List of Virginia state symbols

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Location of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States of America Map of USA VA.svg
Location of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States of America

This is a list of symbols of the United States Commonwealth of Virginia . The majority of the items in the list are officially recognized symbols created by an act of the Virginia General Assembly and signed into law by the governor. The state nickname, The Old Dominion, is the oldest symbol. However, it is the only symbol that is not official. The other nickname, "Mother of Presidents", is also historic, as eight Virginians have served as President of the United States, including four of the first five: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson. Additionally, Sam Houston, president of the Republic of Texas, Fulwar Skipwith, the president of the Republic of West Florida, and Joseph Jenkins Roberts, the first president of Liberia were from Virginia.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.

Virginia General Assembly legislative body of Virginia, United States

The Virginia General Assembly is the legislative body of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the oldest continuous law-making body in the New World, established on July 30, 1619. The General Assembly is a bicameral body consisting of a lower house, the Virginia House of Delegates, with 100 members, and an upper house, the Senate of Virginia, with 40 members. Combined together, the General Assembly consists of 140 elected representatives from an equal number of constituent districts across the commonwealth. The House of Delegates is presided over by the Speaker of the House, while the Senate is presided over by the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. The House and Senate each elect a clerk and sergeant-at-arms. The Senate of Virginia's clerk is known as the "Clerk of the Senate".

Governor of Virginia head of state and of government of the U.S. commonwealth of Virginia

The Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia serves as the chief executive of the Commonwealth of Virginia for a four-year term. The current holder of the office is Democrat Ralph Northam, who was sworn in on January 13, 2018. His term of office will end in 2022.


The state motto and seal have been official since Virginia declared its independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Virginia is the only state to have the same plant for state flower and state tree, the Flowering Dogwood. [1] The majority of the symbols were made official in the late 20th century.

Kingdom of Great Britain Constitutional monarchy in Western Europe between 1707 and 1801

The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called Great Britain, was a sovereign state in western Europe from 1 May 1707 to 1 January 1801. The state came into being following the Treaty of Union in 1706, ratified by the Acts of Union 1707, which united the kingdoms of England and Scotland to form a single kingdom encompassing the whole island of Great Britain and its outlying islands, with the exception of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The unitary state was governed by a single parliament and government that was based in Westminster. The former kingdoms had been in personal union since James VI of Scotland became King of England and King of Ireland in 1603 following the death of Elizabeth I, bringing about the "Union of the Crowns". Since its inception the kingdom was in legislative and personal union with Ireland and after the accession of George I to the throne of Great Britain in 1714, the kingdom was in a personal union with the Electorate of Hanover.


Flag State seal on a blue background. Defined as:

The flag of the Commonwealth shall hereafter be made of bunting or merino. It shall be a deep blue field, with a circular white centre of the same material. Upon this circle shall be painted or embroidered, to show on both sides alike, the coat of arms of the Commonwealth, as described in § 7.1-26 for the obverse of the great seal of the Commonwealth; and there shall be a white silk fringe on the outer edge, furthest from the flagstaff. This shall be known and respected as the flag of Virginia. (Code 1950, § 7-32; 1966, c. 102.) [2]

1950 [2] [3] Flag of Virginia.svg
Motto Sic semper tyrannis
(Thus always to tyrants)
1776 [3]
Nickname Old Dominion, Mother of States, Mother of Presidentsn/a [B]
Seal The Seal of Virginia. Defined as:

The great seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia shall consist of two metallic discs, two and one-fourth inches in diameter, with an ornamental border one fourth of an inch wide, with such words and figures engraved thereon as will, when used, produce impressions to be described as follows: On the obverse, Virtus, the genius of the Commonwealth, dressed as an Amazon, resting on a spear in her right hand, point downward, touching the earth; and holding in her left hand, a sheathed sword, or parazonium, pointing upward; her head erect and face upturned; her left foot on the form of Tyranny represented by the prostrate body of a man, with his head to her left, his fallen crown nearby, a broken chain in his left hand, and a scourge in his right. Above the group and within the border conforming therewith, shall be the word "Virginia", and, in the space below, on a curved line, shall be the motto, "Sic Semper Tyrannis." On the reverse, shall be placed a group consisting of Libertas, holding a wand and pileus in her right hand; on her right, Aeternitas, with a globe and phoenix in her right hand; on the left of Libertas, Ceres, with a cornucopia in her left hand, and an ear of wheat in her right; over this device, in a curved line, the word "Perseverando."

(Code 1950, § 7-26; 1966, c. 102.)

1950 (original adopted in 1776) [3] Seal of Virginia.svg
Slogan Virginia is for Lovers 1969 [4]
License plate The plate has a completely white background. Virginia is written in red at the top. "400th Anniversary" is written at the bottom with a picture of a ship separating the words. 1607 is written on the left and 2007 is written on the right.2013 [5] [6] Virginiaplate.jpg


Flower American Dogwood
(Cornus florida)
1918 Benthamidia florida2.jpg
Tree American Dogwood
(Cornus florida)
1956 Benthamidia florida2.jpg


Bat Virginia Big-Eared Bat
(C.t. virginianus)
2005 Virginia big-eared bat female.JPG
Bird Northern Cardinal
(Cardinalis cardinalis)
1950 Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) male.jpg
Dog American Foxhound
(Canis lupus familiaris)
1966 AmericanFoxhound.jpg
Fresh Water Fish Brook trout
(Salvelinus fontinalis)
1993 Salvelinus fontinalis.jpg
Insect Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
(Papilio glaucus)
1991 Pristine Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.jpg
Salamander Red Salamander
(Pseudotriton ruber)
2018 [7] Pseudotriton ruber - Red Salamander.jpg
Salt Water Fish Striped Bass
(Morone saxatilis)
2011 Striped Bass 2.jpg
Shell Eastern oyster
(Crassostrea virginica)
1974 OysterBed.jpg


Fossil Chesapecten jeffersonius 1993 Chesapecten Jeffersonius Inside.jpg
Rock Nelsonite 2016 Nelsonite (rock).jpg


Boat Chesapeake Bay deadrise 1988
Drink Milk

George Washington's Rye Whiskey (state spirit)



Milk glass.jpg
Folk dance Square dance 1991 Square Dance Group.jpg
Maple Festival Highland County Maple Festival 2014
Song "Our Great Virginia" (traditional)
"Sweet Virginia Breeze" (popular)
"Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" (emeritus)
Tartan Virginia Quadricentennial Tartan2007


A The flag was adopted in 1861 after secession from the United States. [3]

B The Virginia Colony was nicknamed "The Old Dominion" by King Charles II for its perceived loyalty to the English monarchy during the English Civil War. [8] [ dubious ][ better source needed ]

Charles II of England 17th-century King of England, Ireland and Scotland

Charles II was king of England, Scotland, and Ireland. He was king of Scotland from 1649 until his deposition in 1651, and king of England, Scotland and Ireland from the 1660 Restoration of the monarchy until his death.

English Civil War Civil war in England (1642–1651)

The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars and political machinations between Parliamentarians ("Roundheads") and Royalists ("Cavaliers") principally over the manner of England's governance. The first (1642–1646) and second (1648–1649) wars pitted the supporters of King Charles I against the supporters of the Long Parliament, while the third (1649–1651) saw fighting between supporters of King Charles II and supporters of the Rump Parliament. The war ended with Parliamentarian victory at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651.

C Pictures of Virginia license plates throughout the years can be found here.

Vehicle registration plates of Virginia Virginia vehicle license plates

The U.S. state of Virginia first required its residents to register their motor vehicles and display license plates in 1906. Plates are currently issued by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

D In 1940, Virginia made "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" the state song, but it was retired in 1997 and reclassified as the state song emeritus. [9]

"Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" is a song which was written by James A. Bland (1854–1911), an African American who wrote over 700 songs. It is not an adaption by Bland of the "Carry Me Back to Old Virginia" by the Christy Minstrels, also known by the title; "Floating Scow of Old Virginny", a song copyrighted by Edwin Pearce Christy in 1847. Bland simply appropriated the song title. Bland's song bears no resemblance to it melodically, harmonically, or in the lyrics. The latter song was very popular during the California gold rush and the American Civil War. Many parodies were written on this melody and became popular with miners, Civil War soldiers and civilians. Bland's version, the best known, was written in 1878 when many newly-freed slaves were struggling to find work. The song has become controversial in modern times, with critics viewing the lyrics as racially insensitive.

See also

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  1. "State Trees & State Flowers". United States National Arboreteum. March 5, 2006. Retrieved 2008-03-05.
  2. 1 2 Commonwealth of Virginia (February 1, 1950). "§ 1-506. Flag of the Commonwealth". Code of Virginia . Virginia: Commonwealth of Virginia. Retrieved January 28, 2015. The flag of the Commonwealth shall be a deep blue field, with a circular white centre of the same material. Upon this circle shall be painted or embroidered, to show on both sides alike, the coat of arms of the Commonwealth, as described in § 1-500 for the obverse of the great seal of the Commonwealth; and there may be a white fringe on the outer edge, furthest from the flagstaff. This shall be known and respected as the flag of the Commonwealth. (Code 1950, § 7-32; 1966, c. 102, § 7.1-32; 2005, c. 839.)
  3. 1 2 3 4 "Virginia (U.S.)". Flags of the World. Archived from the original on 2007-08-07. Retrieved 2007-08-13.
  4. "Virginia Is For Lovers". Archived from the original on 2007-08-03. Retrieved 2007-08-22.
  5. Sinclair Broadcast Group. "New Virginia license plates with "Virginia is for Lovers" slogan". WJLA. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  6. "License plates of Virginia". World License Plates. Retrieved 2002-08-22.
  8. "How did Virginia get its nickname the old dominion?". Blurt It. Retrieved 2007-08-13.
  9. "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny". Virginia Historical Society. January 11, 2007. Archived from the original on October 26, 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-12.