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The state capital is Virginia was nicknamed the Old Dominion for its loyalty to the exiled Charles II of England during the Puritan Commonwealth and Protectorate (1653–59).It has one of the longest continuous histories among the American states, dating from the settlement of Jamestown in the early 17th century.The Valley and Ridge province consists of linear ridges in its western segment and the Great Appalachian Valley (also known as the Great Valley) in its eastern region.The Blue Ridge province is mostly a region of rugged mountains, part of a range stretching southwestward from Pennsylvania to South Carolina.Wildflowers and berry bushes abound, depending on climate and soils.At the time of European settlement of the Great Valley of Virginia in the early 18th century, large herds of native bison were prevalent along the banks of the Shenandoah River, but, as elsewhere, the bison populations were destroyed as settlers moved westward.

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The state’s climate, generally mild and equable, varies according to elevation and proximity to Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.The Tidewater also contains the area south of the James River, including the Norfolk region and the Potomac River receives the waters of the north-flowing Shenandoah River at Harpers Ferry, in West Virginia, and becomes the state’s border with Maryland on its way to Chesapeake Bay.The Rappahannock, York, and James rivers indent the coast to form the main peninsulas.Although during the American Civil War (1861–65) Richmond served as the capital of the Confederacy and Virginian Robert E.Lee and other generals led Confederate forces, the state developed in the 20th century into a bridge state between the North and the South.

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