Hyundai Virginia, VA. Information Page
Virginia is one of the original 13 states of the United States that revolted against British rule in the American Revolution and is part of the South. Its official name is the Commonwealth of Virginia; it is one of four states which use the name commonwealth. Virginia was the first part of the Americas to be colonized by England.
Kentucky and West Virginia were part of Virginia at the time of the founding of the United States, but the former was admitted to the Union as a separate state in 1792 while the latter broke away from Virginia during the American Civil War.
Virginia is known as the "Mother of Presidents," as more U.S. Presidents (8) were born in this state than in any other. Five of them were re-elected to a second term: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe and Woodrow Wilson. William Henry Harrison, John Tyler and Zachary Taylor round out the list of American Presidents from the Commonwealth of Virginia. (Historical footnote: both Harrison and Taylor died while in office.)
At the time of the English colonization of Virginia, among Native American people living in what now is Virginia were the Cherokee, Chickahominy, Mattaponi, Meherrin, Monacan, Nansemond, Nottaway, Pamunkey, Pohick, Powhatan, Rappahannock, Saponi, and Tuscarora. The natives are often divided into three groups. The largest group are known as the Algonquian who numbered over 10,000. The other groups are the Iroquoian (numbering 2,500) and the Siouan.
At the end of the 16th century when England began to colonize North America, "Virginia" was the name Queen Elizabeth I of England (who was known as the "Virgin Queen" because she never married) gave to the whole area explored by the 1584 expedition of Sir Walter Raleigh along the coast of North America, eventually applying to the whole coast from South Carolina to Maine. The London Virginia Company became incorporated as a joint stock company by a proprietary charter drawn up on April 10, 1606. It swiftly financed the first permanent English settlement in the New World which was at Jamestown, named in honor of King James I, in the Virginia Colony in 1607, founded by Captain John Smith. Its Second Charter was officially ratified on May 23, 1609.
Jamestown was the original capital of the Virginia Colony, and remained as such until the State House burned (not the first time) in 1698. After the fire, the colonial capital was moved to nearby Middle Plantation, which was renamed Williamsburg in honor of William of Orange, King William III. Virginia was given its nickname "The Old Dominion" by King Charles II of England at the time of the Restoration for remaining loyal to the crown during the English Civil War.
In 1780, during the American Revolutionary War, the capital was moved to Richmond at the urging of then-Governor Thomas Jefferson, who was afraid that Williamsburg's location made it vulnerable to a British attack.
Patrick Henry served as the first Governor of Virginia, from 1776 to 1779, and again from 1784 to 1786. On June 12, 1776, the Virginia Convention adopted the Virginia Declaration of Rights, a document that influenced the Bill of Rights added later to the United States Constitution. On June 29, 1776, the convention adopted a constitution that established Virginia as a commonwealth independent of the British Empire. In 1790 both Virginia and Maryland ceded territory to form the new District of Columbia, but in an Act of the U.S. Congress dated July 9, 1846, the area south of the Potomac that had been ceded by Virginia was retroceded to Virginia effective 1847, and is now Arlington County and part of the City of Alexandria.
Virginia is one of the states that seceded from the Union to become the Confederacy during the Civil War. When it did, some counties were separated as Kanawha (later renamed West Virginia), an act which was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in 1870. Virginia formally rejoined the Union on January 26, 1870, after a period of post-war military rule.