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May 17 2019

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Virginia statehood history

One of the 13 original colonies, Virginia was the first part of the country permanently settled by the English, who established Jamestown on the banks of the James River in 1607. The home state of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers, Virginia played an important role in the American Revolution (1775-83). During the Civil War (1861-65), the city of Richmond, Virginia, became the capital of the Confederacy, and more than half of the conflict’s battles were fought in the state. Today, many government institutions are headquartered in Virginia, particularly in Arlington, located across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. In addition to eight presidents, famous Virginians include singer Ella Fitzgerald, tennis star Arthur Ashe, actress Shirley MacLaine and authors Willa Cather and Tom Wolfe.

Date of Statehood: June 25, 1788

Did you know? Four of the first five presidents were Virginians: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe.

Capital: Richmond

Population: 8,001,024 (2010)

Size: 42,775 square miles

Nickname(s): Old Dominion; Mother of Presidents; Mother of States; Mother of Statesmen; Cavalier State

Motto: Sic Semper Tyrannis (“Thus Always to Tyrants”)

Tree: American Dogwood

Flower: American Dogwood

Bird: Northern Cardinal

Interesting Facts

  • Patrick Henry delivered his famous “Give me liberty or give me death!” speech before the second Virginia Convention at St. John’s Church (formerly Henrico Parish) in Richmond on March 23, 1775.
  • On October 19, 1781, following three weeks of continuous bombardment, British General Lord Charles Cornwallis surrendered to General George Washington in the Battle of Yorktown in Virginia, essentially bringing the American Revolution to an end.
  • Virginia’s borders have expanded and contracted numerous times since its inception as the first of the 13 original colonies. In 1792, nine counties known as the Kentucky District of Virginia entered the union as the state of Kentucky, and in 1863, western counties of Virginia were approved to enter the union as the state of West Virginia.
  • The Arlington National Cemetery, one of America’s most renowned military cemeteries, was originally built in the early 19th century as a mansion by George Washington’s adopted grandson, George Washington Parke Custis. Robert E. Lee, who married Custis’ daughter, Mary Anna, lived in Arlington House at various periods until 1861, when Virginia seceded from the Union and the couple vacated the estate. On June 15, 1864, the property was established as a military cemetery.
  • Virginia was the birthplace of more U.S. presidents than any other state: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor and Woodrow Wilson.
  • The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg is the nation’s second-oldest institution of higher education, after Harvard; King William III and Queen Mary II of England signed a charter for its creation on February 8, 1693. At the persuasion of Thomas Jefferson, the first law school in America was established there in 1779.


The Booker T. Washington National Monument is a National Monument near Hardy, Franklin County, Virginia.

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The Sunken Road in Fredericksburg, Virginia, was the site of a Civil War battle, ca. 1862.

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Cannon on Yorktown Battlefield located at the Colonial National Historic Park in Virginia.

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The elegant House of Burgess’s capitol building at Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia housed the pre-Revolutionary Colonial Legislature of Virginia Colony.

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James Fort, a recreation of the original settlement at Jamestown, Virginia.

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Tourists ride a carriage through Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.

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Shenandoah National Park encompasses part of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the U.S. state of Virginia. This national park is long and narrow, with the broad Shenandoah River and valley on the west side, and the rolling hills of the Virginia Piedmont on the east.

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The Shenandoah River is a tributary of the Potomac River, approximately 150 mi (241 km) long, in the U.S. states of Virginia and West Virginia.

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The Chesapeake Bay Bridge is a major dual-span bridge in the U.S. state of Maryland.

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Exterior of Governor’s Palace in Colonial Williamsburg

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The Virginia State Capitol is the seat of state government in the Commonwealth of Virginia, located in Richmond, the third State Capital of Virginia. It houses the oldest legislative body in the United States, the Virginia General Assembly.

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In 1918, the state floral emblem commonly known as the American dogwood (Cornus florida) was adopted. It was selected to foster a feeling of pride in our state and to stimulate an interest in the history and traditions of the Commonwealth.

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Founded in 1984, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is located on 80 acres in Richmond, Virginia. A public place for the display and scientific study of plants, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is one of only two independent public botanical gardens in Virginia and has the designation of a state botanical g

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Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. Like all Virginia municipalities incorporated as cities, it is an independent city and not part of any county.

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Virginia designated the northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) as official state bird in 1950.

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