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 Battle of Blandford
), also called the Battle of Petersburg
, took place near Petersburg, Virginia
on 25 April 1781, late in the American War of Independence
. Roughly 2,300 British regulars under the command of Brigadier General William Phillips
defeated about 1,000 militia under Major General Baron von Steuben
The introduction of a British troop presence led by turncoat general Benedict Arnold into Virginia in early 1781 prompted an increase in militia activity to counter the British force. The militia were, however, poorly trained and equipped, and were unable to prevent Arnold from moving freely. Arnold was reinforced in March 1781 by additional troops led by General Phillips, who targeted Petersburg in a raiding expedition. Militia forces led by von Steuben and Peter Muhlenberg decided to make a stand at Blandford, then a separate community.
When the battle was joined, the outnumbered militia provided remarkably stiff resistance to the British advance, and executed a disciplined retreat across the Appomattox River, avoiding a flanking attempt led by John Graves Simcoe. They eventually retreated to Richmond, where they joined forces with Continental Army troops led by the Marquis de Lafayette. The British continued raiding, and eventually joined forces with Charles Cornwallis's army from North Carolina.
This month in Virginia history
- May 2, 1863: During the Battle of Chancellorsville, General Stonewall Jackson is shot behind his own lines, and dies several days later.
- May 5–7, 1864: The Battle of the Wilderness is the first engagement between Generals Grant and Lee.
- May 14, 1607: Jamestown is founded on an island in the James River, upstream of the Chesapeake Bay. (Historic Jamestowne, pictured)
- May 15, 1776: Virginia declares itself independent of the British Empire, prior to the general Declaration of Independence made later that year
- May 23, 1610: The Third Supply arrives in Jamestown with desperately-needed provisions and new colonists, enabling continued survival of the colony
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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), Scott Rigell (R-2nd), Robert C. Scott (D-3rd), Randy Forbes (R-4th), Robert Hurt (R-5th), Bob Goodlatte (R-6th), Eric Cantor (R-7th), Jim Moran (D-8th), Morgan Griffith (R-9th), Frank Wolf (R-10th), Gerry Connolly (D-11th)
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