In the mid-1700s, England still controlled Virginia. In 1776 Virginian Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. The last major battle of the Revolutionary War (1775–1783) was fought in Virginia. In 1787 Virginian James Madison helped write the U.S. Constitution. On June 25, 1788, Virginia became the 10th state.
Virginia’s land is a mix of mountains, valleys, plateaus, and plains. On the Atlantic coast, peninsulas form the eastern edge. Farmland, marshes, and swamps make up much of this coastal region. Shenandoah National Park lies in the northern part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. At the southwestern end of these mountains is Mount Rogers, the state’s highest peak at 5,729 feet (1,746 meters). West of the Blue Ridge Mountains is the Great Valley. It includes many small ridges and valleys. The Appalachian Plateau is in the far west. It has mountains, streams, forests, and coal deposits.
Virginia has a mild, humid climate. The average summer temperature in Virginia is 73 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Celsius). Winter temperatures usually stay above freezing, but temperatures in the mountains can drop to minus 30 degrees F (minus 34 degrees C).