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The Virginia Portal

Location of Virginia

Virginia (/vərˈɪnjə/ (About this soundlisten)), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions of the United States, between the Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains. 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 population was over 8.65 million, with 36% of them living in the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area.

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 English colony in the New World. Virginia's state nickname, the Old Dominion, is a reference to this status. Slave labor and land acquired from displaced native tribes fueled the growing plantation economy, but also fueled conflicts both inside and outside the colony. Virginia was one of the Thirteen Colonies during the American Revolution, becoming part of the United States in 1776. The state was split by the American Civil War in 1861, when Virginia's state government in Richmond joined the Confederacy, but many in the state's western counties remained loyal to the Union, helping form the state of West Virginia in 1863. Although the Commonwealth was under one-party rule for nearly a century following Reconstruction, both major political parties are competitive in modern Virginia. (Full article...)

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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.

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Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 (April 2, 1743 O.S.) – July 4, 1826) was an American Founding Father, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, and the third President of the United States. Jefferson served in the Continental Congress representing Virginia, then as a wartime Governor of Virginia. After the war ended, Jefferson served as a diplomat stationed in Paris, and later United States Minister to France. Elected president in the Revolution of 1800, he oversaw the purchase of the vast Louisiana Territory, and sent the Lewis and Clark Expedition to explore the new west.

A leader in the Enlightenment, Jefferson was a polymath who spoke five languages fluently and was deeply interested in science, invention, architecture, religion and philosophy, interests that led him to the founding of the University of Virginia. He designed his own mansion on a 5,000 acre plantation near Charlottesville, Virginia, which he named Monticello. Jefferson was a skilled writer and corresponded with many influential people in America and Europe throughout his adult life. Though Jefferson has been criticized by many modern day scholars over the issue of slavery, he remains rated as one of the greatest U.S. presidents.

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Lithograph depicting the crossing of the Rappahannock River during the Battle of Fredericksburg

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Interior of St Andrew's Catholic Church in Roanoke, Virginia.jpg
Credit: Jovianeye

Interior of St Andrew's Catholic Church in Roanoke, Virginia

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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

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Virginia Quarter


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