Virginia – Old Dominion State

Facts over Virginia

State: Virginia
Abbreviation: VA
Capital: Richmond
State Since: June 25, 1788
Area Codes: 276, 434, 540, 571, 703, 757, 804
Bird: Cardinal
Flower: Dogwood
Largest City: Virginia Beach
Motto: Sic semper tyrannis – Thus always to tyrants
Nickname: Old Dominion State
Population: 7,078,515
Song: Carry me back to Old Virginia
Tree: Flowering Dogwood
Time zone: -5

Adjacent States:

  • Maryland
  • West Virginia
  • Kentucky
  • Tennessee
  • North Carolina

Virginia Travel Information

Virginia (Dutch obsolete: Virginia) is one of the states of the United States. The standard abbreviation for the “The Old Dominion”, as it is nicknamed, is VA. The capital is Richmond. Virginia is one of four states, along with Kentucky, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, that call themselves a commonwealth. This is only part of the historical name of the state, it has no further legal meaning. For fun ideas from the locals, check out Ask a Local!


Virginia is the first colony of America’s 13 colonies. The name refers to the “Virgin Queen” (“Virgin Queen”) Elizabeth I of England. Originally the name referred to a much larger area, the area explored by Sir Walter Raleigh’s expedition of 1584. Jamestown was founded in 1607, the oldest permanent English settlement in the New World. This one still exists. King Charles II nicknamed Virginia, which had remained loyal to the monarchy throughout the English Civil War, “The Old Dominion”.

The colony owed its first economic boom to tobacco cultivation. In the late 18th century, cotton started to become the main export product. To grow tobacco, the planters first hired white workers. These so-called “indentured labourers” were not much different from slaves during their contract period. At the end of their seven-year contract period, these workers were given complete freedom. Most of them then started their own farming business. Around 1700, however, the planters mainly made use of imported Negroes, who remained in slavery for life. Virginia thus became a slave state, where 30 to 40% of the population consisted of black slaves.

Virginia was one of thirteen colonies that revolted against British rule in the 18th century. Virginia became the 10th state of the United States on June 25, 1788. During the American Civil War, Virginia sided with the Confederate States of America, after which the western part of the state seceded to form West Virginia. The first president, George Washington, owned Mount Vernon, a plantation that is now a museum.


The state covers 110,862 km², of which 102,642 km² is land. The state’s highest point is 1,726 m. The state is bordered to the northwest by West Virginia, to the northeast by Maryland and the District of Columbia, to the west by Kentucky and to the south by Tennessee and North Carolina. The west of the state is dominated by the Appalachians, the east, on the other hand, is quite flat. The Maryland border partially coincides with the Potomac River, which flows into Chesapeake Bay. The southeast of the state is located on this bay and on the Atlantic Ocean. A portion of the Delmarva Peninsula, on the other side of the bay, belongs to Virginia but is not connected to it by land.

Demography and economy

In 2000, Virginia had 7,078,515 inhabitants (64 per km²), of which about 69% of the population lives in an urban area. The main conurbations are Norfolk, the capital Richmond and Arlington, which has grown attached to Washington DC. See how many cities are in Virginia. Due to the short distance to Washington DC, a relatively large number of federal government institutions can be found. Langley, for example, is home to the CIA headquarters.

Shenadoah National Park

Shenadoah National Park is an absolute wilderness in which you can go hiking. There is a total of 800 kilometers of hiking trails. Explore the forests, high waterfalls and enjoy the beautiful views. The best view is from Skyline Drive, where you look out over the Blue Ridge Mountains. Please note that many species of wild animals can be found in the park, such as the black bear.

Virginia Beach

Do you like sun, sea and beach? Then you will not be short of anything in Virginia. The beaches begin at First Landing State Park and run all the way to the North Carolina border. On the beach you will find many hotels and resorts where you can relax. There are also several national parks nearby and you can visit Ocean Breeze Waterpark.


Jamestown National Historic Site

In 1607, near Cape Henry in Virginia, the first English colony named Jamestown was established in the New World. The colonists arrived at the Cape with three ships: Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery. The colony managed to survive the difficult period of the initial years and continued to develop. The initial population of the colony was 105 colonists, but after a harsh winter that year, when the next batch arrived, there were only 38.

Most of the new colonists were wealthy English gentlemen or impoverished nobles who were not used to working from home. They thought they would get rich here by searching for gold or selling olive oil, but they were wrong. They therefore stopped working altogether and their morale began to decline, playing cards or dice. But this did not please the new commander of the colony, John Smith, who established strict discipline and had a well dug with drinking water. He also introduced the motto: “He who will not work will not eat”.

From the very beginning, the colonists had problems with the local Indian tribes, who constantly attacked them or demanded the payment of tithes. Another 10 thousand colonists who arrived here in the second wave of settlement did not have a very easy fate. They were either killed by the Indians or died from water poisoning, malaria or other diseases. The colony was saved only by John Rolfe, who brought a new crop to the place – tobacco. Its sale thus ensured the colony’s finances and therefore its survival.

On Virginia Beach, where the English landed in 1607, a large wooden cross was erected and a prayer meeting was also held. In 1935, a new cross was erected on the site of the wooden cross, but a stone one, which is supposed to be a reminder of this important event in life immigrants of that time and their descendants today. The monument depicts scenes from the Battle of the Virginia Capes, when French naval forces invaded and tried to conquer the area. In honor of the people who took part in this battle, a granite memorial plaque was erected here. Fort Story is home to a military reservation that is also part of the Cape Henry Memorial.