VIRGINIA, one of the thirteen original United States of America, lies in lat. 30° 31' —39° 27' D., and long. 75° 37' w.; bounded on the n. by Pennsylvania, Mary land, and West Virginia, e. by Maryland and the Atlantic, a. by North Carolina and Tennessee, and w. by Kentucky and West Virginia. Area, 38,352 sq. m., or 24,545,280 acres. It is divided Into 99 counties. The chief towns are Richmond (the capital), Petersburg, Norfolk, Staunton, Waynesborough, Alexandria, Portsmouth, Lynchburgh, and Fredericksburg. Chesapeake bay, which divides the s.e. portion of the state, affords deep and spacious harbors. The chief rivers are the Potomac, forming the n.e. boun dary; the James, York, Chickahominy, Rappahannock, Rapidan, Appomattox, Shenan doah, and the .Nottaway and Roanoke, which empty into Albemarle sound in North Caro lina. Eastern Virginia is level or rolling land, rising gradually from the ocean and Chesapeake bay. The w. portion is hilly and mountainous; while through the center from n.e. to s.w. run three ranges of the great Appalachian system of mountains: (1) a low range on the e. commencing with the Bull Run mountains, near the Potomac; (2) the Blue Ridge, more elevated, through which the Potomac passes at Harper's Ferry, and which forms the e. boundary of the Shenandoah valley; (3) the great North Moun tain and the Allegheny, which form for many miles the n.w. boundary of Virginia. The highest peak in the state is Balsam mountain (5,700 ft.) in time Blue mountains. Other peaks rise to 4,000. The valley of Virginia, or of the Shenandoah, is from 1200 to 1500 ft. above the sea. The e. coast is composed of tertiary sands, clays, and marls; further inland, strata of the miocene groups emerge from beneath these, and abut against granite, gneiss, and other metamorphic rocks, at the line of the lowest,falls of the principal rivers, the head of navigation, and sites of the chief towns. In the metamorphic belt are gold mines, copper, iron, etc. There are two upper secondary beits parallel to the Blue Ridge, crossing the James above Richmond, with rich coal deposits. The valley is of the
lower Silurian, with rich limestones, hematite iron, and a fertile soil. On the w. bor ders are mineral springs (hot and cold) sulphur, salt, lead, etc. The western coal region, cut through by large rivers, is one of the finest in the world. There arc also deposits of fine marble, porcelain clay, fire-brick clay, fine granite, soap-stone, slate, etc.
Among the curiosities are the natural bridge in Rockbridge co.; Weir's cave in Angus ta co. ; Blowing cave, which sends out a blast of cold air in summer, and draws in air in winter; flowing and ebbing springs; the natural tunnel, 70 ft. high; and the Hawk's nest, a pillar 1000 ft. high. The climate of the e. and s.e. is hot with malaria in the swampy river bottoms, producing bilious and remittent fevers; the higher regions are cold in winter, but a large portion of Virginia is pleasant and healthful. The soil of the e. portion is light and good, but much exhausted by repeated tobacco-crops. The valley is rich, producing wheat, Indian corn, tobacco, and various fruits. The chief products are tobacco, flour, cotton, wool, coal,. lumber, oysters, market-vegetables and game. The internal commerce is carried on by the James river, several canals, and (1878) 1635 m. of rail way. In 1878 the state debt was $29,350,000, and the taxable real property was assessed at $246,391,193. There is at Richmond a normal school, and a colored normal industrial school at Hampton. A system of free public schools, under the control of a board of education, a state superintendent, county superintendents, and district trustees, has been established in Virginia, but its effective operation has been rather tardy. In 1870, trustees were appointed in ten out of the ninety-nine counties, and a number of free schools were established. There are state institutions for blind, and deaf and dumb. The insane asylum is the oldest in the United' States. The government is republican, with a governor and two houses of the legislature, elected by the suffrages of every male citizen, voting viva ram.