geographical name \vər-ˈji-nyə, -ˈji-nē-ə\

Definition of VIRGINIA

state E United States Richmond area 40,767 square miles (105,586 square kilometers), pop 8,001,024
Vir·gin·ian \-nyən, -nē-ən\ adjective or noun


geographical name    (Concise Encyclopedia)

State, southeastern U.S. Area: 40,600 sq mi (105,154 sq km). Pop. (2009 est.): 7,882,590. Capital: Richmond. Virginia is located on the central Atlantic seaboard and is bordered by Maryland to the northeast, North Carolina and Tennessee to the south, Kentucky to the west, West Virginia to the northwest, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. The coastal plain, also known as the Tidewater, lies in the east; the Piedmont province, a region of rolling hills, is in the middle of the state; and the Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains lie to the west. The Potomac, Shenandoah, James, and Roanoke rivers flow through the state. Virginia was inhabited by American Indians when England's first American colony was founded there in 1607 at Jamestown. Virginia's citizens were among the leaders of the American Revolution, and the state later contributed four of the country's first five presidents. In 1788 it became the 10th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. Slavery was an important part of Virginia's economy; Nat Turner's slave insurrection occurred there in 1831. In 1861, soon after the start of the American Civil War, Virginia seceded from the Union. Richmond became the capital of the Confederacy (see Confederate States of America), and Virginia was the chief battleground throughout the war. The western part of the state refused to secede; it split off to become West Virginia in 1863. Virginia was readmitted to the Union in 1870. Strife over state debt took over political life for the next decades, but after World War I the state's prosperity increased. World War II brought thousands to Virginia's military camps and caused the Norfolk area to experience rapid growth. The federal government is the state's largest employer, while manufacturing is the second largest. Hampton Roads is one of the nation's leading ports. Tourism is important; Virginia's many historical sites include Colonial Williamsburg, George Washington's Mount Vernon, Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, Civil War battlefields, and Gen. Robert E. Lee's house, located within the grounds of what is now Arlington National Cemetery. The College of William and Mary (founded 1693) is the country's second oldest college; the University of Virginia was largely the creation of Thomas Jefferson.


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