Portal:Virginia

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Introduction

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Virginia (/vərˈɪniə/ (About this sound listen)), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States located between the Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" due to its status as the first English colonial possession established in mainland North America and "Mother of Presidents" because eight U.S. presidents were born there, more than any other state. The geography and climate of the Commonwealth are shaped by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay, which provide habitat for much of its flora and fauna. The capital of the Commonwealth is Richmond; Virginia Beach is the most populous city, and Fairfax County is the most populous political subdivision. The Commonwealth's estimated population as of 2017 is over 8.4 million.

The area's history begins with several indigenous groups, including the Powhatan. In 1607 the London Company established the Colony of Virginia as the first permanent New World English colony. Slave labor and the land acquired from displaced Native American tribes each played a significant role in the colony's early politics and plantation economy. Virginia was one of the 13 Colonies in the American Revolution. In the American Civil War, Virginia’s Secession Convention resolved to join the Confederacy, and Virginia’s First Wheeling Convention resolved to remain in the Union; that led to the creation of West Virginia. Although the Commonwealth was under one-party rule for nearly a century following Reconstruction, both major national parties are competitive in modern Virginia.

Selected article

Entrance to the Blue Ridge Tunnel
The Virginia Central Railroad was an early railroad in the U.S. state of Virginia that operated between 1850 and 1868 from Richmond westward for nearly 200 miles (320 km) to Covington. Chartered in 1836 as the Louisa Railroad by the Virginia General Assembly, the railroad began near the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad's line and expanded westward, reaching Gordonsville by 1840, and the base of the Blue Ridge in 1852. Renamed the Virginia Central Railroad, the railroad used a temporary track built over Rockfish Gap until the completion of the Blue Ridge Tunnel, connecting it with the Shenandoah Valley.

The railroad faced significant action against it during the American Civil War as a prime target for raids by Union Cavalry Although the war left the railroad with only a fraction of its line left operable, the railroad was running over its entire pre-war length by July 1865. In 1868, the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad was formed from the merger of the Virginia Central Railroad and the Covington and Ohio Railroad, expanding westward to the Ohio River by 1873. Today, CSX, Amtrak, and the Buckingham Branch Railroad still use portions of the old Virginia Central line for freight and passenger rail service.

Selected biography

Portrait of John Marshall
John Marshall (1755 – 1835) was the fourth Chief Justice of the United States (1801–1835), whose court opinions helped lay the basis for American constitutional law and made the Supreme Court of the United States a coequal branch of government along with the legislative and executive branches. Previously, Marshall had been a leader of the Federalist Party in Virginia, served in the United States House of Representatives, and was Secretary of State under President John Adams from 1800 to 1801.

The longest-serving Chief Justice, Marshall dominated the Court for over three decades and played a significant role in the development of the American legal system. Most notably, he reinforced the principle that federal courts are obligated to exercise judicial review, by disregarding purported laws if they violate the Constitution. Thus, Marshall cemented the position of the American judiciary as an independent and influential branch of government. Furthermore, Marshall's court made several important decisions relating to federalism, affecting the balance of power between the federal government and the states during the early years of the republic. While some of his decisions were unpopular, Marshall nevertheless built up the third branch of the federal government, and augmented federal power in the name of the Constitution and the rule of law.

This month in Virginia history

painting of men along a line of artillery

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Humorous sign at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport
Credit: NASA

A humorous sign seen during the launch of an Antares rocket at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island

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a two-story brick town-house with awnings

Fact sheet

  • Capital: Richmond, Virginia
  • Total area: 110,862 sq.mi
  • Highest elevation: 5,729 ft (Mount Rogers)
  • Population (2010 census) 8,001,024
  • Date Virginia joined the united States: June 25, 1788

State symbols:

Dogwood
Cardinal
Virginia Quarter

Government

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Virginia topics

Topics Rivers | Governors | Colony | Rights | Homes | Colleges & Universities | Counties | People
Regions Appomattox Basin | Eastern Shore | Middle Peninsula | Northern Neck | Northern Virginia | Piedmont | Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians | Shenandoah Valley | Southside | Southwest Virginia | Tidewater
Metros Abingdon | Blacksburg | Bluefield | Bristol | Charlottesville | Culpeper | Danville | Fredericksburg | Front Royal | Harrisonburg | Leesburg | Lynchburg | Martinsville | Marion | Poquoson | Radford | Richmond | Roanoke | Staunton | Suffolk | Virginia Beach/Hampton Roads | Warrenton | Washington, D.C./Northern | Waynesboro | Williamsburg | Winchester | Wytheville
Counties Accomack | Albemarle | Alleghany | Amelia | Amherst | Appomattox | Arlington | Augusta | Bath | Bedford | Bland | Botetourt | Brunswick | Buchanan | Buckingham | Campbell | Caroline | Carroll | Charles City | Charlotte | Chesterfield | Clarke | Craig | Culpeper | Cumberland | Dickenson | Dinwiddie | Essex | Fairfax | Fauquier | Floyd | Fluvanna | Franklin | Frederick | Giles | Gloucester | Goochland | Grayson | Greene | Greensville | Halifax | Hanover | Henrico | Henry | Highland | Isle of Wight | James City | King and Queen | King George | King William | Lancaster | Lee | Loudoun | Louisa | Lunenburg | Madison | Mathews | Mecklenburg | Middlesex | Montgomery | Nelson | New Kent | Northampton | Northumberland | Nottoway | Orange | Page | Patrick | Pittsylvania | Powhatan | Prince Edward | Prince George | Prince William | Pulaski | Rappahannock | Richmond | Roanoke | Rockbridge | Rockingham | Russell | Scott | Shenandoah | Smyth | Southampton | Spotsylvania | Stafford | Surry | Sussex | Tazewell | Warren | Washington | Westmoreland | Wise | Wythe | York
Independent
Cities
Alexandria | Bedford | Bristol | Buena Vista | Charlottesville | Chesapeake | Colonial Heights | Covington |Danville | Emporia | Fairfax | Falls Church | Franklin | Fredericksburg | Galax | Hampton | Harrisonburg | Hopewell | Lexington | Lynchburg | Manassas | Manassas Park | Martinsville | Newport News | Norfolk | Norton | Petersburg | Poquoson |

Portsmouth | Radford | Richmond | Roanoke | Salem | Staunton | Suffolk | Virginia Beach | Waynesboro | Williamsburg | Winchester

Colleges & Universities Appalachian School of Law | Averett University | Bluefield College | Bridgewater College | Christendom College | Christopher Newport University | College of William & Mary | Emory and Henry College | Ferrum College | George Mason University | George Washington University Virginia Campus | Hampden–Sydney College | Hampton University | Hollins University | James Madison University | Liberty University | Longwood University | Marine Corps University | Mary Baldwin University | Marymount University | Norfolk State University | Old Dominion University | Radford University | Randolph–Macon College | Randolph–Macon Woman's College | Regent University | Roanoke College | Saint Paul's College | Shenandoah University | Southern Virginia University | Sweet Briar College | University of Mary Washington | University of Richmond | University of Virginia | University of Virginia's College at Wise | Virginia Commonwealth University | Virginia Community College System | Virginia Intermont College | Virginia Military Institute | Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University | Virginia State University | Virginia Union University | Virginia Wesleyan University | Washington and Lee University | Westwood College


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