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5 Fun Facts About February 8 In Virginia History

---Learn Every Day: VA Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history va To: 618-270-4005---

1. On February 8, 1690, the colony of Virginia authorized the creation of a public warehouse system for storing and selling tobacco, one of the colony's most important crops. The system helped to regulate prices and ensure quality control for Virginia's tobacco exports.

2. In 1837, the Virginia General Assembly passed "an act for the gradual abolition of slavery" within the state. This law provided for the gradual emancipation of enslaved individuals born after July 1, 1830, but did not free those who were already enslaved.

3. On February 8, 1862, Union forces under General Ambrose Burnside captured Roanoke Island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The victory provided a key staging area for Union operations in the region and helped to secure control of the southern coast.

4. In 1910, the Virginia General Assembly designated the dogwood (Cornus florida) as the official state tree. The dogwood is known for its showy white or pink flowers in the springtime and bright red berries in the fall.

5. On February 8, 1986, the NASA space shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after launch, killing all seven crew members, including Christa McAuliffe, a teacher from New Hampshire selected to be the first private citizen in space. The tragedy had a profound impact on the nation and the future of space exploration.
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