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Virginia is one of the original 13 colonies. It is bordered by Maryland to the northeast, the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast, North Carolina and Tennessee to the south, Kentucky to the west, and West Virginia to the northwest. The state capital is Richmond.
Virginia was nicknamed “Old Dominion” for its loyalty to the exiled Charles II of England during the Puritan Commonwealth and Protectorate (1653–59).
It has one of the longest continuous histories among the American states, dating from the settlement of Jamestown in the early 17th century. It was named for Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen, and it is nicknamed “Mother of Presidents” because many US presidents were born there.
Virginia’s geography includes subtropical and temperate forests, divided by the Blue Ridge Mountains in the east of the state. It has rich soil for growing crops in coastal regions, but much of it is forested and less fertile in areas to the west.
The Tidewater region along the coast contains marshes and swamps inland. The Chesapeake Bay separates Virginia from Maryland in the Eastern United States, while most of its capital city – Richmond – is located on the north bank of the James River.
Virginia was one of the earliest English settlements in North America, with Jamestown at its mouth (north side) of the James River. The Commonwealth of Virginia was established in 1787 after the United States gained independence from Great Britain. It became one of the original thirteen states of the US.
Virginia’s history includes many periods of civil war and strife, including the American Civil War (1861–65), during which Richmond was the Confederate capital and about half a million men fought in the area. The heavy industries of ironworking and coal mining had been established in the Appalachian Mountains from around 1870 but declined during the Great Depression in the 1930s.