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Williamsburg

Williamsburg, historic city (1990 pop. 11,530), seat of James City co., SE Va., on a peninsula between the James and York rivers; settled 1632 as Middle Plantation, laid out and renamed 1699, inc. 1722. It is a popular tourist attraction and is also important as the seat (since 1693) of The College of William and Mary. Electrical goods and metal, paper, and plastic products are manufactured; Eastern State Hospital (1773) also contributes to the economy.

Williamsburg became the temporary capital after the burning of Jamestown (1676) during Bacon's Rebellion, then served as capital of Virginia from 1699 to 1779. It was the scene of important conventions during the movement for American independence, but it declined after the capital was moved (1779) to Richmond. In the Peninsular campaign of the Civil War a rearguard action was fought there (May 5, 1862) between retreating Confederates and McClellan's forces.

In 1926, with the financial support of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., a large-scale restoration of the city was begun; 700 buildings were removed, 83 were renovated, and 413 were rebuilt on their original sites. Williamsburg has had its colonial appearance recreated, with green formal gardens and many craft shops where revived trades are practiced. Among the historic structures are the colonial capitol (reconstructed); Raleigh Tavern (reconstructed), rendezvous of Revolutionary patriots; the courthouse of 1770; the Bruton Parish Church (1710–15); the governor's palace (reconstructed); the public gaol; and the magazine. The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller museum houses a noted folk art collection. The Colonial Parkway passes through Williamsburg, connecting it with the Jamestown and Yorktown sections of Colonial National Historical Park (see National Parks and Monuments, table).

See J. A. Osborne, Williamsburg in Colonial Times (1936, repr. 1972); J. J. Walket, Jr., and T. K. Ford, A Window on Williamsburg (rev. ed. 1983).

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Williamsburg

Williamsburg Historic town in e Virginia, 50mi (80km) se of Richmond; seat of James co. Settled 1633, it was made state capital 1699–1780, when seat of government moved to Richmond. Williamsburg is visited annually by thousands of tourists and was made part of Colonial National Historic Park (est. 1936). Included in its landmarks are College of William and Mary (1693), Capitol, Public Gaol (1704), Magazine and Guardhouse (1715), Raleigh Tavern, Governor's Palace (1720), Bruton Parish Church (1715), Brush-Everard House (1717), Courthouse (1770). Inc. 1722. Pop. (1980) 9,870.

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Williamsburg

Williamsburg a city in SE Virginia, between the James and York Rivers. First settled as Middle Plantation in 1633, it was the state capital of Virginia from 1699, when it was renamed in honour of William III, until 1799, when Richmond became the capital. A large part of the town has been restored and reconstructed so that it appears as it was during the colonial era.

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Williamsburg

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