29 Interesting Facts About Virginia

Last updated on September 30th, 2019

Virginia is the 12th most populous and the 35th most extensive of the 50 states of the United States. It is in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States located between the Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains. The state attained statehood on June 25, 1788, becoming the 10th state to join the union. Its five bordering states are Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Virginia (nicknamed: Mother of Presidents, Old Dominion) has 95 counties. The state’s capital is Richmond. The abbreviation for Virginia is VA. With these facts about Virginia, let us learn about its history, geography, people, culture, economy, and more. 

1. Virginia was named after Queen Elizabeth I, who was called the Virgin Queen.[1]

2. Virginia was one of the 13 Colonies in the American Revolution.[1]

facts about Virginia
Virginia (in red) on the U.S. map with neighboring states.

3. The Virginia General Assembly is the oldest continuous law-making body in the New World. And it prohibits the governors from serving two consecutive terms.[1]

4. Earthquakes in Virginia are rarely devastating because of their weak magnitude. The state experienced its largest earthquake of 5.9 magnitude in 1897 near Blacksburg.[1]

5. A 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Virginia in 2011 was felt by the almost 1/3rd of the population of the U.S. The Earthquake also did shake some neighboring Canadian provinces to some extent. The effect of the quake was so prominent that it cracked the Washington Monument.[16,17]

6. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, Virginia ranks at the second spot in the list of the states for total defense spending, followed by Texas, Maryland, and Florida. California tops the list with an expenditure of $49 billion.[2]

7. Naval Station Norfolk, in Norfolk Virginia, is the world’s largest naval base. The base is classified as America’s fifth most endangered military base. The base also serves as a major naval air center. It is estimated that the rise in sea level could be a potential threat to the base.[3,4]

8. After California, Virginia has the second highest concentration of tech workers of any state in the U.S.[5]

Flag of Virginia

Virginia flag
Image via Wikipedia.org

9. In the early days, Virginia was also known as the “Birthplace of Presidents.”

10. Did you know that before the beginning of the Civil War, Virginia has had the most number of slaves, followed by Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina? Each of these states has had more than 400,000 slaves.[6]

11. In some terms, Virginia can also be given the title of the “Home of the Internet.” Loudoun County hosts data centers that are responsible to cater to almost 3 quarters of the web’s traffic. The County has more than 10 million square feet of building space and more than 100 massive data centers. And there is no sign of this growth abating.[7]

12. Virginia is home to the largest office building in the worldthe Pentagon. The Pentagon serves as the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense including all three military services—Army, Navy, and Air Force. The Pentagon, however, has a Washington, D.C. mailing address. The building was designed by American architect George Bergstrom and built by contractor John McShain.[8,9,10]

The Pentagon
The Pentagon – the headquarters building of the United States Department of Defense. Image by Creative Commons

13. Did you know that the Pentagon has three times the floor space as the Empire State Building?[22]

14. The tourism industry plays a significant role in the nation’s economy.

15. In 1607, Jamestown–the first English colony in what would become the United States–was founded in Virginia. Jamestown was also Virginia’s first capital. The town was established on the bank of the James River.[23]

Virginia on the map

16. Did you know that eight U.S. presidents (more than any other state) were born in Virginia? Interestingly, four of the first five presidents were Virginians.[11]

17. The American Revolution ended in Yorktown and so did the Civil War in Appomattox.[13,14]

18. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, with 17.6 miles span (shore to shore), is the world’s largest bridge-tunnel complex. Its official name is Lucius J. Kellam, Jr. Bridge-Tunnel.[12]

19. The Chesapeake Bay is one of the world’s richest marine-life estuaries. Finfish, blue crabs, oysters, and clams can be found here.[15]

20. The state on average gets affected by 7 tornadoes a year.[1]

21. Virginia is also called the “Mother of the states“ because of its role in being carved into other states such as Kentucky.

22. In the Civil War, more battles were fought on Virginia soil than in any other state.[21]

23. The first iron furnace was built in 1619 in Virginia.[20]

24. The first peanuts grown in America were from Virginia. Did you know that peanut butter was first introduced at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904 and became a source of delicious protein during the first two world wars?[19]

25. Tennis Legend Arthur Ashe was born in Richmond, Virginia. He was the first black man to win the U.S. Open and Wimbledon tennis championships. He is also the first African-American man to be ranked as the No. 1 tennis player in the world.[18]

26. Local tax collection per capita in Virginia in 2016 was $4,560, which puts it at 23rd overall of all the states.[24]

27. According to inc.com, the average life expectancy in Virginia is 77 years.[25] 

Virginia is for lovers slogan/logo
Original Virginia is for lovers logo created by Martin & Woltz. Image credit – WAMU 88.5

28. “Virginia Is For Lovers” is one of the most well-known tourism campaigns ever. It was created by David N. Martin and George Woltz of Martin and Woltz Inc. in 1968. They created the slogan after winning the Virginia State Travel account in 1968. In 1969, when the agency unveiled the slogan, visitors to Virginia generated about $800 million.[26]

29. According to Insure.com, an insurance information website, Virginia has the 5th cheapest average car insurance premium ($1,063) in the country. States with the cheapest average insurance are Maine ($845), Wisconsin ($951), Idaho ($1,040), and Iowa ($1,047). 

Virginia state – quick facts and state symbols

State AbbreviationVA
NoteClick on the previous/next link below to see more table entries.
State CapitalRichmond
List Of 50 U.S. States And Their Capital
Largest cityVirginia Beach
State SizeTotal (Land + Water): 42,774 sq miles; Land Only: 39,594 sq miles
(Estimate July 1, 2018 from United States Census Bureau)
StatehoodJune 25, 1788
State rank by population12th
State rank by date of formation10th
State rank by area35th
Number of Counties95
Complete list of 50 states and number of counties in each
Bordering StatesKentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia
Official LanguageEnglish
Highest PointMount Rogers
5,729 ft (1746 m)
Lowest pointAtlantic Ocean
Sea level
Mean elevation950 feet above sea level
Length 430 miles (690 km)
Width200 miles (320 km)
GovernorRalph Northam (D)
Lieutenant GovernorJustin Fairfax (D)
Electoral Votes13
State MottoSic semper tyrannis (Thus always to tyrants)
State NicknameThe Old Dominion; Mother of Presidents
% Water7.4
State song"Our Great Virginia" (traditional), "Sweet Virginia Breeze" (popular)
Nobel Prize WinnersWoodrow Wilson (Peace, 1919)
John C. Mather (Physics, 2006)
Famous PeopleKenny Easley (Pro Football Player)
Pete Hill (Baseball Player)
Alonzo Mourning (Basketball Player)
Sandra Bullock (Actress)
Chris Brown (Singer)
U.S. Presidents Born in Virginia1. George Washington.
2. Thomas Jefferson.
3. James Madison.
4. James Monroe.
5.William Henry Harrison.
6. John Tyler.
7. Zachary Taylor.
8. Thomas Woodrow Wilson.
State Flag

The Virginian flag

State seal

The Virginian seal

State Coat of Arms

Coat of arms of West Virginia.svg

State Quarter

Virginia quarter

State Fleetthe Replica " Godspeed" from Jamestown ,Va.
State Bat
Virginia Big-Eared Bat

Healthy Virginia big-eared bat
Fresh Water FishBrook trout

Brook trout

Salt Water FishStriped Bass

Striped Bass

State DogAmerican Foxhound

American Foxhound

State Snake
Eastern Garter Snake

Eastern Garter Snake (4)
FossilChesapecten jeffersonius

Chesapecten Jeffersonius Inside.jpg

State BirdCardinal


State ButterflyTiger Swallowtail Butterfly

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Papilio glaucus Wings 2908px.jpg

State War Memorial Museum
Virginia War Museum

Virginia War Museum
State RockNelsonite

A speckled rock with black and white grains

State FlowerAmerican Dogwood

Green Season--Dogwood
State TreeFlowering Dogwood

Mom has dogwoods like this
Longitude75° 15′ W to 83° 41′ W
Latitude36° 32′ N to 39° 28′ N
Time ZoneEastern Time Zone
Area Codes276, 434, 540, 571, 703, 757, 804
Table Last UpdatedMay 16, 2019