State abbreviation/Postal code: Va./VA
Governor: Bob McDonnell, R (to Jan. 2014)
Lieut. Governor: Bill Bolling, R (to Jan. 2014)
Senators: Mark Warner, D (to Jan. 2015); Tim Kaine, D (to Jan. 2019)
U.S. Representatives: 11
Historical biographies of Congressional members
Secy. of the Commonwealth: Janet Polarek, R (apptd. by gov.)
Treasurer: Manju Ganeriwala, D (apptd. by gov.)
Atty. General: Ken Cuccinelli, R (to Jan. 2014)
Entered Union (rank): June 25, 1788 (10)
Present constitution adopted: 1970
Motto: Sic semper tyrannis (Thus always to tyrants)
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Nicknames: The Old Dominion; Mother of Presidents
Origin of name: In honor of Elizabeth “Virgin Queen” of England
10 largest cities (2010 est.): Virginia Beach, 437,994; Norfolk, 242,803; Chesapeake, 222,209;
Richmond , 204,214;
Newport News , 180,719;
Alexandria , 139,966;
Hampton , 137,436;
Roanoke , 97,032;
Portsmouth, 95,535; Suffolk, 84,585
Land area: 39,594 sq mi. (102,558 sq km)
Geographic center: In Buckingham Co., 5 mi. SW of Buckingham
Number of counties: 95, plus 39 independent cities
Largest county by population and area: Fairfax, 1,081,726 (2010); Pittsylvania 978 sq mi.
State forests: 16 (50,000+ ac.)
State parks/natural areas: 34
2010 resident population est.: 8,001,024
2010 resident census population (rank): 8,001,024 (12). Male: 3,925,983 (49.1%); Female: 4,075,041 (50.9%). White: 5,486,852 (68.6%); Black: 1,551,399 (19.4%); American Indian: 29,225 (0.4%); Asian: 439,890 (5.5%); Other race: 254,278 (3.2%); Two or more races: 233,400 (2.9%); Hispanic/Latino: 631,825 (7.9%). 2010 percent population 18 and over: 76.8; 65 and over: 12.2; median age: 37.5.
See additional census data
The history of America is closely tied to that of Virginia, particularly during the Colonial period. Jamestown, founded in 1607, was the first permanent English settlement in North America and slavery was introduced there in 1619. The surrenders ending both the American Revolution (Yorktown) and the Civil War (Appomattox) occurred in Virginia. The state is called the “Mother of Presidents” because eight U.S. presidents were born there.
The most valuable services industry is community, business and personal services, which produces income through private health care, hotels and motels, computer programming and engineering companies and repair shops.
The greatest growth is the technology sector, with business for computer programmers, consultants, engineers and researchers generated by the federal government. Virginia is home to the world's largest internet service provider.
Tobacco, once the basis of the Virginia economy, has been replaced by livestock and livestock products as the state's most valuable source of agricultural income. Broilers are the state's most valuable product followed by beef cattle. Virginia is a leading producer of turkeys. Vegetable crops include potatoes, sweet potatoes and tomatoes. With large orchards, apples are the state's leading fruit crop.Virginia is a leading crab and oyster producing state. Coal is the state's leading mined product.
Points of interest include Mt. Vernon, home of George Washington; Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson; Stratford, home of the Lees; Richmond, capital of the Confederacy and of Virginia; and Williamsburg, the restored Colonial capital.
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel spans the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, connecting Cape Charles with Norfolk. Consisting of a series of low trestles, two bridges and two mile-long tunnels, the complex is 18 miles (29 km) long. It was opened in 1964.
Other attractions are the Shenandoah National Park, Colonial National Historical Park, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, the Booker T. Washington birthplace near Roanoke, Arlington House (the Robert E. Lee Memorial), Luray Caverns, the Skyline Drive, and the Blue Ridge National Parkway.
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