29 Interesting Facts About Virginia

Last updated on December 4th, 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]

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