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10 Fast Facts About Virginia:
1/ One of the nicknames of Virginia is "The Mother of Presidents", which is apt when you consider that Virginia so far has eight Presidents who were born in the state.
George Washington (April 30th, 1789 – March 4th, 1797)
Thomas Jefferson (March 4th, 1801 – March 4th, 1809)
James Madison (March 4th, 1809 – March 4th, 1817)
James Monroe (March 4th, 1817 – March 4th, 1825)
William H. Harrison (March 4th, 1841 – April 4th, 1841)
John Tyler (April 4th, 1841 – March 4th, 1845)
Zachary Taylor (March 4th, 1849 – July 9th, 1850)
(March 4th, 1913 – March 4th, 1921)
Of these the tenure of Zachary Taylor is perhaps the least well-known, because he only lived for 16 months whilst serving as President, the shortest tenure of any President to date.
Also, Virginia is in danger of soon having to at least share its crown, because Ohio is fast catching up with seven Presidents who were born there.
2/ Virginia is a very heavily wooded state with an estimated 62.2% of the land being forested and accounting for 9.2% of the manufacturing workforce in the state, or 46,946 employees. Of the forested land, about three-quarters is in the hands of farmers and private individuals (76.6%); 12.8% is owned by the government, and 10.6% by the forestry industry.
The state tree of Virginia is the Flowering Dogwood.
3/ If you are a lover of enormous trees then the wooded route between Route 460 and Smith Street in Bedford, Virginia could be worth a visit, because it is home to the largest tree in Virginia and the largest yellow poplar tree (also sometimes called a Giant Tulip tree) in the United States. It is a magnificent specimen, rising to 124 feet high, has a spread of 122 foot and a trunk girth of an impressive 30 feet 3 inches
4/ Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia covers an area of 624 acres and has 400,000 graves.
5/ The official state mammal of Virginia is the American Foxhound, the official state fish is the Brook Trout, and the official state butterfly is the Tiger Swallowtail.
6/ Like many of the other states, the official state flag of Virginia (see above) has a blue background with the seal of the state in the center. It was adopted in 1930 and the principal symbolism behind the representations on the flag is a woman who is meant to represent Virtue (Virginia) as she triumphantly stands over Tyranny (Britain). Towards the right you can see that the crown of the tyrant has fallen, and at the bottom is the motto of the state Thus Always To Tyrants in Latin (Sic Semper tyranis).
7/ USA Today (founded 1982) is based in Virginia and sold 1.83 million copies daily according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation in March 2011. It has its headquarters in McLean, a city in Fairfax County which had a population of 48,115 in the 2010 Census, with USA Today constantly vying with the Wall Street Journal for the widest circulation figures in the United States as a whole.
The Wall Street Journal (founded 1889) claimed 2.1 million copies of daily sales in March 2010, 400,000 of which were online paid subscriptions.
8/ There have been wild ponies roaming on the long barrier island of Assateague Island that is located off the East Coast of Virginia and Maryland for hundreds of years, and the exact explanation of how they got to be there is not really known.
The 'romantic' version is that they were marooned there when a Spanish Galleon with a cargo of horses ran aground. Whilst more prosaic explanations are simply that the horses were strays from colonial times that wandered off and found their own little piece of heaven.
Either way it is estimated that there are 300 wild ponies on Assateague Island, with a certain number rounded up every July for sale to keep the population relatively stable at around that number, and ensure that the Asseateague Island stays viable.
9/ You can find the plantation home of the first President of the United States, George Washington near to Alexandria, Virginia. Whilst it is now designated as a National Historic Landmark, and is open for the public to visit, it is the Mount Vernon Ladies Association of the Union who we principally have to thank for its preservation. The house and grounds were offered to both the US Government and The Commonwealth of Virginia Government to purchase in 1848, 50 years after Washington's death, but the offer was declined, and it was only saved for the nation thanks to the efforts of the Ladies Association.
10/ There were an estimated 31,467 Virginian deaths in the Civil War according to the Library of Virginia compiled database of Virginia's Military Dead (compiled from 998 sources so more accurate than most figures you will see scattered around the internet).
It is sobering to reflect on the fact that whilst the database records the war dead in Virginia from 22 additional wars, conflicts and peace-keeping operations (including both World Wars, Vietnam and Korea, and the recent Iraq War, War on Terror and deaths in Afghanistan) that ALL of these other wars and engagements COMBINED is still only 2/3rds (21,453) of the number of Virginians who died during the Civil War.