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Virginia

History Facts about Virginia

Colonial Era

Virginia is the site of the first permanent English-speaking settlement in North America at Jamestown in 1607. Here, the English met the Powhatans, a chiefdom of Algonquian Indians who lived in central and eastern Virginia. The New World's first English women and Africans came to Jamestown in 1619, the year and place where the Western Hemisphere's first representative legislature met. Virginia was the largest, most populous and prosperous of the original 13 colonies.

Virginia leaders including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, George Mason and Patrick Henry, played a major role in the Revolutionary War-era events and in the writing of documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

At Yorktown on Oct. 19, 1781, British forces under General Charles Cornwallis surrendered to the combined French and American forces serving under the command of General George Washington.

Mother of States & Mother of Presidents

Eight states were formed in whole or in part from Virginia, including Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky and Pennsylvania. Virginia has produced more U.S. presidents than any other state: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor and Woodrow Wilson.

Civil War:

More major battles of the American Civil War were fought in Virginia from 1861 through 1865 than in any other state. Today, one-third of America's most important Civil War battlefields are in Virginia, and most are open to the public.

20th-Century History

America's first seven astronauts trained at NASA Langley Air Force Base in Hampton.

Blacksburg, home of Virginia Tech, is renowned as one of the world's first electronic villages.

Newport News is the site of the nation's most powerful continuous electron beam accelerator, located at the Thomas Jefferson National Acceleration Facility.

Elizabeth Jordan Carr, the first test tube baby born in the U.S., was delivered Dec. 28, 1981, at Norfolk General Hospital.

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Document Information
Source: Virginia Tourism Corporation; magazineUSA.com
Last modified: 20070501
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