First settled 1607; became capital of Commonwealth of Virginia, 1779; attacked by British under Benedict Arnold 1781; incorporated as city 1782; capital of Confederate States of America, 1861-65. Located in east-central Virginia at the head of navigation on the James River between Tidewater Virginia and the Piedmont. The Blue Ridge Mountains lie about 90 miles to the west and the Chesapeake Bay 60 miles to the east. A water and mountain-modified climate produces warm, humid summers and generally mild winters. The mountains to the west act as a barrier to outbreaks of cold, continental air in winter; the open waters of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic also contribute to mild winters and humid summers.