Viriginia is located in the south-central portion of the United States. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean (E), North Carolina and Tennessee (S), Kentucky and West Virginia (W), and Maryland and the District of Columbia (N and NE).
Area, 40,817 sq mi (105,716 sq km).
Pop. (2000) 7,078,515, a 14.4% increase since the 1990 census.
Largest city, Virginia Beach.
Motto, Sic Semper Tyrannis [Thus Always to Tyrants].
State bird, cardinal.
State flower, dogwood.
State tree, dogwood.
Virginia's shores, mountains, mineral springs, natural wonders, and numerous historic sites draw millions of visitors annually. Crowning the hilltops and river bluffs from the Chesapeake region west to the Blue Ridge and adding to the grace and elegance of the Virginia landscape are the classic Greek revival homes and public buildings with their stately porticoes. Major tourist attractions include Shenandoah National Park ; Colonial Williamsburg; and Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial. Other historic points of interest include Appomattox Court House National Historical Park; Manassas and Richmond national battlefield parks; Booker T. Washington and George Washington Birthplace national monuments; Colonial National Historical Park and Jamestown National Historic Site, both on Jamestown Island; and several national cemeteries and battlefields
Virginia has an economy that is highly diversified. Agriculture, once its mainstay, now follows other sectors in employment and income generation. Tobacco, Virginia's traditional staple, is still the leading crop, and grains, corn, soybeans, peanuts, sweet potatoes, cotton, and apples (especially in the Shenandoah Valley) are all important. Wine production is also important; but the major sources of agricultural income are now poultry, dairy goods, and cattle, raised especially in the Valley of Virginia. The coastal fisheries are large, bringing in especially shellfishlargely oysters and crabs.
Coal is Virginia's chief mineral; stone, cement, sand, and gravel are also important. Roanoke is a center for the rail transport equipment industry, and a high proportion of the nation's shipyards are concentrated at Hampton Roads , especially in Newport News . Norfolk is a major U.S. naval base, and Portsmouth is a U.S. naval shipyard; Hampton is a center for aeronautical research. N Virginia has become the home of one of the largest concentrations of computer communications firms in the U.S. Other leading industries include tourism and the manufacture of chemicals, electrical equipment, and food, textile, and paper products. Tens of thousands of Virginians work in government, especially in the District of Columbia or in nearby “Beltway” suburbs like Reston and Langley.
*Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, Copyright © 2003.