Virginia has an old, rich history compared to many of the newer states. As one of the regions first founded by the British and first states to offer defensive driving for ticket dismissal, it’s an extremely important part of the country. Here are some interesting Virginia state facts, from the historic ages and into the modern era.
1. Virginia Colony Facts
Virginia’s Jamestown was the first of the original 13 colonies and was set up for cultivating silk. However, after silk failed as a cash crop, it was replaced by tobacco. Tobacco remains a primary cash crop of Virginia today — and one of the major contributors to the economy.
2. The Origins of Thanksgiving
Many people don’t realize that Thanksgiving is a part of Virginia history; the first Thanksgiving in North America was celebrated in Virginia in 1619. This is two years before the Plymouth Thanksgiving, which is generally known as the “first Thanksgiving.”
3. Virginia Controls the Internet
Up to 70 percent of all internet traffic is said to move through Virginia. It’s consequently considered to be the “Internet Capital” of the world as well as the East Coast Silicon Valley.
4. Shires Once Dominated
Though it may sound like something from a fantasy realm, the Virginia state map was once broken into shires — in fact, it’s the only state to have broken itself up in that way. This tradition originated from England, but later the shires were broken into (far less whimsical) counties.
5. Virginians Love Vanity Plates
Once they get out of traffic school, Virginia citizens buy vanity plates. Coming in at 16%, Virginia has the largest percentage of vanity plate vehicles on the road. It’s said that one in ten vanity plates are located in Virginia.
6. Civil War History
Museums in Virginia account for a lot of Virginia tourism, and it’s no wonder: Virginia was the site of more civil war battles than any other state. A total of 120 major battles were fought in Virginia during the Civil War, and tourists can still see some of the most popular battle fields.
7. 6.5 Million Bottles Sold
In addition to the cash crop of tobacco, Virginia also produces a lot of wine. 6.5 million bottles of wine are sold in Virginia annually, with several romantic vineyards now dotting the state.
8. In Living History
The world’s largest living history museum — Colonial Williamsburg — is situated within Virginia. If you want to see some examples of old time living, this is where you go. Authentic set pieces abound, including restored businesses, homes, and political buildings, and actors are available to educate and entertain.
9. Tough on (Traffic) Crime
Virginia has more traffic lawyers per capita than any other state — and by a significant margin. A commonly known state fact is that Virginia has some of the most stringent traffic laws within the entire country, so drivers should beware when they cross into state lines.
10. Virginia Beach
Virginia Beach is the longest recreational beach in the entire world; it boasts 35 miles of coast. In fact, it currently holds a Guinness World Record for that very fact.
11. The Dogwood
Virginia doesn’t have a state flower. Rather, it has a state tree that doubles as the state flower: the dogwood tree. It’s the only state to combine both.
Virginia has such an incredible and lengthy history that these are only some of the most interesting facts. Both tourists and residents in Virginia can learn a lot about the state through the plentiful network of museums and schools.