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Virginia is a state of the United States, in the middle of the East
Coast. The state has an area of 110,792 square kilometers and 8,470,020
residents (US Census, 2017). The capital is Richmond.
Virginia is also called The Old Dominion State because Karl 1 gave
the area the status of dominion.
The coastal plain, Atlantic Costal Plain, is strongly cut
within Chesapeake Bay, and drained by the James River and Potomac River at the
border to Maryland in the north. Westward, the country rises to
the Appalachian parallel mountain ridges and valleys, including dense
wooded Blue Ridge (1746 meters above sea level) and the fertile Shenandoah
Valley. Farther west, at the Kentucky border, is reached the Cumberland Plateau,
the plateau country west of the Great Appalachian Valley.
The climate is temperate inland; subtropical in the southeastern coastal
areas. Richmond has an average temperature of 26 °C in July, 4 °C in January and
1065 millimeters of precipitation. The coastal areas in the southeast are
marshy, with vegetation of myrtle and cypress. Farther west, deciduous trees
such as oak, ash, hickory and witch hazel grow; in the Appalachians a lot
of beech and spruce.
Of the population, 69.7 percent are considered white (including 9.4 percent
Hispanic) and 19.8 percent are black (US Census, 2017). The population grew by
15 per cent from 1970 to 1980, 15.7 per cent in the period 1980–1990 and 14.4
per cent in the period 1990–2000. 75.5 percent of the population lives in
cities (2010), the most important being Norfolk and the capital Richmond.
The state has many universities and institutions of higher education; The
largest are the Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg (founded 1872),
Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond (1838) and the University of
Virginia (1819) in Charlottesville. The most famous university is The College of
William and Mary in Williamsburg, a state university founded in 1693, the
nation's second oldest college. The largest denominations
are Baptists and Methodists.
Virginia sends two senators and eleven representatives
to the Washington Congress in Washington.
On the coastal plain tobacco, maize and peanuts are grown, in the northwest
(Shenandoah Valley) a lot of fruit (apples, peaches) is grown. Cattle and pig
breeding dominate the livestock. Coal is the most important mining product, and
lead, zinc and titanium ore are also extracted. The tobacco, plastics and
shipbuilding industries are the most important industries. The large number of
military installations in Virginia makes the defense one of the state's largest
employers. The state also has significant tourism revenues.
Virginia became the 10th state in the United States in 1788. Already in
1583–1588 Sir Walter Raleigh made the first attempt to found an
English colony in North America. The area he chose, he named Virginia (virgin
land) in honor of the "virgin queen"Elizabeth 1.
Following this failed colonization attempt, the first permanent settlement
was established in 1607 with the founding of Jamestown at the outlet of
the James River. Virginia was crowned colony in 1624, and based its growth
on tobacco cultivation and slaveholding. After Cromwell's takeover of power
in England in the 1650s, many aristocrats also moved to Virginia. The area was a
center for resistance to the British taxation of the colonies, and several of
the leaders of the American liberation struggle came from here.
Virginia played a significant role in the first year of the union. Four of
America's first five presidents came from Virginia. The largest, eastern part of
Virginia broke out of the union in 1861, and Richmond was made the capital of
the Confederates ("Southern States"). Virginia became a central battleground in
the Civil War between 1861 and 1865. However, the western part of Virginia
elected the "Northern States"party, and in 1863 became a member of the Union as
the State of West Virginia. Virginia was re-elected to the Union in 1870.
In the 1900s, Virginia, like other southern states, experienced racial
problems. In 1988, Virginia elected the first black governor of the United
States, Democrat Douglas Wilder.