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Williamsburg is best known for the restored and reconstructed buildings that make up Colonial Williamsburg's Historic Area, but it is also a modern city whose residents enjoy all the latest conveniences, including parks and recreation activities, libraries, and major shopping centers. Colonists from Jamestown founded the city in 1633 as Middle Plantation. Its name was changed to Williamsburg in 1699 when it became Virginia's capital.
The College of William and Mary, named for King William and Queen Mary of England, received its charter in 1693. After the Revolution, Williamsburg remained the political, social and cultural center of the entire colony until the capital was moved to Richmond in 1780. Thereafter the city became a small college town. During the Civil War it briefly became the headquarters for both sides.
In 1926, John D. Rockefeller Jr. began to restore, reconstruct, and preserve what is now the Historic Area. Colonial Williamsburg is the nation’s largest living history museum encompassing 301 acres including some 500 buildings, homes, stores and taverns reconstructed and restored to their 18th-century appearances; tradesmen practicing 30 historic trades and domestic crafts; historical interpreters, character actors and 90 acres of gardens and greens.
More than 200 retail and designer outlet stores make the Historic Triangle a shopper’s paradise! Prime Outlets at Williamsburg, Patriot Plaza Premium Outlets and the Williamsburg Outlet Mall combined offer 150 factory and designer outlet stores. In the heart of Williamsburg, Merchants Square boasts specialty boutiques and designer stores as well as Colonial reproductions and collections. The Williamsburg Antique Mall features more than 400 antique dealers.
At Busch Gardens explore six European countries and experience exhilarating rides!