Virginia, a middle Atlantic state of the American Union, separated from Maryland by the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay, and bounded S. by North Carolina and Tennessee, W. and NW. by Kentucky and West Virginia. Its greatest length from E. to W. is 475 miles; its greatest width 190 miles; and its land area 40,125 sq. m., with a water area of 2325. The surface consists of a series of belts parallel to the coast on the E. and the Appalachian Mountains on the W. The fifth and highest of these belts, styled 'Appalachia,' is a series of long narrow valleys 2000 feet or more above the sea, enclosed between the ranges of the Alleghany Mountains. The chief rivers are the Potomac, Rappahannock, York, James, Blackwater, and Roanoke. A seventh of the state is drained by the Kanawha or New River, Holston, and Clinch, which feed the Ohio. Virginia is famous for its mineral springs, and has its Natural Bridge, in Rockbridge county, and many caverns. Except on the swampy coast the climate is pleasant and healthful. The soils are mostly fertile, and the state contains extensive forests. Waterfowl, partridges or quails, pigeons, grouse, wild turkeys, and deer are plentiful. The fisheries supply large quantities of fish; oyster-culture is important. Indian corn, oats, and barley are extensively grown. Tobacco has always been a staple crop, and the 'Virginia leaf is noted throughout the world. Among the mineral products are building stones, iron, lead, and zinc ores, gold (once largely worked), and bituminous and anthracite coal. Virginia has 100 counties and eighteen cities independent of county govern, ment. The chief cities are Richmond (the capital), Norfolk, Petersburg, Roanoke, Newport News, Lynchburg, Portsmouth, Danville, and Alexandria. The history of Virginia is specially romantic and heroic. It was here that the first lasting colony was established in 1607 by the English. At Jamestown was held the first representative assembly in America. With its early period are associated the names of Captain John Smith and Pocahontas. Such was the prosperity of the colony that at the end of the colonial period Virginia was the most populous and wealthy of the thirteen colonies. In the protest against the Stamp Act and the encroachments of Great Britain Virginia took the lead, and in the revolutionary struggle furnished such noted sons as Washington, Jefferson, Patrick Henry, the Lees, and Madison. At Yorktown Corn-wallis's surrender put an end to the contest. In the civil war Virginia furnished the Confederate commander, Robert E. Lee, and on its soil the last battle was fought and the final surrender made. Of the first twenty-one presidents seven were Virginians. Pop. (1800) 880,200; (1860) 1,596,31S; (1870, after the separation of West Virginia) 1,225,163; (1880) 1,512,565; (1900)
1,854,180 (660,722 coloured). See The New Virginians (2 vols. Edin. 1S81); and other works by Bruce (Richmond, 1891) and Drake (1894).
Virginia, West. See West Virginia.