Virginia Facts and Trivia

  1. Virginia was named for England’s “Virgin Queen,” Elizabeth I.
  2. The major cash crop of Virginia is tobacco and many of the people who live there earn their living from the tobacco industry.
  3. Jamestown, the first of the original 13 Colonies was founded for the purpose of silk cultivation. Silk to be traded with the Court of King James. After blight fungus destroyed the mulberry trees (silkworm food), sericulturist planted tobacco as a cash crop.
  4. Jamestown was the first English settlement in the U.S. It was also the first capital of Virginia.
  5. Virginia is known as “the birthplace of a nation”.
  6. Arlington County was originally part of the ten-mile square parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be part of Washington, DC. The U.S. Congress returned that portion of the land to the “Commonwealth of Virginia” following a referendum among its citizens.
  7. Eight United States Presidents were born in Virginia: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson.
  8. Six Presidents’ wives were born in Virginia: Martha Washington, Martha Jefferson, Rachel Jackson, Letitia Tyler, Ellen Arthur, Edith Wilson.
  9. Seven Presidents are buried in Virginia: Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Tyler, Taft and Kennedy.
  10. The present state capital in Richmond was also the capital of the Confederacy.
  11. The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg is the second oldest in the United States, it was founded in 1693.
  12. The State nickname is “Old Dominion”.
  13. The State flower is not really a flower, but the blossom of the dogwood tree, which is also the state tree.
  14. The first peanuts grown in the United States were grown in Virginia.
  15. The Blue Ridge Mountains are located in Virginia.
  16. The American Revolution ended with the surrender of Cornwallis in Yorktown.
  17. On March 9, 1862 at Hampton Roads, Virginia, the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia (formerly the USS Merrimac) met in one of the most famous naval engagements in US history. Their battle, the first of its kind between metal armored vessels, changed for all time the nature of naval warfare.
  18. 10th of the 13 original colonies, Virginia was admitted to the union June 25, 1788.
  19. The state motto is “Sic Semper Tyrannis”. (Thus always to tyrants)
  20. Union Passenger Railway was the first successful electric street railway transit agency. It was formed in 1888 at Richmond.
  21. The states of Kentucky & West Virginia were formed from sections of the state of Virginia
  22. About 1/2 of all the people in the United States live within a 500 mile radius of the Capital of Virginia.
  23. Virginia has had 3 capital cities: Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Richmond.
  24. Richmond was also the capital of the Confederate States during the Civil War
  25. Over 1/2 the battles fought in the civil war were fought in Virginia. Over 2,200 of the 4,000 battles.
  26. In Virginia more people work for the United States government than any other industry. About 1/4 of Virginia’s workers.
  27. Virginia’s largest private employer is also the world’s largest ship building yard.
  28. Virginia is the home base for the United States Navy’s Atlantic Fleet.
  29. The tomb of the Unknown Soldier is in Arlington National Cemetery.
  30. The Pentagon building in Arlington is the largest office building in the world.
  31. The Pentagon has nearly 68,000 miles of internal telephone lines.
  32. Dulles International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world.
  33. General Thomas Jackson got his nickname “Stonewall” in Manassass. The site of 2 major Civil War Battles.
  34. The first Thanksgiving in North America was held in Virginia in 1619.
  35. Yorktown is the site of the final victory of the American Revolution.
  36. Virginia has been dubbed the “Internet Capital of the world”.
  37. The Atlantic headquarters of NATO is located in Norfolk.
  38. The Great Dismal Swamp is in Virginia near the North Carolina border.
  39. Virginia Beach is the largest city in Virginia. Its population is expected to surpass 500,000 residents by 2010.
  40. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is the world’s largest bridge-tunnel complex.
  41. Wild Ponies have roamed freely on Assateague Island for centuries.
  42. The world’s only oyster museum is on Chincoteague Island.
  43. Busch Garden’s Old Country Theme Park is located near Williamsburg.
  44. President Thomas Jefferson designed his own home and called it Monticello.
  45. George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, is located in Virginia.
  46. Robert E. Lee, Commanding General of the Army of Northern Virginia, surrendered his men to Ulysses Grant, General-in-Chief of all United States forces, on April 9, 1865 at the Appomattox Court House.
  47. Patrick Henry made his “Give me Liberty or Give me Death” speech in St. John’s Church in Richmond.
  48. Bristol is legally two cities but they share the same main street. One in Virginia and one in Tennessee each with its own government and city services.
  49. Waynesboro was the site of the last major battle of the Civil War in central Virginia, the Battle of Waynesboro in 1865 between Generals Jubal Early and Philip Sheridan.
  50. Colvin Run Mill in Great Falls has an early 19-century wooden water wheel and operating gristmill. The old Miller’s House features an exhibit about the process of milling and the families who operated the mill.

Thanks to: Kay Koehler, Darla Boyd, Beth Markley