The Virginia Portal

Location of Virginia
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...)

Selected article

The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia is the document that defines and limits the powers of the state government and the basic rights of the citizens of the U.S. Commonwealth of Virginia. Like all other state constitutions, it is supreme over Virginia's laws and acts of government, though it may be superseded by the United States Constitution and U.S. federal law as per the Supremacy Clause.

The original Virginia Constitution of 1776 was enacted in conjunction with the Declaration of Independence by the first thirteen states of the United States of America. Virginia was the first state to adopt its own constitution, and the document was widely influential both in the United States and abroad. In addition to frequent amendments, there have been six major subsequent revisions of the constitution (in 1830 , 1851, 1864, 1870, 1902, and the one currently in effect, in 1971). These new constitutions have been part of, and in reaction to, periods of major regional or social upheaval in Virginia. (1830 Virginia Constitutional Convention pictured)

Article archive Read more...

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.

More biographies Read more...

This month in Virginia history

Random Virginia article

Things you can do

Selected image

Credit: David Jones

Luray Caverns in Luray, Virginia, one of the many limestone caverns in the Shenandoah Valley

More selected pictures Read more

Did you know - load new batch

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:




Government

Related portals

Virginia topics

Subcategories

Associated Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:

Wikibooks
Books

Commons
Media

Wikinews 
News

Wikiquote 
Quotations

Wikisource 
Texts

Wikiversity
Learning resources

Wikivoyage 
Travel guides

Wiktionary 
Definitions

Wikidata 
Database

Portals

Purge server cache