Capital City: Richmond
Area Square Miles 39,598
Area Square kilometers 102,558
The Commonwealth of Virginia is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" because it is the birthplace of eight U.S. presidents. The geography and climate of the state are shaped by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay, which are home to much of its flora and fauna.
The area's history begins with indigenous settlements, and the founding of the Virginia Colony in 1607 by the Virginia Company of London as the first permanent New World English colony. Land from displaced Native American tribes, including the Powhatan, and slave labor each played significant roles in Virginia's early politics and plantation economy. Virginia was one of the Thirteen Colonies in the American Revolution and joined the Confederacy in the American Civil War, during which Richmond was the Confederate capital and the state of West Virginia separated. Although traditionally conservative and historically part of the South, both major national parties are competitive in modern Virginia.
The state government, home to the oldest legislature in the Americas, has been repeatedly ranked most effective by the Pew Center on the States. It is unique in how it treats cities and counties equally, manages local roads, and prohibits its Governors from serving consecutive terms. Virginia's economy has many sectors: agriculture in places like the Shenandoah Valley; federal agencies in Northern Virginia, including the Department of Defense and CIA; and military facilities in Hampton Roads, home to the region's main seaport. The growth of the media and technology sectors have made computer chips the state's leading export, with the industry based on the strength of Virginia's public schools and universities. Virginia does not have a major professional sports franchise, but is home to several prominent collegiate sports programs.