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Though the Powhatan tribe had inhabited the area before, an expedition led by Christopher Newport in 1607 founded the town that would become Richmond, though it was abandoned and re-settled three times due to Native American attacks. The settlement became permanent in 1645, primarily as a fur-trading community.
Today, Richmond is known for its deep involvement with Civil War history, other historical monuments and areas, higher education, downtown area, historic houses, shopping districts, and economy.
People Born in Richmond
Richmond in People's Lives
John Marshall: I moved here in 1782, shortly after graduating from the College of William & Mary and beginning a fledgling law practice. I relocated here after winning a seat on the Virginia House of Delegates, at the age of 27. I held the seat until 1789, and again from 1795 - 1796. I also put my law degree to use, and became a recorder of the Richmond legal courts in 1785. I built my own large home here in 1790, which I loved dearly. I was also elected Council of State for the Virginia General Assembly in 1796. This was only the beginning of my political career, which included countless posts and honors. I described myself as a member of the new Federalist party, and strongly opposed the Republican Party - particularly Thomas Jefferson. I also continued to work as a lawyer, quite successfully. I became the de-facto lawyer of the powerful Fairfax family, who had been the employers and benefactors of my father growing up. In 1795, George Washington, a friend of mine, offered to make me Attorney General of the United States, which I declined. In 1797, I was made a diplomat to France. In 1798, I declined an offer to be appointed to the Supreme Court. In 1799, I ran for a seat on the United States House of Representatives, albeit reluctantly. Though my district, which included this city, was known to support the Democratic party, I won the election. I moved to Washington D.C. Though I lived in Washington, I still returned as often as I could to my house here in this city, where I truly felt at home. I moved back here around 1810, and continued to serve as Chief Justice. I remained active and forceful in my career well into my 70's. In 1831, I had surgery done to remove bladder stones, at the age of 76. I recovered with no complications, but my wife died later in the year, and I fell into grief and ill health. I decided to travel to Philadelphia in 1835 to seek medical treatment. It was the last time that I was ever in this city, my true home. After my death at the age of 79, my body was transported back to this city, and I was buried in Shockoe Hill Cemetary.
Jude Law: I traveled here in 2002 to film scenes of the movie Cold Mountain. We filmed on the James River.
Natalie Portman: I traveled here in 2002 to film scenes of the movie Cold Mountain. We filmed on the James River.
Patrick Henry: As a Virginia politician, I was often here for work through the 1760's and 1770's. I gave my famous "Give me liberty, or give me death" speech here in 1775, at Saint John's Church. I was made colonel of the 1st Virginia Regiment in 1775, and moved here. In 1776, I was elected Governor of Virginia, to serve a one-year term. I was re-elected two more times, serving until 1779. Excellent at my job, I would most likely have been elected again, but new state laws limited a governor to three consecutive terms, after which a four year break was required. After leaving my post of governor in 1779, I moved to a plantation in Martinsville. I came back to live in this city in 1784, being elected governor again. I continued to make a name for myself as a formidible politician in this city, retiring to a plantation outside Lynchburg in 1794.
Roald Dahl: During my time working for the British Embassy in Washington D.C., between 1943 - 1944, I frequently traveled down to this area to visit the large country estate of a friend of mine that was a Texas oil mogul. The trips were a relaxing sojourn from the craziness of the capital.
Viggo Mortensen: I traveled here in 1996 to film scenes of G.I. Jane.