Settlement in the Virginia Piedmont

Virginia, Coastal Plain and Piedmont, showing the fall line.
Monticello Department of Archaeology

Around 1720, after English immigrants had claimed the land along Virginia’s navigable rivers and within the coastal plain, colonial settlement spread west toward the Blue Ridge. In the 1730s, Thomas Jefferson’s father, Peter, became one of the first settlers in what later became Albemarle County. There he established the tobacco plantation that he called Shadwell and his son would call Monticello. Through Peter Jefferson and other early settlers, the slave-based plantation culture of the Tidewater region extended ever westward and became further entrenched in colonial American life, as the Atlantic slave trade expanded.


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