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Petersburg, Virginia

Petersburg is a city located in Virginia. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 33,740.


On the banks of the Appomattox River, Petersburg grew from the former Fort Henry, established on the south bank in 1645. The city developed rapidly, and the the Virginia General Assembly formally organized it in 1784. The Battle of Petersurg in 1781 was a part of the British attempt to regain control of Virginia.

Paved streets began to appear in 1813, soon followed by a canal bypassing the Appomattox falls; railroad lines linking it to all points of the compass came next, gaslights were introduced in 1851, and a new municipal water water system was installed by 1857. All these civic improvements helped attract and hold a substantial business community, based on tobacco manufacture, but also including cotton and flour mills and banking.

Its 1860 population was 18,266, half of which were black, and nearly a third of them were free. Ninety percent of the white half were native Virginians, whose devotion to the cause in 1812 inspired the nickname "Cockade City" in honor of the rosette they wore on their caps. When Civil War came in 1861, Petersburgs men again responded, and they provided the South several infantry companies and artillery units, as well as three troops of cavalry.

Years later, the Port of Petersburg became renowned as a commercial center for transporting and processing cotton, tobacco and metal, produced and shipped from the region. A travel technology developed, Petersburg became established as a railroad center. General Grant came in pursuit to destroy the Petersburg Transportation System. During the Battle of the Crater, Union troops tunneled under Confederate fortifications with disastrous results. The Siege of Petersburg preceded Lee's surrender and the end of the war.


Located along the eastern seaboard, approximately halfway between New York and Florida, Petersburg is at the juncture of Interstates 95 and 85, just 23 miles south of Virginia's State Capital, Richmond. The city is one of 13 jurisdictions that comprise the Richmond-Petersburg Metropolitan Statistical Area. Petersburg is the center of the Appomattox Basin regional economy that includes the counties of Chesterfield, Dinwiddie and Prince George and the cities of Hopewell and Colonial Heights


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 60.1 km² (23.2 mi²). 59.3 km² (22.9 mi²) of it is land and 0.8 km² (0.3 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 1.29% water.


As of the census of 2000, there are 33,740 people, 13,799 households, and 8,513 families residing in the city. The population density is 569.4/km² (1,474.6/mi²). There are 15,955 housing units at an average density of 269.2/km² (697.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 18.52% White, 78.97% African American, 0.20% Native American, 0.70% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.59% from other races, and 1.00% from two or more races. 1.37% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 13,799 households out of which 27.6% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 30.1% are married couples living together, 26.1% have a female householder with no husband present, and 38.3% are non-families. 32.2% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.7% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.38 and the average family size is 2.98.

In the city the population is spread out with 25.1% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 27.5% from 25 to 44, 22.9% from 45 to 64, and 15.6% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 37 years. For every 100 females there are 84.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 78.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $28,851, and the median income for a family is $33,955. Males have a median income of $27,859 versus $21,882 for females. The per capita income for the city is $15,989. 19.6% of the population and 16.7% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 27.1% are under the age of 18 and 15.8% are 65 or older.

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