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James City County

For thousands of years before the arrival of the English settlers, migratory hunters lived along the Chesapeake Bay, first in base camps and then in permanent villages along the Bay's many estuaries. They were the ancestors of the Virginia Algonquins and the Powhatans. By the 1600's the several hundred Native Americans ofthe lower tidewater farmed and hunted near here, and communicated and traded with tribes on both sides of the Chesapeake.

Into this sparsely settled land came 104 hardy, determined English Colonists on May 13, 1607. They built a fort and small settlement, and farmed and traded with the Powhatans, who were friendly at the start.

By the early 1640's, English settlers began spreading up and down the county, establishing generally modest farms and small plantations. Most contained about 250 acres, although places like Carter's Grove and Kingsmill, which came along later, often had more than 1,000 acres. The chief crop, tobacco, became the cornerstone of Virginia's economy for 200 years.

On May 15, 1776, the Virginia Convention, meeting in Williamsburg, voted unanimously for independence from Great Britain.

A new era began for the County in 1969 when Anheuser-Busch, Inc., purchased the eighteenth-century Kingsmill Plantation. A major brewing plant opened, attracting support industries--Ball Metal Container Group, Owens-Brockway Glass, and Reynolds Aluminum Recycling. Busch Gardens - The Old Country opened in 1975 as a major entertainment park with a European theme.

Today, James City County has more than 45,000 residents and is 144.1 square miles in size. Its residents and visitors continue to enjoy the proud history of this diverse County.