The area of Virginia was part of the original territory of the United States. Virginia was the first chartered colony, with the original 1606 charter including the entire Eastern Seaboard. Individual charters provided to other colonies reduced the size of Virginia. In 1784, Virginia ceded area to the United States that became the Northwest Territory in 1787. Virginia ratified the U.S. Constitution on June 26, 1788; it was the tenth of the original 13 states to join the Union. At the time of statehood, Virginia included all of present-day Kentucky and West Virginia. The area of the state was reduced in 1791 by the formation of the District of Columbia and in 1792 when Virginia ceded the area that became the state of Kentucky. Virginia added territory in 1846 when the portion of the District of Columbia taken from Virginia was retroceded to the state. The state of West Virginia, consisting of 48 counties, was established from Virginia on June 20, 1863; in 1866, Congress officially added two more counties (Berkeley and Jefferson) to West Virginia, leaving Virginia with generally the same boundary as the present state. Virginia is one of four states that are legally described as a commonwealth.
Census data for Virginia are available beginning with the 1790 census. The populations shown from 1790 to 1860 are for the present boundary of Virginia. These data include, from 1800 to 1840, the portion of the District of Columbia not formally part of Virginia until 1846, and do not include the area of Kentucky in 1790 or the counties taken to form West Virginia from 1790 to 1860. The population of Virginia as legally existing from 1860 to 1790 was: 1,596,318 in 1860; 1,421,661 in 1850; 1,239,797 in 1840; 1,211,405 in 1830; 1,065,366 in 1820; 974,600 in 1810; 880,200 in 1800; and 821,287 in 1790.
See: Geographic Terms & Concepts
Counties & County Equivalents
There are 134 counties and equivalents in Virginia. There are 95 functioning governmental counties, each governed by a board of supervisors or county board (Arlington County only). The remaining 39 entities are independent cities that are independent of any county and are functioning governmental units at the place level.
Interactive Map of Virginia Counties / Independent Cities | Static Overview Map of Virginia Counties / Independent Cities
There are 550 county subdivisions in Virginia known as minor civil divisions (MCDs). There are 510 districts that are used for the election of county supervisors and are known as either magisterial districts or election districts. Arlington County is not divided into districts so the entire entity is a county subdivision named Arlington. The 39 independent cities are independent of MCDs and serve as county subdivisions.
Places (Incorporated Cities, Towns & Census Designated Places)
Virginia has 591 places; 229 incorporated places and 362 census designated places (CDPs). The incorporated places consist of 39 cities and 190 towns. The 190 towns in Virginia are dependent with county subdivision. Culpeper town is coextensive with two magisterial districts. The 39 cities in Virginia are independent of any county and county subdivision.
The 39 independent cities in Virginia are:
- Buena Vista
- Colonial Heights
- Falls Church
- Manassas Park
- Newport News
- Virginia Beach
Alphabetical List of Cities, Towns, CDPs and Other Populated Places
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q, R | S | T | U, V | W, X, Y, Z
Virginia Civil Features
Virginia Civil Features: Political Subdivisions, Native Areas, Land Grants, etc. - sorted by Census Class Codes.
Metropolitan and Micropolitan Stastical Areas
There are 9 Metropolitan and 3 Micropolitan Statistical Areas in Virginia. VA Metopolitan & Micropolitan Areas
Virginia ZIP Code Tabulation Areas
There are 898 ZIP Code tabulation areas (ZCTAs) in Virginia. View Virginia ZIP Codes and ZIP Code Maps.
Virginia has 1 elementary school district and 137 unified school districts. The Department of Defense runs two unified school districts in Virginia. View Virginia Public and Private Schools.
Virginia has 11 congressional districts. An interactive map shows the contact information for each Representative as well as the boundaries for each Virginia district. View Map of Virginia Congressional Districts.
State Legislative Districts
There are 40 state senate districts and 100 state house districts in Virginia.
American Indian Areas
Virginia has two state recognized American Indian reservations and two state designated tribal statistical areas (SDTSAs).