Virginia ( (listen)), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States located between the Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains. The geography and climate of the Commonwealth are shaped by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay, which provide habitat for much of its flora and fauna. The capital of the Commonwealth is Richmond; Virginia Beach is the most populous city, and Fairfax County is the most populous political subdivision. The Commonwealth's estimated population is over 8.5 million.
The area's history begins with several indigenous groups, including the Powhatan. In 1607 the London Company established the Colony of Virginia as the first permanent New World English colony. Virginia's state nickname, the Old Dominion, is a reference to this status. Slave labor and the land acquired from displaced Native American tribes each played a significant role in the colony's early politics and plantation economy. Virginia was one of the 13 Colonies in the American Revolution. In the American Civil War, Virginia's Secession Convention resolved to join the Confederacy, and Virginia's First Wheeling Convention resolved to remain in the Union; that led to the creation of West Virginia. Although the Commonwealth was under one-party rule for nearly a century following Reconstruction, both major national parties are competitive in modern Virginia.
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail
, generally known as the Appalachian Trail
or simply the A.T.
, is a marked hiking trail in the eastern United States extending between Springer Mountain
and Mount Katahdin
. The trail passes through the states of Georgia, North Carolina
, West Virginia
, New Jersey
, New York
, New Hampshire
, and Maine.
The precise length of the trail changes over time as trails are modified or added. The total length is approximately 2,200 miles (3,500 km). The path is maintained by 30 trail clubs and multiple partnerships, and managed by the National Park Service and the nonprofit Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The majority of the trail is in wilderness, although some portions traverse towns, roads and cross rivers.
The Appalachian Trail is famous for its many hikers, some of whom, called thru-hikers, attempt to hike it in its entirety in a single season. Many books, memoirs, web sites and fan organizations are dedicated to this pursuit.
This month in Virginia history
- September 11, 2001: Flight 77 is steered into the Pentagon Building in Arlington, Virginia, killing 189, as part of the September 11 attacks.
- September 19, 1676: The capital city of Jamestown is burnt to the ground during Bacon's Rebellion, by rebels under the leadership of Nathaniel Bacon
- September 24, 1960: USS Enterprise (pictured), the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, is christened and launched at the Newport News Shipbuilding yard.
- September 27, 1903: The Wreck of the Old 97 occurs while the train near Danville, and is later immortalized by a popular ballad.
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- Capital: Richmond, Virginia
- Total area: 110,862 sq.mi
- Highest elevation: 5,729 ft (Mount Rogers)
- Population (2010 census) 8,001,024
- Date Virginia joined the united States: June 25, 1788
- Governor: Ralph Northam (D)
- Lieutenant Governor: Justin Fairfax (D)
- Attorney General: Mark Herring (D)
- Senators: Tim Kaine (D), Mark Warner (D)
- Representatives: Rob Wittman (R-1st), Elaine Luria (D-2nd), Bobby Scott (D-3rd), Donald McEachin (D-4th), Denver Riggleman (R-5th), Ben Cline (R-6th), Abigail Spanberger (D-7th), Don Beyer (D-8th), Morgan Griffith (R-9th), Jennifer Wexton (D-10th), Gerry Connolly (D-11th)
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