List of Virginia state symbols

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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 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: 1950[2][3] The Virginian flag
Motto Sic semper tyrannis
(Thus always to tyrants)
Nickname Old Dominion, Mother of States, Mother of Presidents n/a[B]
Seal The Seal of Virginia. Defined as: 1950 (original adopted in 1776)[3] The Virginian seal
Slogan Virginia is for Lovers 1969[4]
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. 2013[5][6] 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
Dog American Foxhound
(Canis lupis familiaris)
1966 American Foxhound
Fresh Water Fish Brook trout
(Salvelinus fontinalis)
1993 Brook trout
Insect Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
(Papilio glaucus)
1991 Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
Salt Water Fish Striped Bass
(Morone saxatilis)
2011 Striped Bass
Shell Eastern oyster
Crassostrea virginica
1974 Eastern oyster
Bat Virginia Big-Eared Bat
C.t. virginianus
2005 Virginia Big-Eared Bat


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
Maple Festival Highland County Maple Festival 2014
Song "Our Great Virginia" (traditional)
"Sweet Virginia Breeze" (popular)
"Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" (emeritus)
Tartan Virginia Quadricentennial Tartan 2007


A The flag was adopted in 1861 after secession from the United States.[3]

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.[7][dubious ][better source needed]

C Pictures of Virginia 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.[8]

See also


  1. "State Trees & State Flowers". United States National Arboreteum. March 5, 2006. Retrieved 2008-03-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Commonwealth of Virginia (February 1, 1950). "§ 1-506. Flag of the Commonwealth". Code of Virginia. Virginia: Commonwealth of Virginia. Retrieved January 28, 2015. The flag of the Commonwealth 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 § 1-500 for the obverse of the great seal of the Commonwealth; and there may be a white fringe on the outer edge, furthest from the flagstaff. This shall be known and respected as the flag of the Commonwealth. (Code 1950, § 7-32; 1966, c. 102, § 7.1-32; 2005, c. 839.)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Virginia (U.S.)". Flags of the World. Retrieved 2007-08-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Virginia Is For Lovers". Retrieved 2007-08-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Sinclair Broadcast Group. "New Virginia license plates with "Virginia is for Lovers" slogan". WJLA. Retrieved 12 May 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "License plates of Virginia". World License Plates. Retrieved 2002-08-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "How did Virginia get its nickname the old dominion?". Blurt It. Retrieved 2007-08-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny". Virginia Historical Society. January 11, 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links