State: Virginia – VA

Published on October 14th, 2015 | by Brandon Ramsey in Geography


The state abbreviation for Virginia is VA. It is one of the 50 U.S. States and is located in the South Atlantic Region of the North American continent. This place is nicknamed “Old Dominion” due to it being the first colonial possession in mainland British America.

Today we’ll dive deeper into the this place by examining a broad overview, the history, the geography, and the climate of VA. Before we begin, here are some key facts:

  • Capital: Richmond
  • Largest city: Virginia Beach
  • Total area: 42,774 square miles (ranked 35th)
  • Population: 8,326,289 (ranked 12th)
  • Highest point: Mount Rogers (5,729 feet)
  • Admitted to the Union: June 25, 1788 (10th)
  • Nickname(s): Old Dominion, Mother of Presidents, Mother of States, The Commonwealth
  • Motto: Sic semper tyrannis (English: “Thus Always to Tyrants”)
  • Time zone: Eastern UTC -5/-4
  • State flag
  • Official website: Virginia.gov
  • State flower: American Dogwood
  • Bird: Cardinal
  • Dog: American Foxhound
  • Fresh water fish: Brook trout
  • Insect: Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
  • Salt water fish: Striped Bass
  • Bat: Virginia Big-Eared Bat

map of virginia in the United States

VA State Overview

This state is located in the South Atlantic region of the United Sates, and is officially named the Commonwealth of Virginia. Due to the fact that eight of the United States Presidents were born in this state, which is more than any other state, it has been nicknamed the “Mother of Presidents”.

Another nickname the state has been given is “Old Dominion” which is credited to the fact that it was the first colonial possession established in the New World.

In 1607 the first permanent settlement of the New World English colony was founded by the London Company. It was also one of the original thirteen colonies of the American Revolution, in addition to being part of the Confederacy in the American Civil War.

The state capital is Richmond, the most populated political county is Fairfax County, and the most populated city is Virginia Beach. The state’s estimated population as of the year of 2014 was over 8.3 million people.

VA has many economy sectors, including federal agencies and agriculture. The state is home to the headquarters of the Department of Defense and the CIA. Located on Hampton Road is the region’s main military seaport.  This state’s climate and geography are attributed to the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay.

map of virginia

Virginia’s History

The first Spanish explorers discovered the state is the 1500s. During this time period the area was mainly occupied by the Algonquian, the Iroquoian, and the Siouan people. Sir Walter Raleigh failed the first English attempt at settling in the 1580s. The first permanent settlement was in Jamestown in the year 1607.

The first settlement was by the London Company, and men were sent to the New World in search for gold. At this point in time there were no families being sent over. It wasn’t until later on that families began to settle in the New World.

When no gold was found the discovery of tobacco crops emerged as a profitable export from the New World. Many of the crops were cultivated by indentured servants, and by 1750 they were primary cultivated by West African slaves.

This colony became one of the most populated and wealthiest British colonies in the New World. It was also here where Baptist and Methodist churches brought about the Great Awakening, and founded evangelical and racially integrated churches.

When tobacco prices declined and crops lost fertility in the beginning half of the 19th century, many farmers adapted by emphasizing wheat and livestock farming. These types of farming required less labor and workers.

The state’s settlers played a major role in gaining independence and development of the United States. They were vital in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitutional Convention, and the Bill of Rights. The population grew to 1.2 million in 1860, from 700,000 in 1790. In 1861, the state was the largest to join the Confederate States of America.

Climate and Geography

The state is the 35th largest state by area in the United States. The total area is 42,774.2 square miles, which includes 3,180.13 square miles of water. The state is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Washington D.C., and five states.

The state is bordered to the northeast by Maryland, to the south by North Carolina and Tennessee, to the west by Kentucky, and to the the northwest West Virginia. The border with Tennessee was disputed until 1893, when it was settled by the Supreme Court.

The state’s Eastern Shore is separated by the Chesapeake Bay. This three peninsula bay was created from overflown river valleys from the James River and the Susquehanna River. Many of the state’s rivers flow out into the Chesapeake Bay.

Between the Atlantic coast and the fall line lies a coastal plain, known as the Tidewater. The Tidewater includes the Chesapeake Bay and the Eastern Shore.

The state is also home to the Blue Ridge Mountains of the Appalachian Mountains. The highest point in the state is Mount Rodgers at 5,729 feet. The Great Appalachian Valley includes the ridge and valley region west of the mountains.

Coal mining takes place throughout the three mountains regions. Other minerals are mined in the state as well, such as slate, kyanite, sand, and gravel.

The state’s climate is warmer and more humid in the southern and eastern sections. Temperatures vary from average highs of 86°F in July, down to average lows of 26°F in January. Climate is greatly influenced by the Gulf Stream and the Atlantic ocean. This coastal weather also subjects the state to possible hurricanes near the coast line.

Over 65% of the state is covered in trees and forests. Common trees include hickory, oak, yellow pine, bald cypress, chestnut, and maple. Common plants include tulip poplar, mountain laurel, daises, trillium wildflowers milkweed, and many different types of ferns.

Due to the climate, there are many varying types of mammals and sea life on the coast. Common mammals include white-tailed deer, black bears, coyote, skunks, bobcats, rabbits, and different breeds of foxes and squirrels.

Common sea life animals are blue crabs, oysters, clams, and several kinds of fish and sharks. There are also many different types of birds, from seagulls to bald eagles.

Final Thoughts

Just when you think you’ve learned everything there is to know about this place, we’ve got a set of Virginia state facts to expand your knowledge even further! Thanks for reading, and be sure to share your own information in the comments below!

printable map of Virginia



About the Author
Brandon Ramsey

Brandon Ramsey is the head author and editor of The Time Now Blog. Be sure to follow us via social media!


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