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As a result of this and ample access to hydropower due to the falls, Richmond became home to some of the largest manufacturing facilities in the country, including iron works and flour mills, the largest facilities of their kind in The South.The resistance to the slave trade was growing by the mid-nineteenth century; in one famous case in 1848, Henry "Box" Brown made history by having himself nailed into a small box and shipped from Richmond through Baltimore's President Street Station northward on the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad (a well-used "Underground Railroad" route for escaping disguised slaves) to abolitionists in Philadelphia, in the free state of Pennsylvania, escaping slavery.By 1850, Richmond was connected by the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad to Port Walthall, where ships carrying over 200 tonnes of cargo could connect to Baltimore or Philadelphia or passenger liners could reach Norfolk, Virginia through the Hampton Roads harbor.On April 17, 1861, five days after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, the state legislature voted to secede from the United States and join the newly organized Confederate States of America.The city entered the 20th century with one of the world's first successful electric streetcar systems.The Jackson Ward neighborhood is a national hub of African-American commerce and culture.1501 to 1742 – Richmond, a palace town in Surrey, UK.
Byrd named the city "Richmond" after the English town of Richmond near (and now part of) London, because the view of the James River was strikingly similar to the view of the River Thames from Richmond Hill in England, where he had spent time during his youth.
The latter motive proved to be in vain, and in 1781, under the command of Benedict Arnold, Richmond was burned by British troops, causing Governor Thomas Jefferson to flee as the Virginia militia, led by Sampson Mathews, defended the city.
In 1786, the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (drafted by Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1826) was passed at the temporary capitol in Richmond, providing the basis for the separation of church and state, a key element in the development of the freedom of religion in the United States.
Official action came in May, after the Confederacy promised to move its national capital from its provisional home in Montgomery, Alabama to Richmond.
The city was located at the end of a long supply line, which made it difficult to defend, requiring the bulk of the Army of Northern Virginia and arguably the Confederacy's best troops and commanders.