Richmond /ˈrɪtʃmənd/ is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. Since 1871 it has been an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and the Greater Richmond area. As of the 2010 census, the population was 204,214, in 2013, the population was estimated to be 211,172, with a population of 1,208,101 for the Richmond Metropolitan Area — making it the fourth-most populous city in Virginia. Geographically, Richmond is located at the fall line of the James River, 44 miles (71 km) west of Williamsburg, 66 miles (106 km) east of Charlottesville, and 98 miles (158 km) south of Washington, D.C. Surrounded by Henrico and Chesterfield counties, the city is located at the intersections of Interstate 95 and Interstate 64, and encircled by Interstate 295 and Virginia State Route 288.
Before 1607, the Powhatan tribe had lived in the region with one of their capitals there, known as Powhatan, Shocquohocan, or Shockoe. In 1606, James I granted a royal charter to the Virginia Company of London to settle colonists in North America. After the first permanent English-speaking settlement was established in April 1607, at Jamestown, Captain Christopher Newport led explorers northwest up the James River, and on May 24, 1607, erected a cross on one of the small islands in the middle of the part of the river that runs through today's downtown area.
Two attempts at English settlement were subsequently made (in 1609 and 1610), but each was abandoned, as the native inhabitants were not willing to give up their capital without a fight. In the 1610s, colonist John Rolfe began to grow a sweeter variety of tobacco at Henricus, and it became a lucrative commodity in the tidewater region, driving further expansion. In 1645, Fort Charles was erected at the falls of the James – the highest navigable point of the James River – as a frontier defense. New settlers moved in, and the community grew into a bustling trading post for furs, hides, and tobacco.
In 1737, planter William Byrd II commissioned Major William Mayo to lay out the original town grid. 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 April 1737, and was incorporated as a town in 1742. Early trade grew rapidly, primarily in the agriculture sector, but also in the slave trade. People were imported from Africa to Richmond's Manchester docks, and were bought and sold as slaves at the same market.
Geography and climate
Richmond is located at 37°32′N 77°28′W (37.538, −77.462). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 62 square miles (160 km sq), of which 60 square miles (160 km sq) is land and 2.7 square miles (7.0 km sq) of it (4.3%) is water. The city is located in the Piedmont region of Virginia, at the highest navigable point of the James River. The Piedmont region is characterized by relatively low, rolling hills, and lies between the low, sea level Tidewater region and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Significant bodies of water in the region include the James River, the Appomattox River, and the Chickahominy River.
Arts and culture
Museums and monuments
Several of the city's large general museums are located near the Boulevard. On Boulevard proper are the Virginia Historical Society and the Virginia Museum Of Fine Arts, lending their name to what is sometimes called the Museum District. Nearby on Broad Street is the Science Museum Of Virginia, housed in the neoclassical former 1919 Broad Street Union Station. Immediately adjacent is the Children's Museum of Richmond, and two blocks away, the Virginia Center for Architecture. Within the downtown are the Library of Virginia and the Valentine Richmond History Center. Elsewhere are the Virginia Holocaust Museum and the Old Dominion Railway Museum.
Parks and outdoor recreation
The city operates one of the oldest municipal park systems in the country. The park system began when the city council voted in 1851 to acquire 7.5 acres (30,000 Sq mi), now known as Monroe Park. Today, Monroe Park sits adjacent to the Virginia Commonwealth University campus and is one of more than 40 parks comprising a total of more than 1,500 acres (610 ha). Several parks are located along the James River, and the James River Parks System offers bike trails, hiking and nature trails, and many scenic overlooks along the river's route through the city. The trails are used as part of the Xterra East Championship course for both the running and mountain biking portions of the off-road triathlon.
Media and popular culture
The Richmond Times-Dispatch, the local daily newspaper in Richmond with a Sunday circulation of 215,000, is owned by BH Media, a subsidiary of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway company. Style Weekly is a standard weekly publication covering popular culture, arts, and entertainment, owned by Landmark Communications. RVA Magazine is the city's only independent art music and culture publication, was once monthly, but is now issued quarterly. The Richmond Free Press and the Voice cover the news from an African-American perspective.