List of Virginia state symbols: Wikis


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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 only president of the Republic of West Florida, and Joseph Jenkins Roberts, the first president of Liberia were from Virginia.

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.



Type Symbol Year Image
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.)
1861[A] Virginia flag
Motto Sic semper tyrannis
(Thus always to tyrants)
Nickname Old Dominion n/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.)

Slogan Virginia is for Lovers 1969[3]
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. 2002[4] Virginia state license plate


Type Symbol Year Image
Flower American Dogwood
(Cornus florida)
1918 American Dogwood
Tree American Dogwood
(Cornus florida)
1956 American Dogwood


Type Symbol Year Image
Bird Cardinal
(Cardinalis cardinalis)
1950 Cardinal
Butterfly Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
(Papilio glaucus)
1991 Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
Dog American Foxhound
(Canis lupis familiaris)
1966 American Foxhound
Fish Brook trout
(Salvelinus fontinalis)
1993 Brook trout
Insect Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
(Papilio glaucus)
1991 Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
Shell Eastern oyster
Crassostrea virginica
1974 Eastern oyster
Bat Virginia Big-Eared Bat 2005


Type Symbol Year Image
Fossil Chesapecten jeffersonius 1993 Chesapecten jeffersonius


Type Symbol Year Image
Boat Chesapeake Bay deadrise 1988
Drink Milk 1982 Milk
Folk dance Square dance 1991 Square dancers
Song None[D] 1997
Tartan Virginia Quadricentennial Tartan 2007


A The flag was adopted in 1861 after secession from the United States.[2]

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.[5]

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

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.[6]

See also


  1. ^ "State Trees & State Flowers". United States National Arboreteum. March 5, 2006. Retrieved 2008-03-05.  
  2. ^ a b c "Virginia (U.S.)". Flags of the World. Retrieved 2007-08-13.  
  3. ^ "Virginia Is For Lovers". Retrieved 2007-08-22.  
  4. ^ "License plates of Virginia". World License Plates. Retrieved 2002-08-22.  
  5. ^ "How did Virginia get its nickname the old dominion?". Blurt It. Retrieved 2007-08-13.  
  6. ^ "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny". Virginia Historical Society. January 11, 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-12.  

External links



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