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Historic Area

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For most of the 18th century, Williamsburg served as the capital of Virginia, the largest and most prosperous American colony. It was the center of business, diplomacy, and independence. The men and women who lived, worked, and traveled through this bustling center of activity came from all walks of life, but sought to better their circumstances in large or small ways. Independence was declared before all other colonies at the Capitol. Native American diplomats met with government officials to secure peace and negotiate trade. More than half of the population was enslaved. Farmers and merchants sold their wares in the Market House. Though the capital was moved from Williamsburg to Richmond, the city is very much alive today. It's time to go back.

 

Meet fascinating 18th-century people from a variety of backgrounds and learn how their choices impacted their families and their community. Take a moment to engage with men and women who sought to better their lives each and every day as best they could, despite their circumstances. Chat with tradespeople as they use 18th-century tools and techniques to create unique pieces for use or sale across the city. Most of the trades have been around since the beginning of our civilization, and the rich history holds true today. These skilled men and women are true apprentices, journeymen, and masters in their crafts and use real 18th-century methods. They hone their skills with every hammer, needle, or plow. Stay informed on their projects by keeping up with their FACEBOOK page, and don't be shy when it comes to asking questions about the trades.

Learn from modern interpreters as they link the past and present and reveal the ideas that shaped our nation. Take a moment to visit a historical site like the Governor's Palace or the Capitol and learn about the historical moments that happened inside the walls. Expanded experiences at some of these sites will give you a new understanding of life in the 18th century. At the George Wythe House, you'll be transported to the Age of Enlightenment and introduced to revelations in science and the arts. Within the James Geddy House, families can play games, dance, and participate in daily chores. Enter the Peyton Randolph House and gain a deeper knowledge of the early African American experience. At the Public Armoury, see what it took to support the Revolutionary War.

Many of the buildings in the Historic Area are original 18th-century buildings, while others are reconstructed to their 18th-century aesthetic. When you visit these sites, you're standing on the exact same ground as influential Nation Builders such as Thomas Jefferson, Martha Washington, and James Madison. History surrounds you here. With your Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket, much of the city is open to you, with plenty to see, do, and learn—no matter what your interests may be. Browse our locations below for more information on each of the sites and use the filter to see just the Historic Trades, like the Blacksmiths, or just the Historic Sites, like the Capitol.

  • Historic Sites
  • Historic Trades