From the start, Virginians have earned their reputation as some of the toughest folks around. We are home to the first permanent English colony in the United States and the site of some of the most significant events in history. Over the years, we’ve learned how to make it through anything – and how to look good doing it. So if you want to know just what it is that makes Virginians so tough, take a look below.
1. We make it work when others fail.
When you come from a state that is known for sticking it out, you sort of take “tough” as a mindset from the beginning. When the first colonists arrived in 1607, they endured famine, plague and conflict with Native Americans. They stuck it out anyway and went on to flourish in the first permanent English colony in America – after others had been trying and failing for decades.
2. We know how to fight for what we believe.
Patrick Henry, a Virginia native, said it best at St. John’s Church in Richmond. “Give me liberty, or give me death.” Virginia was home to countless founding fathers, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Mason and, of course, Patrick Henry. They not only helped shape the nation during the Revolutionary War, but they helped create generations of leaders and independent thinkers.
3. But we also know how to make peace.
Virginia played a key role in two of our nation's most significant wars. But we ended them here, too. The Revolutionary War ended in Yorktown when General Cornwallis surrendered to Virginia native George Washington and the Civil War ended when the Virginia-born Confederate general, Robert E. Lee, said enough was enough and surrendered to Union leader, Ulysses S. Grant, at Appomattox.
4. We know the value of hard work.
Virginia first began as an agricultural colony. Today, agriculture is still Virginia’s largest industry according to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. From tobacco farms to produce to livestock and dairy, nearly 90% of our farms are still owned by individuals and families.
5. We aren’t afraid to explore new horizons.
Literally. Legendary explorers Meriweather Lewis and William Clark both hailed from Virginia. When Thomas Jefferson commissioned them to explore the Louisiana Purchase, they set out together from Fincastle to establish what would become the first American expedition to explore the western part of the nation.
6. We hail from the mountains…
Life in Appalachia and other mountain regions in Virginia hasn’t always been easy. But many of our finest traditions hail from the mountains of Southwest Virginia, in particular - including incredible heritage music, dancing and culture. Our mountain folks are tougher than nails and proud of it.
7. And the coasts…
From hurricanes to rough seas, living on the Virginia coastlines isn’t always a day at the beach. But like our famous wild ponies on Assateague and Chincoteague, we’ve adapted, stayed tough and survived for centuries.
8. And everywhere in between.
From early social and political centers like Williamsburg to leading business and trade centers like Richmond, Alexandria and Virginia Beach, we have have built cities and towns that have paved the way for progress from the get-go.
9. We stay ahead of the curve when it comes to the economy and business.
The Washington Post calls Virginia “the best state in America” when it comes to managing budgets shortfalls - and Forbes has ranked Virginia as #1 for best places for business. The numbers speak for themselves.
10. We are freaky smart.
When it comes to smarts, Virginia has 3 of the top 40 public colleges and universities in the nation, not to mention countless other world-class schools, both private and public.
11. We don’t mind a little heat and humidity.
We can handle it. A little creative cooling and plenty of sweet tea and hot, sticky summers are just a walk in the park.
12. And winter? Bring it.
Snow and ice are just a part of life here. We may not always like it – and we may close schools down at the sight of the first snowflake – but we’ve handled some pretty crazy winters – and had fun doing it.
13. We are ready to face any adventure. Head on.
We don't just climb mountain or surf waves, we own them. Virginians are known for their love of the great outdoors. And with such an amazing selection of natural wonders to choose from, how can you blame us?
14. We support our military men and women.
With 27 military bases in the state, plus countless other training facilities, men and women in uniform have made up much of the fabric of Virginia society for generations. From memorials to monuments to special parades and ceremonies, we have a long tradition of honoring military service, because we would be nowhere without them - and we know it.
15. But the main reason Virginians are tough? When times get hard, we stand together.
Over the years (ok, centuries…), Virginia has seen her fair share of hard times, tragedies and disasters. But when the going gets tough, Virginians get tougher. We are made up of communities that stand by one another through it all. And that, at the end of the day, is what it's all about.
If there’s one thing I know for sure, Virginians have what it take to make it – and thrive. What are the qualities or features of Virginia that you think make us the toughest people around? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!