Virginia is bordered by Maryland and Washington, D.C. to the north and east; by the Atlantic Ocean to the east; by North Carolina and Tennessee to the south; by Kentucky to the west; and by West Virginia to the north and west. The geography and climate of Virginia are shaped by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay, which provide habitat for much of its flora and fauna. In addition to natural beauty, Virginia has several unique locations that draw visitors: The Pentagon, Colonial Williamsburg, Arlington National Cemetery, and Tomb of the Unknowns, Monticello, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and Richland International Speedway.
From a historical perspective, the Jamestown Colony, established in 1607. The celebrated as the culminations of contributions from Native Americans, Europeans, and Africans, each of which had a significant part in shaping Virginia's history. Warfare, including among these groups, has also had an important role. Virginia was a focal point in conflicts from the French and Indian War, the American Revolution and the Civil War, to the Cold War and the War on Terrorism. Stories about historic figures, such as those surrounding Pocahontas and John Smith, George Washington's childhood, or the plantation elite in the slave society of the antebellum period, have also created potent myths of state history, and have served as rationales for Virginia's ideology.
The main industries in the state include farming (tobacco, peanuts, corn, sweet potatoes, poultry, ham), tourism, U.S. Navy warships, mining (coal), lumber (for paper and furniture), and governmental positions. Virginia has the highest concentration of technology workers of any state, and the fourth-highest number of technology workers after California, Texas, and New York. Northern Virginia, once considered the state's dairy capital, now hosts software, communication technology, defense contracting companies, particularly in the Dulles Technology Corridor.
Moving with children or young adults? You’ll be pleased to know there are 176 colleges and universities in Virginia. In the U.S. News & World Report ranking of public colleges, the University of Virginia is second, The College of William & Mary is sixth, and Virginia Tech is 25th. Virginia Commonwealth University is ranked the top public graduate school in fine arts, while James Madison University has been recognized as the top regional public master's program. The Virginia Military Institute is the oldest state military college and a top ranked public liberal arts college. George Mason University is the largest university in Virginia with over 32,000 students. Virginia Tech and Virginia State University are the state's land-grant universities.
Virginia is the most populous U.S. state without a major professional sports league franchise, although two of the major-league teams representing Washington, D.C.—the NFL's Washington Redskins and NHL's Washington Capitals—have their practice facilities and operational headquarters in Northern Virginia.
Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" due to its status as the first colonial possession established in mainland British America, and "Mother of Presidents" because eight U.S. presidents were born there, more than any other state.