The coastal plain or tidewaterregion of E Virginia, generally flat and partly swampy, is cut by four great tidal riversthe Potomac (forming most of the border with Maryland and beyond which also lies Washington, D.C.), the Rappahannock, the York, and the Jamesall of which empty into Chesapeake Bay.
The activities and interests of the new frontier settlements contrasted sharply with the plantation life of the tidewaterregion, where the lavish material life of the planter aristocracy was complemented by high cultural accomplishments and by the spread of the ideas of the Enlightenment.
Along with Massachusetts, Virginia was a leader in the movement that culminated in the American Revolution although, despite the burning oratory of PatrickHenry and the enlightened political writings of Thomas Jefferson and other brilliant native spokesmen, Virginia was never as politically discontent or radical as Massachusetts.
The coastal plain, also known as the Tidewater, lies in the east; the Piedmont province, a region of rolling hills, is in the middle of the state; and the Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains lie to the west.
Virginia's citizens were among the leaders of the American Revolution, and the state later contributed four of the country's first five presidents.
Virginia was a major scene of battle during the latter stages of the war for independence; the final surrender of British forces took place at Yorktown on 19 October 1781.
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