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The Commonwealth of Virginia is located along the Atlantic coast of the eastern United States. According to 2006 U.S. census estimates, there are 7,642,884 residents living in Virginia. It is one of the original thirteen colonies and some refer to it as the Mother of States, because parts of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia were at one time part of Virginia. Others call Virginia the Mother of Presidents because eight former U.S. presidents were born there. Some say Virginia is for lovers.In 1607, Christopher Newport and Captain John Smith founded the first permanent settlement in the New World at Jamestown, Virginia. Originally, the Colony of Virginia included the whole area explored by Sir Walter Raleigh in his 1584 expedition. The commonwealth is named after Queen Elizabeth I of England, who was known as the Virgin Queen, for never having gotten married.
The original capital city in Virginia was Jamestown. After the State House burned down (again) in 1698, the capital city moved to nearby Middle Plantation, which was renamed Williamsburg. Due to fears that Williamsburg was vulnerable to British attack, the capital city moved again in 1780, this time to Richmond.On April 17, 1861, Virginia seceded from the Union. In June of the same year, it handed over its military after joining the Confederacy. Four months later, most of the northwestern counties of Virginia separated from the rest of Virginia and became the state of Kanawha (later West Virginia). Richmond was the Capital of the confederate states during the Civil War. Virginia was host to the largest number of battles during the Civil War. The fact that Virginia was the richest southern state before the Civil War may be the main reason it recovered so quickly after the war.
Though traditionally based on agriculture, today, Virginia’s economy is diverse and steadily growing. Forbes Magazine voted Virginia as having the Best State for Business in 2006 based on economic growth, business costs/incentives and quality of life. Included in the new economic model of Virginia are sources of revenue that stem from military bases and cattle, tobacco and peanut farming in the southwest to software production, consulting and defense industry in the more affluent north. Virginia has adapted well to change throughout its history and its ability to continue adapting will ensure its continued success.


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