45 Interesting Facts About Virginia

Last updated on October 2nd, 2022

41. A City for Ice Cream Aficionados: Alexandria is the place to be if you are an ice cream lover. The Forbes magazine named Alexandria the Ice Cream Cone Capital in 2019. People love taking ice cream strolls along the city’s cobblestone streets with beautiful riverfront rambles.

Ice cream cone with ice cream
Interesting facts about Virginia. Ice cream cone with ice cream. Image credit – frankieleon

42. A City Named After George Washington’s Adopted Son’s House: George Washington Parke Custis lived in Arlington House. He owned a plantation in the estate and lived in the Arlington House till his death. His daughter inherited the house but the property was later converted into a national cemetery. Arlington House is a museum today.

43. A River That’s Ironic to its Name: the New River, one of the oldest rivers on the planet flows from the south to the north. Its formation happened before the mountains. The ancient river is the oldest in North America despite its name ‘New River’.

44. A Distinct Accent on Virginia Island: there is a wide variety of English accents in Virginia. But in Tangier Island, you will find a peculiar dialect that is not found elsewhere. This small island was initially occupied by early British colonies in the late 17th Century. Most residents today speak in the unique accent that is closer to British than American English.

45. Pony swim: the Pony Swim at Chincoteague is a celebrated event where saltwater cowboys swim with wild horses. Ponies are paraded for auction to raise cash for the local fire department.

About the flag of Virginia

Virginia flag
The state flag of Virginia.

1. Design and Symbolism

The flag of Virginia features the state seal on a blue field. The design reflects the influence of the Romans on the leaders of Virginia.

It shows a woman standing atop a fallen king, symbolizing the triumph of virtue over tyranny. One hand is resting on the dull edge of a spear. Meanwhile, the other hand holds a sheathed sword of authority. Her pose suggests that the battle is over.

The defeated monarch represents Great Britain. He is lying on the ground with his crown nearby, signifying that Virginia is free from royal control. The broken chain in his left-hand means relief from colonial trade restrictions. The limp whip in his right-hand shows that harsh British laws no longer affect them.

Above the woman is the state name, while below her is the Latin motto “Sic Semper Tyrannis” or “Thus always to tyrants.” It is a quote from Brutus, the Roman politician who slayed Julius Caesar after the latter became a perpetual dictator. With this, Virginia vows to keep fighting against tyranny.

2. Adoption

The Virginia General Assembly initially adopted the state flag in April 1861. They did it again on March 18, 1912, to clarify the design. The last standardization happened on February 1, 1950.

3. Technical Details

The flag uses a proportion of 2:3. Note that the state seal has two sides, but the flag only uses the obverse image. Both sides have a decorative border with sprigs of the five-finger ivy, also known as the Virginia Creeper.

The spear’s blade is touching the ground while the sword is pointing upward. The woman’s head is erect and proud. The king is facing away from the viewer.

4. History

Under the rule of King George III (1738-1820), the seal of Virginia depicted a subject bending the knee and offering tribute to the standing British monarch. The reverse side shows the king’s coat of arms featuring a lion and a unicorn.

In 1776, several colonies declared their independence from Great Britain. Virginia did it in May of that year. By July, they had a committee creating a new seal composed of Robert Carter, Richard Henry Lee, George Mason, and George Wythe.

In 1861, with the Civil War at their doorstep, the legislature placed the seal on an azure field to create the first official state flag. Countless military flags also feature the state seal. In 1912, the General Assembly readopted the flag.

The complex design left a lot of room for interpretation and deviation. Several variants propagated across the state. Confusion intensified, forcing the government to make a design standard in 1931. The committee asked sculptor Charles Keck to create a new seal that still appears today.

5. Flag Facts

If you look closely, the king is wearing a purple robe. It echoes the Roman garment used to display power and status, introduced by Lucius Tarquinius Priscus.

It only took the committee four days to finalize a seal design inspired by Ancient Rome and its mythology. The approval came immediately after submission. While the chief designer is uncertain, most believe it is the classics scholar George Wythe.

Virginia state – quick facts and state symbols

State AbbreviationVA
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
Population
8,642,274
(Estimate July 1, 2021 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
DemonymVirginian
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)
GovernorGlenn Youngkin (R)
Lieutenant GovernorWinsome Sears (R)
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 Bat
Virginia Big-Eared Bat
Fresh Water FishBrook trout
Salt Water FishStriped Bass
State DogAmerican Foxhound
State Snake
Eastern Garter Snake
FossilChesapecten jeffersonius
State BirdCardinal
State ButterflyTiger Swallowtail Butterfly
State War Memorial Museum
Virginia War Museum
State RockNelsonite
State FlowerAmerican Dogwood
State TreeFlowering Dogwood
Longitude75° 15′ W to 83° 41′ W
Latitude36° 32′ N to 39° 28′ N
Time ZoneEastern Time Zone
Websitewww.virginia.gov
Area Codes276, 434, 540, 571, 703, 757, 804
Table Last UpdatedDecember 9, 2022