Portal:Virginia

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Introduction

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Virginia (/vərˈɪniə/ (About this soundlisten)), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic 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 estimated population is over 8.54 million, with 36% of them living in the Washington, D.C.–Baltimore 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 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 while the First Wheeling Convention resolved to remain in the Union, leading to a split that created 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

"Battle of the Virginia Capes" by V. Zveg
The Battle of the Chesapeake, also known as the Battle of the Virginia Capes, was a crucial naval battle in the American War of Independence that took place near the mouth of Chesapeake Bay on 5 September 1781, between a British fleet led by Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Graves and a French fleet led by Rear Admiral François Joseph Paul, comte de Grasse.

Sailing south from New York with 19 ships of the line, Graves arrived at the mouth of the Chesapeake early on 5 September to see de Grasse's fleet of 24 ships of the line at anchor in the bay. De Grasse sailed out to meet Graves. In a two-hour engagement after hours of manoeuvring, the lines of the two fleets did not completely meet nor fully engage. The battle was consequently fairly evenly matched.

The battle was tactically inconclusive but strategically a major defeat for the British, since it prevented the Royal Navy from reinforcing or evacuating the blockaded forces of Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown. As a result, Cornwallis surrendered his army after the Siege of Yorktown, resulting in negotiations that eventually resulted in peace and British recognition of the independent United States of America.

Selected biography

Grace Sherwood (c. 1660 – c. 1740), known as the "Witch of Pungo", is the last person known to have been convicted of witchcraft in Virginia. A farmer, healer, and midwife, her neighbors accused her of transforming herself into a cat, damaging crops and causing the death of livestock. Sherwood lived in Pungo, Princess Anne County(today part of Virginia Beach).

She was charged with witchcraft several times. Sherwood's first case was in 1697; she was accused of casting a spell on a bull, resulting in its death, but the matter was dismissed by the agreement of both parties. The following year she was accused of witchcraft by two neighbors; she supposedly bewitched the hogs and cotton crop of one of them. Sherwood sued for slander after each accusation but her lawsuits were unsuccessful and her husband had to pay court costs. At her eventual trial in 1706, Sherwood was accused of bewitching Elizabeth Hill, causing Hill to miscarry. The court ordered that Sherwood's guilt or innocence be determined by ducking her in water. If she sank, she was innocent; if she did not, she was guilty. Sherwood floated to the surface, and was convicted.

Freed from prison by 1714, she recovered her property from Princess Anne County, after which she lived on her farm until her death in 1740 at the age of about 80. On July 10, 2006, the 300th anniversary of Sherwood's conviction, Governor Tim Kaine restored her good name, recognizing that her case was a miscarriage of justice.

This month in Virginia history

Yorktown Victory Monument, Yorktown

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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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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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