The city of Richmond has a rich historical legacy. The falls of the James delineated the western frontier of the Powhatan tribe’s confederacy until 1609. The town was chartered in 1742, and Patrick Henry orated his “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech in Richmond in 1775, which led to the involvement of Virginia troops in the Revolutionary War.
Richmond became the Virginia state capital in 1780. After Virginia seceded in the Civil War, Richmond became home to the Confederacy’s capital. Ulysses S. Grant captured nearby Petersburg in April 1865, and President Davis and the Confederates abandoned Richmond, setting fire to the city as they evacuated. Much of the city was destroyed, and the state capital was moved to Lynchburg.
Richmond was the first city in the United States to successfully institute the electric trolley in January of 1888, which fueled expansion. By the early 1900s, over 85,000 people called Richmond their home. Philip Morris became established in Richmond, and the Fan area began to develop. Tobacco helped Richmond recover after the Great Depression, and Reynolds Metals moved its executive office to Richmond in 1938. Its local economy stimulated by World War II, Richmond became the fastest-growing United States industrial center in 1947.
Virginia Commonwealth University was created in 1968, and shopping and culture flourished throughout the 1980s. In 1990, Richmond’s L. Douglas Wilder became the first African-American governor in United States history. The population of the Richmond metropolitan area grew to over 1 million by the early 2000s, and the expanded Greater Richmond Convention Center opened in 2002. Richmond is a bustling metropolitan area steeped in revolutionary and Southern history, and is a fantastic city to call home. » Read more: Richmond, Virginia – Town Profile and Culture