Fredericksburg is a popular city found in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is well known for its rich history because it was originally a colonial town as well as a battlefield during the Civil War. Originally, Fredericksburg, which is located near the Rappahannock River, was chosen by the European colonialists as a frontier for Virginia and the land of this city was patented by the colonialists in 1671. In 1676, the Virginia General Assembly set up a fort on the Rappahannock River, and a German settlement was established on the Rapidan, a tributary of this river. The colonialists used this area as a fort for spreading their power to the Blue Mountain area.
Interest in this location grew with time and in 1720, the colonial assembly decided to create a new county which was called Spotsylvania and named after the governor who was Alexander Spotswood. By 1728, Fredericksburg was established as the main port for Spotsylvania. At the time, the streets of this colonial town were named after the members of the royal family and this port was therefore named in honor of the Prince of Wales, Frederick, King George’s II son.
By 1732, the county court was officially moved to Fredericksburg and the town served as the county seat for five decades until 1780 when the courthouse was shifted to the center in Spotsylvania County. In 1781, Fredericksburg became officially incorporated as a town, and this led to the establishment of the Fredericksburg court, council as well as Mayor. In 1879, Fredericksburg received a charter under the Virginia Law to establish itself as a city and adopted its city council as the government in 1911.
The Civil War and Trade
Apart from its colonial roots, Fredericksburg is also known for its ties to the Civil War and trade in the 19th century. Due to its popularity and city status, there was major infrastructural development in the city during the 19th century. A canal was built on the Rappahannock River and roads were also built both within the city as well as connections to other places outside the city. A railway was also built to connect Fredericksburg to Richmond.
During the Civil War, the city of Fredericksburg was a battlefield for major wars including the two Battles of Fredericksburg between 1862 and 1863. This led to massive destruction of the city due to bombardment and looting which was done by the Union forces. The sites of the war have been preserved to date and serve as the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania Military Park.
The Current Fredericksburg
Today Fredericksburg is a city that hosts tens of thousands of people and is well known as a hub for trade and touristic activities. Its strategic location between Washington DC and Richmond has still helped the city to gain significance in trade and tourism. The city receives more than 1.5 million tourists annually who are attracted to its rich history and central park. It also has many commercial centers and most of its population commutes from neighboring towns.