History of Virginia
The U.S. State of Virginia was admitted as the 10th state of the union on June 25th, 1788. The state of Virginia was once one of the original 13 colonies of the New World under British rule, and its history reflects this as such. However, before the colonial era, like much of North America, the area comprising modern-day Virginia was home to numbers of ancient indigenous Native American civilizations for over ten thousand years. By the 16th century, the Algonquin had begun establishing permanent settlements with vast farming operations in the region. In addition, the Sioux and Iroquois nations maintained a significant presence in the area. Over the span of a century, Native Americans thrived in the region and had established hundreds of settlements.
By the early 1600s, the New World had been discovered, and many different European empires began exploring the region and claiming land. In 1607, the English founded their first permanent settlement in the New World at Jamestown, Virginia. Almost from its establishment, the settlement at Jamestown faced hard times during starvation and armed conflict with Native American tribes causing the settlement to lose nearly half of its population. However, new initiatives and incentives helped to drive new settlers to the colony, and by the 1650s, Virginia was beginning to take shape. In 1699, Williamsburg was named the colonial capital of Virginia.
As civil unrest and political discontent grew among Virginian colonists under British rule, several leaders emerged with plans to declare independence from Britain and lead a coordinated effort among the thirteen colonies to establish their own country independent of British rule. Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, and Patrick Henry mobilized support among the colonists and colonial government leaders to build confidence behind the cause. Another Virginian, named George Washington, was chosen to lead the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.
After their victory over the British in the war for independence, Virginia again was instrumental in writing the Constitution, with the local James Madison writing the Bill of Rights. Finally, Virginia ratified the constitution in 1788 and, while doing so, was admitted as the 10th state of the union.
In 2016, the United States Census Bureau estimated the population of Virginia to be 8,411,808. The cities of Virginia Beach and Norfolk are the top two most populated cities in the state, with the capital of Richmond among the top five.
Virginia’s economy is multifaceted, with a significant hold on state and federal government, agriculture, military, business, and service sectors. With several federal agencies maintaining headquarters in Virginia, thousands of Virginians find government employment. The Department of Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency, and The National Science Foundation, among others, all contribute to Virginia’s economy. In addition, the presence of these federal government headquarters creates opportunities for those looking to contract with the federal government.
Virginia has become known for its exemplary public education program, which consistently ranks among the top in the nation. In addition, some of Virginia’s publicly funded colleges and Universities also rank among the top in the nation, the likes of which include Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, George Mason University, and the College of William and Mary.