Bristol, Virginia is the official Birthplace of Country Music. Photo by Visit Virginia

Seven Things You Might Not Know About Virginia

Whether you have yet to visit or consider yourself a serious fan, Visit Virginia dug up a few facts about Virginia to share, at least some of which are sure to be a surprise!

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Bristol, Virginia is the official Birthplace of Country Music. The famous 1927 Bristol Sessions laid the foundation for country music and continue to influence artists even today. In 1998, the U.S. Congress passed a bill that officially recognized Bristol as the Birthplace of Country Music.

Old Dominion is one of the state's best-known nicknames. The nickname Old Dominion probably derives from the fact that Virginia was the first, and therefore the oldest, of the overseas dominions of the kings and queens of England. And yes, the country music band rapidly securing world-wide fame, Old Dominion, is from Virginia.

Americans were all Virginians at one time. In 1584, as the New World was first being "discovered", Queen Elizabeth I gave Sir Walter Raleigh free reign to colonize all new British territory, which included everything north of Florida (Spanish territory) and south of Canada (French territory). So, naturally, he named it all "Virginia" after "The Virgin Queen." It wasn't until later, as the population grew, that colonies were formed for easier governance.

Virginia is a commonwealth Constitutionally, there is no difference between a state and a commonwealth. Commonwealth originally meant a region governed by the people, not a monarch, and in calling themselves a commonwealth Virginia was declaring their independence from England.

Pocahontas Island, a peninsula located on the Appomattox River in what is now Petersburg, shows evidence of prehistoric life. Evidence suggests it went as far back as 6500 B.C. But by the late 1700's, it had become Virginia's first free black settlement. By the start of the Civil War, Pocahontas was home to the largest free black population of the time and included several stops on the Underground Railroad. Today, Pocahontas is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Pocahontas didn't marry John Smith. She married John Rolfe, the man who introduced tobacco to Virginia in 1613, the colony's first successful agricultural crop.

Eight American presidents came from Virginia That's more than any other state. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor and Woodrow Wilson.

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May 27, 2019

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