Yorktown has been a strategic port along the York River since colonial times. Originally a port for shipping tobacco to England, the town figured prominently in the American war for independence and later the Civil War. It is best remembered for being the place that George Washington tricked British General Cornwallis into thinking he was in New York, and gained a strategic advantage, thereby forcing Cornwallis to surrender his army and lose the war for Britain. During the American Civil War, the town changed hands a few times in fierce fighting involving both naval and land forces.
America’s Historic Triangle
Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown, Virginia
The birthplace of American democracy. Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown are three locations in Virginia that lay claim to where America was born. The first permanent English settlers arrived at Jamestown in 1607. At Williamsburg, the ideas of independence and revolution took form. The siege of Yorktown in 1781 was the last major battle of the American Revolution. In this Historic Triangle, Europeans, Indians, and Africans came together, and the result was the United States of America.
Clockwise: Repica ships at Jamestown, Actors dressed in Colonial attire, Entrance to Historic Yorktown, Historic Jamestown Settlement.
The corners of Virginia’s Historic Triangle mark major events in the story of colonial America and are connected by the scenic 23-mile Colonial Parkway.