Virginia History

Virginia History holds a place of honor in the tapestry of our nation’s historic beginnings. The history of Virginia begins with The Virginia Company, the expedition team who traveled to the New World to found the first permanent English colony at Jamestown in 1607. Virginia was one of our nation’s original 13 states and entered the Union in 1788. Colonial Virginia history further states that the state of Virginia was named for Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen of England. Virginia was also home to many of our nation’s founding fathers, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Mason, and Patrick Henry. Furthermore, four of America's first five presidents were Virginians, and during the American Civil War, Virginia's capital of Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy. The nickname for Virginia, “Old Dominion,” even recalls how important Virginia was in American history.

Today, Virginia history can be explored through all of modern-day Virginia’s historically preserved sites and monuments such as Colonial Williamsburg, Historic Jamestown, Alexandria (Bull Run, one of the most important Civil War battles was fought near Alexandria), Arlington National Cemetery, and more.

When visiting Virginia many are most interested in Colonial Virginia History, and its connection to the American Civil War and Civil War battles. For more information regarding the history of Virginia and the American Civil War, visit the Museum of the Confederacy located in Richmond, Virginia’s capitol. Here you can view a rich collection of civilian and military Civil War artifacts relating to the Confederate States of America and the various Civil War battles. Don’t forget to also visit the White House of the Confederacy, administrated by the Museum of the Confederacy, located at the corner of 12th and Clay Streets in the historic Court End of Richmond since 1818.

While the American Civil War and the Civil War battles fought in Virginia are certainly a draw on their own, Virginia is also home to Colonial Williamsburg and Historic Jamestown, two important historic sites in Virginia history that help modern day people understand the life and times of 17th century settlers. Visit one or both during your stay (they are only 9 miles apart) and take part in the daily call to revolution at Colonial Williamsburg.

During your stay in Virginia you’ll also want to see Arlington National Cemetery, an important piece of Virginia history located on 612 acres just outside of our nation’s capitol of Washington, D.C. At the cemetery you will be able to pay homage to the over 200,000 veterans and their dependents buried in the cemetery. You can also visit the various memorial sites within the cemetery including the Tomb of the Unknowns, the gravesite of John F. and Jacqueline B. Kennedy, the Challenger Space Shuttle Memorial, the Confederate Memorial, and the Coast Guard Memorial.

All told, Colonial Virginia history is well preserved in this Southern state as well as more contemporary Virginia history. You’ll be kept busy visiting the dozens of museums all over the state as well as the myriad of historic monuments and towns. When you leave Virginia you may even be planning your next return trip -- just to experience all the history of the “Old Dominion” you couldn’t fit into your itinerary during the first go-round.

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