Richmond () is the capital city of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. It is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and the Greater Richmond Region. Richmond was incorporated in 1742 and has been an independent city since 1871. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 204,214; in 2019, the population was estimated to be 230,436, making Richmond the fourth-most populous city in Virginia. The Richmond Metropolitan Area has a population of 1,260,029, the third-most populous metro in the state. Richmond is at the fall line of the James River, 44 miles (71 km) west of Williamsburg, 66 miles (106 km) east of Charlottesville, 91 miles (146 km) east of Lynchburg and 92 miles (148 km) south of Washington, D.C. Surrounded by Henrico and Chesterfield counties, the city is at the intersections of Interstate 95 and Interstate 64 and encircled by Interstate 295, Virginia State Route 150 and Virginia State Route 288. Major suburbs include Midlothian to the southwest, Chesterfield to the south, Varina to the southeast, Sandston to the east, Glen Allen to the north and west, Short Pump to the west and Mechanicsville to the northeast.The site of Richmond had been an important village of the Powhatan Confederacy, and was briefly settled by English colonists from Jamestown from 1609 to 1611. The present city of Richmond was founded in 1737. It became the capital of the Colony and Dominion of Virginia in 1780, replacing Williamsburg. During the Revolutionary War period, several notable events occurred in the city, including Patrick Henry's "Give me liberty or give me death" speech in 1775 at St. John's Church, and the passage of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom written by Thomas Jefferson. During the American Civil War, Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy. It entered the 20th century with one of the world's first successful electric streetcar systems. The Jackson Ward neighborhood is a traditional hub of African-American commerce and culture. Richmond's economy is primarily driven by law, finance, and government, with federal, state, and local governmental agencies, as well as notable legal and banking firms in the downtown area. The city is home to both a U.S. Court of Appeals, one of 13 such courts, and a Federal Reserve Bank, one of 12 such banks. Dominion Energy and WestRock, Fortune 500 companies, are headquartered in the city, with others in the metropolitan area.
Petersburg is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 32,420. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines Petersburg (along with the city of Colonial Heights) with Dinwiddie County for statistical purposes. The city is 21 miles (34 km) south of the commonwealth (state) capital city of Richmond. It is located at the fall line (the head of navigation of rivers on the U.S. East Coast) of the Appomattox River (a tributary of the longer larger James River which flows east to meet the southern mouth of the Chesapeake Bay at the Hampton Roads harbor and the Atlantic Ocean). In 1645, the Virginia House of Burgesses ordered Fort Henry built, which attracted both traders and settlers to the area. The Town of Petersburg, chartered by the Virginia legislature in 1784, incorporated three early settlements, and in 1850 the legislature elevated it to city status.Petersburg grew as a transportation hub and also developed industry. It was the final destination on the Upper Appomattox Canal Navigation System, which opened in 1816, to a city mostly rebuilt after a devastating 1815 fire. When its Appomattox River port silted up, investors built an 8-mile railroad to City Point on the James River, which opened in 1838 (and was acquired by the city and renamed the Appomattox Railroad in 1847). As discussed below, that became one of four railroads built (some with government subsidies) constructed (with separated terminals to the advantage of local freight haulers) before the American Civil War. In 1860, the city's industries and transportation combined to make it the state's second largest city (after Richmond). It connected commerce as far inland as Farmville, Virginia at the foothills of the Blue Ridge and the Appalachian Mountains chain, to shipping further east into the Chesapeake Bay and North Atlantic Ocean. During the American Civil War (1861–1865), because of this railroad network, Petersburg became critical to Union plans to capture the Confederate States national capital established early in the war at Richmond. The 1864–65 Siege of Petersburg, which included the Battle of the Crater and nine months of trench warfare devastated the city. Battlefield sites are partly preserved as Petersburg National Battlefield by the National Park Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Petersburg rebuilt its railroads, including a connecting terminal by 1866, although it never quite regained its economic position because much shipping traffic would continue to the Norfolk seaport. Still, after the consolidations of smaller railroads and both the CSX and Norfolk Southern railway networks serve Petersburg Petersburg had one of the oldest free black settlements in the state at Pocahontas Island. Two Baptist churches in the city, whose congregations were founded in the late 18th century, are among the oldest black congregations and churches in the United States. In the 20th century, these and other black churches were leaders in the national Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s-1960s. In the post-bellum period, a historically black college which later developed as the Virginia State University was established nearby in Ettrick in Chesterfield County. Richard Bland College, now a junior college, was originally established here as a branch of Williamsburg's famed College of William and Mary. Petersburg remains a transportation hub. Area highways include Interstate Highways 85, 95, and U.S. Route highways with 1, 301, and 460. Both CSX and Norfolk Southern rail systems maintain transportation centers at Petersburg. Amtrak serves the city with daily Northeast Regional passenger trains to Norfolk, Virginia, and long-distance routes from states to the South.In the early 21st century, Petersburg civic leaders promote the city's historical attractions for heritage tourism, as well as industrial sites reachable by the transportation infrastructure. The federal government is also a major employer, with nearby Fort Lee, as home of the United States Army's Sustainment Center of Excellence, and the Army's Logistics Branch, Ordnance, Quartermaster, and Transportation Corps.
James City County
James City County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 67,009. Although politically separate from the county, the county seat is the adjacent independent city of Williamsburg.Located on the Virginia Peninsula, James City County is included in the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is often associated with Williamsburg, an independent city, and Jamestown which is within the county. As of 2007, the median household income was $70,487.First settled by the English colonists in 1607 at Jamestown in the Virginia Colony, the County was formally created in 1634 as James City Shire by order of King Charles I. James City County is considered one of only five original shires of Virginia to still be extant today in essentially the same political form. The Jamestown 2007 celebration marked the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown. James City County is home to the Busch Gardens Williamsburg theme park, the Kingsmill Resort, and the Williamsburg Pottery Factory. The Historic Jamestowne and Jamestown Settlement attractions combine with Colonial Williamsburg, and are linked to Yorktown by the National Park Service's Colonial Parkway. Tourism is a major part of the region's economy, as is high technology. The College of William and Mary is nearby, as well as NASA, Jefferson Laboratory, and numerous defense contractors, giving the region the highest concentration of scientists and engineers per capita in the nation.
The Jamestown settlement in the Colony of Virginia was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. It was located on the northeast bank of the James (Powhatan) River about 2.5 mi (4 km) southwest of the center of modern Williamsburg. It was established by the Virginia Company of London as "James Fort" on May 4, 1607 O.S. (May 14, 1607 N.S.), and was considered permanent after a brief abandonment in 1610. It followed several failed attempts, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke, established in 1585 on Roanoke Island, later part of North Carolina. Jamestown served as the colonial capital from 1616 until 1699. Despite the dispatch of more settlers and supplies, including the 1608 arrival of eight Polish and German colonists and the first two European women, more than 80 percent of the colonists died in 1609–10, mostly from starvation and disease. In mid-1610, the survivors abandoned Jamestown, though they returned after meeting a resupply convoy in the James River. In August 1619, the first recorded slaves from Africa to British North America arrived in what is now Old Point Comfort near the Jamestown colony, on a British privateer ship flying a Dutch flag. The approximately 20 Africans from the present-day Angola had been removed by the British crew from a Portuguese slave ship, the "São João Bautista". They most likely worked in the tobacco fields as slaves under a system of race-based indentured servitude. One of their number included Angela, who was purchased by William Peirce. The modern conception of slavery in the colonial United States was formalized in 1640 (the John Punch hearing) and was fully entrenched in Virginia by 1660.The London Company's second settlement in Bermuda claims to be the site of the oldest town in the English New World, as St. George's, Bermuda was officially established in 1612 as New London, whereas James Fort in Virginia was not converted into James Towne until 1619, and further did not survive to the present day.In 1676, Jamestown was deliberately burned during Bacon's Rebellion, though it was quickly rebuilt. In 1699, the colonial capital was moved to what is today Williamsburg, Virginia; Jamestown ceased to exist as a settlement, and remains today only as an archaeological site, Jamestown Rediscovery. Today, Jamestown is one of three locations composing the Historic Triangle of Colonial Virginia, along with Williamsburg and Yorktown, with two primary heritage sites. Historic Jamestowne is the archaeological site on Jamestown Island and is a cooperative effort by Jamestown National Historic Site (part of Colonial National Historical Park) and Preservation Virginia. Jamestown Settlement, a living history interpretive site, is operated by the Jamestown Yorktown Foundation, a state agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia.