Colonial Williamsburg®

History.org: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's Official History and Citizenship Website

Soldiers march down the Palace Green, as Williamsburg residents look on.
Williamsburg residents gather as James Innes (center) demands the return of the city's gunpowder in 1775.

The Revolutionary City

A Window into the 18th Century

Our innovative, ongoing research continues to reveal new aspects of everyday life during the American Revolution. As a result, the sights, sounds, and stories of Colonial Williamsburg's Historic Area are always being reassessed in light of new and exciting evidence.

Four black men and women in conversation.
Enslaved men and women debate whether British rule or American independence is in their best interest.
Mrs. Vobe reads a newspaper aloud, as a bedraggled Mrs. Hoy listens.
Tavernkeeper Jane Vobe reads the news for Barbry Hoy, who struggles to support her children while her husband is in the American army.

Experience the Revolution

Revolutionary City street scenes based on rigorous historical research bring the past to life in fresh and engaging ways. To witness the stirrings of revolution among Williamsburg's white elite, the ambiguities of American liberty from the perspective of enslaved families, or the cultural and diplomatic tensions between English colonists and Shawnee or Cherokee Indians is to confront, reflect upon, and reckon with a past that remains highly relevant to our world today.

In the Revolutionary City, the depiction of a range of lives and events illustrate America's beginnings, people, and stories. Here you will also learn about the tools and evidence that researchers employ to support our understandings of the nation's origins.

Americans officers on horseback.
George Washington (left) and the Marquis de Lafayette (right) rendezvous in Williamsburg before the battle at Yorktown.
Four American Indians.
A treaty delegation of American Indians visits Williamsburg as they struggle to determine the best course for their respective nations.

What's Happening in the Revolutionary City

The Revolutionary City experience—the events you can join, the sites you can visit, and the people you can meet—are based on rigorous analysis of historical evidence.

Get caught up in the Revolutionary moment as Lord Dunmore dissolves an increasingly defiant Virginia House of Burgesses in May 1774. What is a government's responsibility toward its people? What responsibility do people have to lead their leaders, when necessary? The scene draws from government records and the Burgesses' private writings to show how each side answered these questions.

Or feel the physical and emotional toll of war as three women in Williamsburg, two years into the Revolutionary fight, face desperate circumstances and question whether they are willing to pay the price of independence. Using an original document from Colonial Williamsburg's collections, this scene dramatizes the struggles of those who did not bear arms—but were swept up in the turmoil of the Revolution nonetheless.

Deep historical research, on real people and events, underlies all aspects of the Revolutionary City to draw visitors into the conflict as Williamsburg's residents experienced it.



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