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Location of Virginia
Location of Virginia

Virginia, 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 original Thirteen Colonies in the American Revolution, and battles in Virginia secured the independence of the United States. During the American Civil War, Virginia was split when the state government in Richmond joined the Confederacy, but many of the state's northwestern counties wanted to remain with the Union, helping form the state of West Virginia in 1863. Although the Commonwealth was under one-party rule for nearly a century following the Reconstruction era, both major political parties are competitive in modern Virginia. (Full article...)

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Oceanfront at Virginia Beach
Virginia Beach is an independent city located in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area of the Commonwealth of Virginia, on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Although Fairfax County is the most populous jurisdiction in the state, Virginia Beach is the most populous city in the state, as well as the 39th largest city in the United States, with a population of 447,489 in 2012. Virginia Beach is the easternmost city of the Hampton Roads area that makes up the core of the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC MSA.

Virginia Beach is a resort city with miles of beaches and hundreds of hotels, motels, and restaurants along its oceanfront. Every year the city hosts the East Coast Surfing Championships as well as the North American Sand Soccer Championship, a beach soccer tournament. It is also home to several state parks, several long-protected beach areas, three military bases, a number of large corporations, two universities, Edgar Cayce's Association for Research and Enlightenment, and numerous historic sites. Near the point where the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean meet, Cape Henry was the site of the first landing of the English colonists, who eventually settled in Jamestown.

The city is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as having the longest pleasure beach in the world. It is located at the southern end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, the longest bridge-tunnel complex in the world.

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Charles Bare Gatewood.jpg
First Lieutenant Charles Bare Gatewood (April 5, 1853 – May 20, 1896) was an American soldier born in Woodstock, Virginia. He served in the United States Army in the 6th Cavalry after graduating from West Point. Upon assignment to the American Southwest, Gatewood led platoons of Apache and Navajo scouts against renegades during the Apache Wars. In 1886 he played a key role in ending the Geronimo Campaign by persuading Geronimo to surrender to the army.

Beset with health problems due to exposure in the Southwest and Dakotas, Gatewood was critically injured in the Johnson County War and retired from the Army in 1895, dying a year later from stomach cancer. Before his retirement he was nominated for the Medal of Honor, but was denied the award. He was portrayed by Jason Patric in the 1993 film Geronimo: An American Legend.

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Upper-cascades - Virginia - ForestWander.jpg
Credit: ForestWander

Upper Cascades at the Cascades National Scenic Trail in Giles County, 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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