State Facts

Texas | Ohio | Georgia | Virginia


Texas, one of the West South Central states of the United States. It borders Mexico on the southwest and the Gulf of Mexico on the southeast. To the west is New Mexico, to the north and northeast lie Oklahoma and Arkansas, and Louisiana bounds Texas on the east. Austin is the capital of Texas. Houston is the largest city.

Texas is the size of Ohio, Indiana, and all the New England and Middle Atlantic states combined, and its vast area encompasses forests, mountains, deserts and dry plains, and a long, humid, subtropical coastal lowland. Texas's wealth of mineral resources is almost unequaled among the other states. Its rapid economic development stimulated by these resources and its vast size have made Texas an American legend. Oil wells, chemicals, ranches, and cattle have played a major part in that legend.

For more than 100 years, Texas was part of the Spanish empire in America. When Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821, Texas was for a while joined to Mexico. The section from San Antonio southward retains the flavor of the Hispano-Mexican period in its architecture, foods, and festivals.

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Ohio, one of the East North Central states of the United States. Ohio is located on several main routes between the eastern and western United States. Therefore it attracted settlers from all parts of the country and developed a culture significant for its diversity. Ohio first developed as an agricultural region, and more than half of the land is still devoted to growing crops and raising livestock. The state's position on major east-west highways and railroads and its access to Lake Erie and the Ohio River, however, offered a large potential market for industrial production. This strategic location, combined with the presence of abundant natural resources and potential sources of power, made possible the rise of the industrial concentrations that have made Ohio a leading industrial state.

Ohio takes its name from the Ohio River, which forms the southern and southeastern and part of the eastern boundaries of the state. The word Ohio is thought to derive from an Iroquois word meaning either great or beautiful river. Ohio is popularly nicknamed the Buckeye State because of the many buckeye trees that grew within its borders when settlers arrived. Some of the trees, a variety of horse chestnut, were used to build log cabins. The nickname Mother of Modern Presidents refers to the fact that Ohio was the birthplace of Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, and Warren G. Harding.

Ohio entered the Union on March 1, 1803, as the 17th state. Columbus is Ohio's capital and largest city. Cleveland is at the heart of Ohio's largest metropolitan area.

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Georgia (state), one of the South Atlantic states of the United States. Founded in 1733, Georgia was the last of the 13 original English colonies to be established in what is now the United States. Georgia emerged as a state during the American Revolution (1775-1783), and Georgians were among the first signers of the Declaration of Independence. On January 2, 1788, Georgia became the first Southern state to ratify the Constitution of the United States. Georgia developed slowly and did not begin to prosper until late in the 18th century. However, during the first half of the 19th century Georgia flourished as an agricultural state, with vast cotton and rice plantations. By 1860 Georgia was one of the wealthiest Southern states, and stately plantation homes graced the rolling hills of the coastal and central sections of the state.

The American Civil War (1861-1865) and its aftermath were major turning points in the economic and social life of Georgia. The state was devastated during the war, and after the abolition of slavery the plantation system was replaced by tenant farm neo-plantation form of agriculture that still focused on traditional agricultural products such as cotton, tobacco, peanuts, and grain crops. The state remained poor, and during the Great Depression of the 1930s it was particularly devastated as the boll weevil decimated the cotton economy. Migration to other states seemed to be one of the few ways of overcoming poverty. The state remained primarily agricultural in nature until the early 1950s, when the development of industry began to accelerate. By the early 1960s, industrial production far outranked agriculture as the chief source of income. In the mid-1990s Georgia had an economy based on manufacturing and service industries. Atlanta, the largest city and capital of the state, serves as an important economic center of the South and the nation.

The early colony was named in honor of King George II of Great Britain. Over the years the state has acquired many nicknames. Nicknames include the Buzzard State, in commemoration of an early state law to protect buzzards; and the Goober State, for the state's enormous annual peanut crop. Georgia is sometimes referred to as the Cracker State, a term of uncertain origin. Several 19th-century authorities attributed the term to "the crackers, the lowest and most ignorant of Georgia citizens prior to the abolition of slavery." It may also stem from the custom of wagoners who cracked whips over the heads of their oxen. Two nicknames, however, are gaining frequency in use. Georgia is known as the Peach State, for the famous peaches grown there, and the peach emblem is on the state's automobile license plates. Georgia is also known as the Empire State of the South. This nickname alludes to New York, which is known as the Empire State, and reflects Georgia's size and the rapid development of its economy.

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Virginia, in full Commonwealth of Virginia, state in the eastern United States and one of the original 13 colonies. Named for the Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I of England, Virginia was England's first successful overseas colony and the site of the first permanent English settlement in America. At one time it held territory from which several other states were later formed. West Virginia was part of Virginia until 1863. Virginia's rich political heritage helped shape the democratic principles on which the United States was founded. Virginia played an important role in the American Revolution (1775-1783), and it entered the Union as the tenth of the original 13 states on June 25, 1788. During the American Civil War (1861-1865) the state's capital, Richmond, was also capital of the Confederacy. The state has long been nicknamed Old Dominion.

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe, all Virginians, were founding fathers of the United States and were among the first five U.S. Presidents. Virginia was also the birthplace of U.S. Presidents William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson.

Virginia is the 35th largest state in the United States, covering 109,624 sq km (42,326 sq mi), including 2590 sq km (1000 sq mi) of inland water and 4475 sq km (1728 sq mi) of coastal waters over which the state has jurisdiction. It is roughly triangular in shape and has a maximum extent from east to west of 755 km (469 mi) and a maximum from north to south of 323 km (201 mi). Virginia is bounded on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, on the north and east by Maryland and the District of Columbia, on the west by West Virginia and Kentucky, and on the south by Tennessee and North Carolina.

Five natural regions, or physiographic provinces, extend across Virginia in a general northeast to southwest direction. They are, from east to west, the Coastal Plain, the Piedmont, the Blue Ridge province, the Ridge and Valley province, and the Appalachian Plateaus. The natural regions are part of two larger divisions of the eastern United States. The Atlantic-Gulf Coastal Plain is a broader lowland area that extends along the entire coast of the continent from New York to Mexico. The Piedmont, the Blue Ridge province, the Ridge and Valley province, and the Appalachian Plateaus are subdivisions of the Appalachian Region and the Appalachian Mountains.

Virginia's Coastal Plain extends inland as far as the Fall Line, a narrow zone of small waterfalls and rapids that occurs at the point where the major rivers pass from the resistant granites and other ancient rocks of the Piedmont to the more easily eroded sands, clays, and shales of the Coastal Plain. Low hills rise to elevations of about 90 m (about 300 ft) along the Fall Line, but wide areas of the Coastal Plain are flat and low-lying. Tidal swamps and marshes border the rivers as far as the Fall Line, and the Coastal Plain in Virginia is commonly referred to as the Tidewater area. Part of the Great Dismal Swamp occupies the extreme southern area of the plain.

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