Colonial Williamsburg was the thriving capital of Virginia when the dream of American freedom and independence was taking shape and the colony was a rich and powerful land stretching west to the Mississippi River and north to the Great Lakes. For 81 formative years, from 1699 to 1780, Williamsburg was the political, cultural, and educational center of what was then the largest, most populous, and most influential of the American colonies. It was here that the fundamental concepts of our republic — responsible leadership, a sense of public service, self-government, and individual liberty — were nurtured under the leadership of patriots such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, and Peyton Randolph.

Walk through time in this reconstructed colonial capitol. Follow in the footsteps of the founders as you walk the same streets they did.

Colonial Williamsburg

In 1607, 13 years before the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts, a group of 104 English men and boys began a settlement on the banks of Virginia's James River. They were sponsored by the Virginia Company of London, whose stockholders hoped to make a profit from the resources of the New World. The community suffered terrible hardships in its early years, but managed to endure, earning the distinction of being America's first permanent English colony.

Today at Jamestown Settlement, the story of the people who founded Jamestown and of the Virginia Indians they encountered is told through film, gallery exhibits and living history. Expansive gallery exhibits and an introductory film trace Jamestown's beginnings in England and the first century of the Virginia colony and describe the cultures of the Powhatan Indians, Europeans and Africans who converged in 1600s Virginia. Outdoors, visitors can board replicas of the three ships that sailed from England to Virginia in 1607, explore life-size re-creations of the colonists' fort and a Powhatan village, and tour a seasonal riverfront discovery area to learn about European, Powhatan and African economic activities associated with water. In the outdoor areas, costumed historical interpreters describe and demonstrate daily life in the early 17th century.

On October 19, 1781, the decisive military campaign of the American Revolution culminated with the British surrender to combined American and French forces under the command of George Washington. The Siege of Yorktown effectively ended the six-year struggle of the Revolutionary War and set the stage for a new government and nation. Today at the Yorktown Victory Center, America’s evolution from colonial status to nationhood is chronicled through a unique blend of timeline, film, thematic exhibits and outdoor living history. An outdoor exhibit walkway details events that led to American colonies to declare independence from Britain.

Yorktown Victory Center

Williamsburg Real Estate agent Denise Fleischmann
Buying a home in Williamsburg
Denise Fleischmann

Williamsburg History