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Map includes the names of property owners at that time. City boundaries roughly correspond with Old Town. Cobblestones on Princess Street between St. Asaph and Washington Streets. One of the sites designated for a warehouse on the upper Potomac River was at the mouth of Hunting Creek.

They intended to conduct trade into the interior of America, and they required a trading center near the head of navigation on the Potomac. The best location was Hunting Creek tobacco warehouse, since the deep water could easily accommodate sailing ships.

Many local tobacco planters, however, wanted a new town further up Hunting Creek, away from nonproductive fields along the river. His estate, which consisted of acres 2. The petition was introduced by Lawrence Washington — , the representative for Fairfax County and, more importantly, the son-in-law of William Fairfax and a founding member of the Ohio Company. As a result, Philip and his cousin Captain John Alexander — gave land to assist in the development of Alexandria, and are thus listed as the founders.

On May 2, , the House of Burgesses approved the river location and ordered "Mr. The auction was conducted on July 13—14, Almost immediately upon establishment, the town founders called the new town "Belhaven", believed to be in honor of a Scottish patriot, John Hamilton, 2nd Lord Belhaven and Stenton , the Northern Neck tobacco trade being then dominated by Scots.

The name Belhaven was used in official lotteries to raise money for a Church and Market House, but it was never approved by the legislature and fell out of favor in the mids.

In April , the governors of Virginia, and the provinces of Maryland , Pennsylvania , Massachusetts , and New York met to determine upon concerted action against the French in America. The Mount Vernon Conference concluded on March 28 with an agreement for freedom of trade and freedom of navigation of the Potomac River.

The Maryland legislature, in ratifying this agreement on November 22, proposed a conference among representatives from all the states to consider the adoption of definite commercial regulations. This led to the calling of the Annapolis Convention of , which in turn led to the calling of the Federal Convention of Early 19th century[ edit ] Slave ship taking on slaves at the Alexandria waterfront in In , during the War of , a British fleet launched a successful Raid on Alexandria , which surrendered without a fight.

As agreed in the terms of surrender the British looted stores and warehouses of mainly flour, tobacco , cotton , wine , and sugar. By the s, they were sending more than 1, slaves annually from Alexandria to their Natchez, Mississippi , and New Orleans markets to help meet the demand for slaves in Mississippi and surrounding states. Government to form the District of Columbia , and later retroceded to Virginia by the federal government in , when the District was reduced in size to exclude the portion south of the Potomac River.

Over time, a movement grew to separate Alexandria from the District of Columbia the District of Columbia retrocession. Alexandria was also an important port and market in the slave trade , and there were increasing talk of abolition of slavery in the national capital. After a referendum, voters petitioned Congress and Virginia to return the area to Virginia.

Congress retroceded the area to Virginia on July 9, The remaining portion of Alexandria County changed its name to Arlington County in Fort Ellsworth is visible on the hill in the center background. Ellsworth , sortied with a small detachment to retrieve a large Confederate flag displayed on the roof of the Marshall House Inn that had been visible from the White House. While descending from the roof, Ellsworth was shot dead by Captain James W.

Alexandria remained under military occupation until the end of the war. Fort Ward , one of a ring of forts built by the Union army for the defense of Washington, D. Failure to do so resulted in incidents including the arrest of ministers in their church. In and , escaped African-American slaves poured into Alexandria. Safely behind Union lines, the cities of Alexandria and Washington offered comparative freedom and employment.

Alexandria became a major supply depot and transport and hospital center for the Union army. Therefore, they were labeled contrabands to avoid returning them to their masters. Contrabands worked for the Union army in various support roles.

After all slaves in the seceding states were liberated, even more African Americans came to Alexandria. By the fall of , the population of Alexandria had exploded to 18,—an increase of 10, people in 16 months.

This newly enfranchised constituency provided the support necessary to elect the first black Alexandrians to the City Council and the Virginia Legislature.

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