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Colonial era[ edit ] After the first permanent English-speaking settlement was established in Aprilat Jamestown, VirginiaCaptain Christopher Newport led explorers northwest up the James Riverto an area that was inhabited by Powhatan Native Americans.
Byrd named the city "Richmond" after the English town of Richmond near and now part of London, because the view of the James River was strikingly similar to the view of the River Thames from Richmond Hill in England, where he had spent time during his youth.
The settlement was laid out in Apriland was incorporated as a town in John's Church in Richmond, crucial for deciding Virginia's participation in the First Continental Congress and setting the course for revolution and independence.
After the American Revolutionary WarRichmond emerged as an important industrial center.
To facilitate the transfer of cargo from the flat-bottomed James River bateaux above the fall line to the ocean-faring ships below, an enterprising George Washington helped design the James River and Kanawha Canal from Westham east to Richmond, in the 18th century to bypass Richmond's rapids on the upper James River with the intent of providing a water route across the Appalachian Mountains to the Kanawha River flowing westward into the Ohio then eventually to the Mississippi River.
The legacy of the canal boatmen is represented by the figure in the center of the city flag. As a result of this and ample access to hydropower due to the falls, Richmond became home to some of the largest manufacturing facilities in the country, including iron works and flour mills, the largest facilities of their kind in The South.
The resistance to the slave trade was growing by the mid-nineteenth century; in one famous case inHenry "Box" Brown made history by having himself nailed into a small box and shipped from Richmond through Baltimore 's President Street Station northward on the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad a well-used " Underground Railroad " route for escaping disguised slaves to abolitionists in Philadelphiain the free state of Pennsylvaniaescaping slavery.
Official action came in May, after the Confederacy promised to move its national capital from its provisional home in Montgomery, Alabama to Richmond.
The city was located at the end of a long supply line, which made it difficult to defend, requiring the bulk of the Army of Northern Virginia and arguably the Confederacy's best troops and commanders.
McClellan threatened to take Richmond in the Peninsula campaign but ultimately failed. Three years later, as March ended, Richmond became indefensible after nearby Petersburg and several remaining rail supply lines to the south and southwest were broken.
Gordon 's desperate attack on Fort Stedman east of Petersburg failed. Grant to order a general advance. Lee then informed President Jefferson Davis that he was about to evacuate Richmond.
On April 2,General Godfrey Weitzelcommander of the 25th Corps of the United States Colored Troopsaccepted the city's surrender from the Mayor and a group of leading citizens who remained.
Lincoln met Confederate assistant secretary of War John A. Campbelland handed him a note inviting Virginia's state legislature to end their rebellion. After Campbell spun the note to Confederate legislators as a possible end to the Emancipation ProclamationLincoln rescinded his offer and ordered General Weitzel to prevent the former Confederate state legislature from meeting.
Union forces killed, wounded or captured 8, Confederate troops at Sayler's Creek southwest of Petersburg on April 6, as the Southerners continued a general retreat southwestward. General Lee continued to reject General Grant's surrender suggestions until Sheridan's infantry and cavalry moved around the shrinking Army of Northern Virginia and appeared in front of his withdrawing forces on April 8, cutting off the line of further retreat southwest.
Canal traffic peaked in the s and slowly gave way to railroads, allowing Richmond to become a major railroad crossroads,  eventually including the site of the world's first triple railroad crossing.
Contributing to Richmond's resurgence was the first successful electrically powered trolley system in the United States, the Richmond Union Passenger Railway. Designed by electric power pioneer Frank J.
Spraguethe trolley system opened its first line inand electric streetcar lines rapidly spread to other cities across the country. Luke Penny Savings Bank, and served as its first president, as well as the first female bank president in the United States.
Several major performing arts venues were constructed during the s, including what are now the Landmark Theatre, Byrd Theatre, and Carpenter Theatre. The city's first radio station, WRVAbegan broadcasting in After several years of court cases in which Chesterfield County fought annexation, more than 47, people who once were Chesterfield County residents found themselves within the city's perimeters on January 1, fort campbell FORT CAMPBELL TABLE OF CONTENTS MARCOA Publishing, Inc.
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