Gloucester County, Virginia

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Gloucester County is within the Commonwealth of Virginia in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area in the USA. Formed in 1651 in the Virginia Colony, the county was named for Henry Stuart, Duke of Gloucester, third son of King Charles I of Great Britain. Located in the Middle Peninsula region, it borders the York River and the lower Chesapeake Bay. It is about 75 miles east of Virginia's capital, Richmond. As of the 2000 census, the population was 34,780. The county seat is Gloucester Courthouse.

Gloucester County has much history important to the Hampton Roads region of Virginia. It was the site of Werowocomoco, a capital of the large and powerful Native American Powhatan Confederacy, which affiliated 30 tribes under a paramount chief. It was home to members of early colonial First Families of Virginia and important leaders in the period up to the American Revolutionary War. Thomas Jefferson wrote early work for Virginia and colonial independence at Rosewell Plantation, then the home of John Page, his close friend and fellow student at the College of William and Mary. As the war concluded with the British surrender at Yorktown, directly across from Gloucester Point, the county almost served as the escape route for the British land forces led by General Cornwallis. A French effort kept British naval forces from assisting him.

Long the domain of Virginia watermen and the fishing industry, Gloucester County is also rich in farmland. Today it has two Starbucks cafes, a Walmart, as well as several smaller companies, and a regional, family-owned chain of supermarkets. It has a small-town, friendly, southern atmosphere, exemplified by the stores around the main street area at the county seat, Gloucester Courthouse.

Despite the rural and small-town aspects, Gloucester County and adjacent Mathews County are considered part of the greater Hampton Roads metropolitan region of southeastern Virginia. They are linked by the George P. Coleman Memorial Bridge, a toll facility across the York River carrying U.S. Route 17 to the Virginia Peninsula area. Gloucester County is nicknamed the "Daffodil Capital of the World", and holds an annual daffodil festival, parade, and flower show.


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