|The Commonwealth of Virginia is one of the original thirteen colonies of the United States. It’s one of the Mid-Atlantic States, and was the first part of the country to be permanently colonized by the English. Virginia is bordered by West Virginia, Maryland, andWashington, DC to the north; by North Carolina and Tennessee to the south; Kentucky and West Virginia to the west; and by Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Western Virginia is mountainous, covered by the Allegheny and Blue Ridge mountains. The central piedmont region, with its rolling hills, flattens out into the sandy coastal plain toward the Atlantic Ocean.Virginia’s economy is well balanced with diverse sources of income. Southeast Virginia has military installations, cattle, tobacco and peanut farming. Northern Virginia used to host a lot of dairy farms, but now has high concentrations of high tech companies. Software, communications, consulting, and defense contractors make the north home. Coal mining was a huge part of the state’s economy in the 18th and 19th centuries, and there are still some mines active in southwest Virginia.Virginia’s gross state product was $326.6 billion in 2004. The per capita personal income was $35,477 in 2004, about 85% of the national average.
The state was named after Queen Elizabeth I, who was called the “Virgin Queen” because she never married. She authorized the 1584 expedition by Sir Walter Raleigh along the coast. Two centuries later, the British surrendered at the Battle of Yorktown near Chesapeake Bay, granting the former colonies independence. Virginia seceded with the rest of the Confederacy during the American Civil War, and hosted more of that war’s battles than any other state.
Virginia is the birthplace of eight of the United States’ presidents and portions of the original colony subsequently became Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and West Virginia as well as some portions of Ohio.
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