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City (pop., 2000: 11,998), southeastern Virginia, U.S. Located on a tidewater peninsula between the James and York rivers, it was settled in 1633 as Middle Plantation and served as a refuge from Indian attacks. The College of William and Mary was founded there in 1693. After the burning of nearby Jamestown in 1699, it became the capital of Virginia until 1780, when the capital was moved to Richmond. During the American Civil War, Confederate forces were defeated at the Battle of Williamsburg in 1862. Colonial Williamsburg, an extensive restoration of several hundred colonial buildings, was begun in 1926 and became part of the Colonial National Historical Park in 1936.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Williamsburg, visit Britannica.com.