Virginia is one of the oldest states in the US, and its history is both extensive and unique. Continue reading to learn 20 interesting facts about the Old Dominion State.
1 In addition to the Old Dominion State, Virginia is also nicknamed the "Mother of Presidents." Eight former presidents have called Virginia home, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson.
2 Virginia received its name from England's "virgin queen" Elizabeth I.
3 Jamestown, Virginia was the first English settlement in the United States, and it was the first capital of Virginia.
4 Although Virginia was home to the first English settlement, it was actually the 10th admitted colony.
5 More than half of all American Civil War battles were fought in Virginia.
6 The Pentagon, which sits on Virginia soil, is the largest office building in the world.
7 Virginia is home to the second-oldest college in the United States. William and Mary was founded in 1693.
8 Virginia is sometimes called the "Birthplace of the Nation" because the American Revolution was ended with a surrender in Yorktown, Virginia.
9 Williamsburg, Virginia houses the first theater built in America. It was completed in 1716.
10 Virginia's capital, Richmond, was also the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War.
11 When Virginia seceded from the Union, the state's residents found themselves divided between Union and Confederate supporters. In protest, 50 Virginian counties split off from the state to form their own state of West Virginia.
12 Kentucky comes from land that once belonged to Virginia. In fact, Kentucky used to be Kentucky County, Virginia until 1792.
13 The Virginia State Capitol is the oldest legislative body in the western hemisphere. It was designed by Thomas Jefferson.
14 Apart from Presidents, famous Virginia natives include Rob Lowe, Patsy Cline, Gabby Douglas, Katie Couric, June Carter, Booker T. Washington, and Ella Fitzgerald.
15 Virginia's state flower is the flowering dogwood, and its state bird is the cardinal.
16 Berkeley, Virginia claims to have had the first Thanksgiving two years before the Plymouth Thanksgiving in 1621.
17 More Virginians work for the government than in any other industry.
18 Virginia cultivated the first peanuts in the country in the 1840s.
19 Virginia handles roughly 70% of the world’s internet traffic through massive data centers.
20 Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home in Virginia, is the only private home in the country to be named a World Heritage Site.