita $23,975; median household $46,677; Population below poverty level: 9.60% Personal per capita income (2000-2003): $31,087-$33,730
Unemployment (2004): 3.70% Unemployment change (from 2000): 1.40% Median travel time to work: 27.00 minutes Working outside county of residence: 51.80%

List of Virginia counties:

  • Accomack County
  • Albemarle County
  • Alexandria (Independent City)
  • Alleghany County
  • Amelia County
  • Amherst County
  • Appomattox County
  • Arlington County
  • Augusta County
  • Bath County
  • Bedford (Independent City)
  • Bedford County
  • Bland County
  • Botetourt County
  • Bristol (Independent City)
  • Brunswick County
  • Buchanan County
  • Buckingham County
  • Buena Vista (Independent City)
  • Campbell County
  • Caroline County
  • Carroll County
  • Charles City County
  • Charlotte County
  • Charlottesville (Independent City)
  • Chesapeake (Independent City)
  • Chesterfield County
  • Clarke County
  • Colonial Heights (Independent City)
  • Covington (Independent City)
  • Craig County
  • Culpeper County
  • Cumberland County
  • Danville (Independent City)
  • Dickenson County
  • Dinwiddie County
  • Emporia (Independent City)
  • Essex County
  • Fairfax (Independent City)
  • Fairfax County
  • Falls Church (Independent City)
  • Fauquier County
  • Floyd County
  • Fluvanna County
  • Franklin (Independent City)
  • Franklin County
  • Frederick County
  • Fredericksburg (Independent City)
  • Galax (Independent City)
  • Giles County
  • Gloucester County
  • Goochland County
  • Grayson County
  • Greene County
  • Greensville County
  • Halifax County
  • Hampton (Independent City)
  • Hanover County
  • Harrisonburg (Independent City)
  • Henrico County
  • Henry County
  • Highland County
  • Hopewell (Independent City)
  • Isle of Wight County
  • James City County
  • King & Queen County
  • King George County
  • King William County
  • Lancaster County
  • Lee County
  • Lexington (Independent City)
  • Loudoun County
  • Louisa County
  • Lunenburg County
  • Lynchburg (Independent City)
  • Madison County
  • Manassas (Independent City)
  • Manassas Park (Independent City)
  • Martinsville (Independent City)
  • Mathews County
  • Mecklenburg County
  • Middlesex County
  • Montgomery County
  • Nelson County
  • New Kent County
  • Newport News (Independent City)
  • Norfolk (Independent City)
  • Northampton County
  • Northumberland County
  • Norton (Independent City)
  • Nottoway County
  • Orange County
  • Page County
  • Patrick County
  • Petersburg (Independent City)
  • Pittsylvania County
  • Poquoson (Independent City)
  • Portsmouth (Independent City)
  • Powhatan County
  • Prince Edward County
  • Prince George County
  • Prince William County
  • Pulaski County
  • Radford (Independent City)
  • Rappahannock County
  • Richmond (Independent City)
  • Richmond County
  • Roanoke (Independent City)
  • Roanoke County
  • Rockbridge County
  • Rockingham County
  • Russell County
  • Salem (Independent City)
  • Scott County
  • Shenandoah County
  • Smyth County
  • Southampton County
  • Spotsylvania County
  • Stafford County
  • Staunton (Independent City)
  • Suffolk (Independent City)
  • Surry County
  • Sussex County
  • Tazewell County
  • Virginia Beach (Independent City)
  • Warren County
  • Washington County
  • Waynesboro (Independent City)
  • Westmoreland County
  • Williamsburg (Independent City)
  • Winchester (Independent City)
  • Wise County
  • Wythe County
  • York County
  • Virginia Parks



    a state in the eastern part of the USA. Area, 105,700 sq km. Population, 4.5 million (1970 census), more than one-fifth of whom are Negroes. Urban population 56 percent (1960). Administrative center, Richmond.

    The Atlantic Lowland, deeply indented by the Chesapeake Bay and its river estuaries, is in the eastern part of Virginia. The Appalachian Mountains (elevation, 1,743 m) are in the west and the Piedmont Plateau is in the central part of the state. The suburbs of Washington, D.C., the capital of the USA, extend into northeastern Virginia. The mean temperatures range from —1° to 5° C in January and from 23° to 26° C in July. Annual precipitation amounts to more than 1,000 mm. The most important rivers—the James and the Potomac—are navigable in their lower courses. There are coniferous and deciduous forests on the slopes of the Appalachians.

    Virginia is an industrial-agrarian state. Its industrial development has been facilitated by its advantageous geographical position, its transportation conditions, and by the presence of large reserves of coal and waterpower. Coal mining (33 million tons in 1967) in the Appalachian Coal Basin is the most important branch of the mining industry (15,000 employees in 1968). Lead, zinc, and building materials are also mined. The capacity of the state’s electric power plants totaled 6-million kilowatts (kW) in 1968, including 900,000 kW from hydroelectric power plants. Processing industries employed 360,000 people in 1968. The chemical industry is at the highest stage of development with the production of cellulose and synthetic fibers (Roanoke and Newport News), fertilizers, and so on. There is large-scale commercial and military shipbuilding in the Hampton Roads Harbor (Norfolk, Newport News, and Portsmouth). The knitting, textile, and garment industries are well developed (on the basis of chemical fibers), as are the tobacco, food, paper, furniture, electrical equipment, and radioelectronics industries. The principal farm crop is tobacco, primarily in the Piedmont; Virginia is third or fourth in tobacco production in the USA. Virginia’s other crops include wheat in the northwest, peanuts in the south, early potatoes and vegetables, and fruits. Approximately one-half of the commercial agricultural output is accounted for by livestock breeding, including poultry raising (broilers); in 1968 there were 1.4 million head of cattle (including 260,000 dairy cows). Oysters are harvested and shrimp are caught along the coast. The major ports in Hampton Roads Harbor are Norfolk and Newport News.


    Virginia is one of the original states of the USA. It was established in 1776 during the War for Independence in North America (1775-83) in place of the British colony of the same name, which had been founded in 1607. During the Civil War (1861-65), Virginia was a member of the slave-holding Confederacy. The sharpening of relations between the slaveholding planters of the eastern region of Virginia and the farmers of the western part of the state led to the secession of West Virginia in 1863 and its establishment as an independent state.


    Tenth state; adopted the U.S. Constitution on June 25, 1788 (seced­ed from the Union in April 1861, and was readmitted on January 26, 1870)

    State capital: Richmond Nicknames: Old Dominion; Mother of Presidents; Mother of Statesmen State motto: Sic semper tyrannis (Latin “Thus ever to

    tyrants”) State beverage: Milk State bat: Virginia big-eared bat (Corynorhinus (= Plecotus)

    townsendii virginianus) State bird: Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) State boat: Chesapeake Bay Deadrise State dog: American foxhound State festival: Virginia Covered Bridge Festival. State fish: Brook trout (salvelinus fontinalis) State flower: American dogwood (Cornus florida) State folk dance: Square dance State folklore center: Blue Ridge Institute State fossil: Chesapecten jeffersonius (scallop) State insect: Tiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus

    Linne) State shell: Oyster shell (Crassostraea virginica) State song: “Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” had been state

    song since 1940; the state held a contest to choose a new song in 1998, but none has been selected (as of April, 2008)

    State tree: American dogwood (Cornus florida)

    More about state symbols at:


    AmerBkDays-2000, p. 476 AnnivHol-2000, p. 106


    State web site:

    Office of the Governor Capitol Bldg 3rd Fl Richmond, VA 23219 804-786-2211 fax: 804-371-6351

    Secretary of the Commonwealth 830 E Main St 14th Fl Richmond, VA 23219 804-786-2441 fax: 804-371-0017

    Library of Virginia 800 E Broad St Richmond, VA 23219 804-692-3500 fax: 804-692-3594

    Legal Holidays:

    Columbus Day and Yorktown Victory DayOct 10, 2011; Oct 8, 2012; Oct 14, 2013; Oct 13, 2014; Oct 12, 2015; Oct 10, 2016; Oct 9, 2017; Oct 8, 2018; Oct 14, 2019; Oct 12, 2020; Oct 11, 2021; Oct 10, 2022; Oct 9, 2023
    Day after ThanksgivingNov 25, 2011; Nov 23, 2012; Nov 29, 2013; Nov 28, 2014; Nov 27, 2015; Nov 25, 2016; Nov 24, 2017; Nov 23, 2018; Nov 29, 2019; Nov 27, 2020; Nov 26, 2021; Nov 25, 2022; Nov 24, 2023
    Lee-Jackson DayJan 14, 2011; Jan 13, 2012; Jan 18, 2013; Jan 17, 2014; Jan 16, 2015; Jan 15, 2016; Jan 13, 2017; Jan 12, 2018; Jan 18, 2019; Jan 17, 2020; Jan 15, 2021; Jan 14, 2022; Jan 13, 2023


    first of the Thirteen Colonies. [Am. Hist.: NCE, 289]
    See: Firsts


    a state of the eastern US, on the Atlantic: site of the first permanent English settlement in North America; consists of a low-lying deeply indented coast rising inland to the Piedmont plateau and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Capital: Richmond. Pop.: 7 386 330 (2003 est.). Area: 103 030 sq. km (39 780 sq. miles)
    References in periodicals archive ?
    Emergency Operations Center 3661 East Virginia Beach Boulevard, Norfolk, Virginia 23502
    Shoe" chronicles the daily doings of a group of newspaper employees and their friends, foes and families, all of whom are portrayed as all-too-human birds in the fictional town of Treetops, East Virginia.
    The briefings, which will be held at East Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Va.
    Anderson Cancer Center, UCSF Cancer Center and East Virginia Medical School are also using the systems to rapidly discover and assay biomarkers for multiple disorders, including cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and drug-resistant pathogens (M.

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