Page:Collier's New Encyclopedia v. 10.djvu/272

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in gold bullion. The city has many ore smelting and refining plants built at considerable cost. Virginia City was settled in 1859, and was incorporated in 1861. Pop. (1910) 2,244; (1920) 1,200.

VIRGINIA CREEPER the Ampelopsis hederacea, a climbing plant, native to North America, used as an ornamental covering for walls, etc., and sometimes called American ivy. Its leaves turn a bright red in the autumn.

VIRGINIA MILITARY INSTITUTE, an educational non-sectarian institution in Lexington, Va.; founded in 1839; reported at the close of 1919: Professors and instructors, 34; students, 673.

VIRGINIAN DEER, the Cervus virginiacus, the common deer of North America. It is slightly smaller than the fallow deer; reddish-yellow in summer, light gray in winter; antlers recurvine; tail about a foot and a half long. These deer are timid and wild, and therefore domesticated with difficulty. Their flesh formerly constituted the staple food of the native Indians.

Collier's 1921 Virginian Deer.png


VIRGINIAN EARED OWL, the Bubo virginianus, a large species common over the Northern States of the American Union. Length about two feet; reddish-brown on upper surface, mottled with black, and covered with regular bands of the same hue, lighter beneath; throat white; beak and claws black.

VIRGINIAN OPOSSUM, the Didelphys virginianum, the common opossum. It is about the size of a domestic cat; head long, large and pointed, ending in a naked snout. Hair long, soft, and woolly, whitish at the roots and brownish at the tips, giving the animal a dusky appearance.

VIRGINIAN QUAIL, the Ortyx Virginiana, a species of rasorial birds belonging to the family Odontophorinæ, and nearly allied to that of the partridges or Perdicidæ. In the genus Ortyx the edges of the beak are sinuous or wavy, and the wings have the third to the sixth quills longest. The outer toe is united to the inner at the base. The Virginian quail is also named the Virginian colin. It attains a length of 8 or 10 inches, and is of a reddish-brown hue, mingled with gray and black above, and yellowish white below. The head and breast are reddish brown and the chin pure white. The voice is clear, and the note resembles the words “bob-white”—a name often familiarly given to the bird. The Virginian quail feeds mostly on grains and inhabits open grounds, but in winter it approaches the habitations of man. The eggs may number as many as 24. The bird is trapped in great numbers in winter. Its flesh is highly esteemed.

VIRGIN ISLANDS, a group of small islands to the east of Porto Rico, part of which belong to the Leeward Islands, a British colony, and part to the United States. The American islands are St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John, Vieques, and Quelebra. The three former, with 50 smaller ones, form the Danish West Indies. These were purchased by the United States from Denmark and were formally transferred on March 31, 1917. Payment of $25,000,000 was made for these islands. The islands belonging to the United States have a total area of 132 square miles, and a population of about 27,000. There are three cities, Charlotte Amalie, on the island of St. Thomas; Christiansted and Frederiksted on the island of St. Croix. Agriculture is the chief occupation of the inhabitants. The island of St. John is noted for its bay oil and St. Thomas for bay rum. The Islands are administered by a rear-admiral of the United States Navy.

VIRGINIUS AFFAIR, THE. It was in the harbor of Santiago de Cuba that the historic “Virginius affair,” occurred in 1873, which almost caused a war between the United States and Spain. The “Virginius,” a ship registered in the New York custom house Sept. 26, 1870, as the property of an American citizen, was captured on the high seas near Jamaica, by the Spanish man-of-war “Tornado,” Oct. 31, 1873. The reason given was that she was about to land men and arms in Cuba, which was then engaged in the “Ten Years' War” against Spain. At the time of capture the “Virginius” was flying the American flag. She was taken to Santiago. President Grant remonstrated with the Spanish Government,